Ghanaian-American record producer, instrumentalist and rapper O’hene Savant is back to his ancestral home but not empty-handed.
He says he has industry insight worth sharing with musicians and stakeholders in the Ghana music industry.
O’hene Savant was in Ghana three years ago; however, due to COVID restrictions, he’s returning to finish what he started and share what he learned in the United States music industry.
“I was here 3 years ago, but COVID prohibited travel for some time. I am here today to share lessons I have learned about the music industry over the years having worked in the industry abroad for so many years,” O’hene told Ghanafuo.com in an interview on Thursday, April 6, 2023.
Amongst the things he had learned in the American music industry include the ‘value of ownership,’ which focuses on owning master recordings, publishing, and image rights. He said dealing with this requires a lot of patience and that artists shouldn’t be in haste to conclude deals.
“Having grown up in Ghana, I am aware it is easier said than done to tell someone not to take the first offer made to them when money is scarce,” he discloses, “…but I just want to say that many times, it’s just a matter of a little patience and the reward far outweighs the inconvenience.”
According to O’hene, when artists own their master recordings, they have total control over their music distribution, publishing, copyright-related issues, royalties, and split sheet.
“When you hear a song in a film, it is earning money. The person who owns the master recording gets this money. In fact, when you are old and no longer willing or able to get on stage, master recordings can generate money for you while you sleep,” he noted.
O’hene further touched on publishing. He said, ‘Publishing is another portion of an artist’s ownership. It generates money from radio stations and streaming platforms separately from royalties. It also allows artists to retire from the stage and still make money.’
“As for your image and all the above, it is important for your legacy. If you do not want your face or music to represent things that you do not agree with, it is important that you own the rights to your image.”
He disclosed that he had just landed a licensing deal allowing his music to be used without giving it away entirely.
O’hene broke down the music licensing deal, saying it happens when artists allow the person or entity you are entering into the business deal with to use your music for a period. Then it goes back to you entirely after some time.’
He concludes: “If you like how they did business you can continue, if not, you don’t have to deal with them again. This is better for the artist and increases the chances that your business partner will work harder for you.”
O’hene Savant also disclosed that he has a new album in the pipeline titled “WATS” (an abbreviation for ‘We Are The Salt’). But that won’t be complete without collaborations with legends and top musicians from his home.
“I am working with more Ghanaian legends and new talents. My main focus, however, this time is spreading awareness and promoting my new album ‘WATS,’ which stands for We Are The Salt.’”
“I have the superstar Feli Nuna on it; AJ Nelson and more Ghanaian legends will be on remixes in the works now. But, in the meantime, no spoilers,” he divulges.
O’hene Savant was raised in Ghana and started his music career here before moving to the United States. Growing up, O’hene was part of the foundations of Hiplife, producing for the pioneering pidgin rap group Native Funk Lords (NFL) with Eddy Blay.
He has also performed at festivals like Panafest, which drew tens of thousands to live events.