Is Social Media Affecting The Relationship Between Artistes And The Press In Ghana?

Social media has become a very vital tool which serves several purposes in this modern world. In the showbiz industry, its vitality is highly recognized and utilized by major industry players for numerous purposes. In Ghana, artistes make use of social media for sharing their songs and videos for public consumption, interact with their followers and notably for performing some PR duties.

Sarkodie resorted to a series of tweets to register his displeasure at an unfair treatment CharterHouse meted out to him ahead of the 2015 edition of the VGMA. This is an issue which could have ended up in a legal tussle between Sarkodie and CharterHouse but Sarkodie decided to climax the said controversy with a couple of tweets.

Obrafour also posted a release by his management on his Facebook wall to clarify issues concerning Obrafour’s absence at the ‘Sarkodie History in the making concert’ held at the Apollo Theatre in August last year. These and several other examples substantiate the valuableness Ghanaian artistes accord to social media, with specific regard to using it as a Public Relations (PR) tool.

It must be stated that this practice is not peculiar to only the Ghanaian music industry. Musicians in other parts of the world also use social media for the aforementioned activities. My concern dwells on how social media which is being patronized as a PR tool has affected the relationship between artistes and the press.

In the past, artistes relied mostly on the traditional media to clarify issues whenever their issues surfaced on the media landscape. They granted interviews to broadcasters on the airwaves, journalists who worked with newspapers and occasionally some artistes even organized press conferences to disseminate information into the public domain.

I’ve been monitoring the Ghanaian media landscape over the years and I’ve noticed that despite the advent of social media and its consequent utilization, Ghanaian artistes still rely on the traditional media to promote their events, songs and videos.

This proves how relevant they still consider the traditional media. However, when issues, especially the ones which put the artistes in a negative light crop up, some artistes as indicated in the examples above only visit social media platforms to spill out their account of issues concerning them. Why do they abandon the traditional media in such cases? Is the reliance on social media a cause of this development? In some cases, some artistes don’t make use of any media platform; neither social media nor traditional media to respond to certain issues.

They rather resort to the culture of silence. Samini for instance embarked on a media tour to promote his annual Saminifest event held recently. As part of the tour, Samini made an appearance on Peace FM’s Entertainment Review show. On the show, Samini was attacked by the host and the regular panellists. Their basis for the attack was that, they claimed neither Samini nor his management responded to their calls to speak on some issues.

I know some artistes believe as a principle not to respond to some issues that are discussed about them in the public domain. They believe a response from their quarters may stifle the hype that is generated from the public discussions about them.

I am of the view that there is the need for artistes to respond to issues IF necessary. I have observed that even the fans of the artistes sometimes do not feel pleased when the artistes or their management go mute on certain issues. As fans they believe they ought to be comprehensively updated on details concerning their favourite artistes. The employment of professional publicists will also assist in giving their employers a positive PR image in the Court of Public Opinion.

I must state that am not by this article suggesting that Ghanaian artistes should curtail the use of social media as a PR tool. It is a vital tool to use but I opine that as the artistes still rely on the traditional media for promotions despite the social media usage for such purposes, they equally have to provide the press with pieces of information and clarifications whenever they call upon them to request for it from the quarters of the artistes.

In cases where the artistes are not willing to respond to an issue, they should find an honourable and decent way of informing the producers or the press men about it instead of deliberately deciding not to even pick up calls to speak. There is the need for a very healthy symbiotic relationship to exist between the artistes and the press to guarantee a serene atmosphere in the music industry.

Seth Mireku Jnr

[email protected]

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