Goodies Music Productions: a blessing and a curse to Ghana’s music industry

Many people in Ghana’s music industry have bemoaned the lack of “major record labels” in the country. A few years ago, in 2019, Kofi Kinaata pointed out that apart from Lynx Entertainment, there is no formidable record label in the country.

Left: VIP Middle: Mzbel Left: Tic Tac

However, many young people who grew up in the midst of Nigeria’s invasion of our music space might not be aware of Goodies Music Productions.

This record label shone a bright light, cemented its position as a force to be reckoned with, and started to spread its tentacles, but something happened.

Before Ghana’s hiplife scene became vibrant, a translator at the British consulate and a talent investor focused on football, was approached by a group of boys who called themselves Abibifour. They wanted him to finance their album. He did, but gained nothing even though the album produced a hit track, Yegu Nsa.

But the success of the group encouraged Mr Isaac Aidoo, Executive Producer of Goodies Music Productions, to experiment with the prospect of Lord Kenya. When this experiment succeeded, a door opened for many artistes in Ghana.

The Blessing

Although the influence of record labels in the music industry is increasingly waning as a result of technological advancements, they still wield considerable power to make or break artistes.

But before all these developments in the technological field, artistes could not break into the mainstream without the help of a record label or a music distributing company.

Although there was nothing like streaming music in 1998 when Goodies entered the music business by “chance,” as he told Nenebi Tony, the author of Everything That Happened And The People Who Made It, he used his connections as a business man to distribute and promote his artistes.

In Nenebi’s book, he writes about how VIP, after leaving their record label, Precise Music, spoke to other label heads but found none who could see their vision. This was because the group wanted to “remain the Nima boys that they were” and carry their community along with them, but almost every one they spoke to wanted to change them.

Goodies saw the vision. And in a few years his record label was producing some of the big songs in the country.

With the help of Goodies, VIP produced the “most popular Ghanaian song” in Nigeria’s history, Ahomka Womu, which was released in 2004.

The song didn’t gain the attention it received by chance, “it was the construction of a well-oiled machine,” as Nenebi puts it and details how Goodies and VIP moved into Nigeria for three months to promote the song.

It was around that time that Mzbel was at sea because the record label that produced her Awoso Me hit had decided to quit the music business.

Goodies, realizing Mzbel’s potential, reached out to her and added her to his long roster that included TicTac, VIP, Lord Kenya, Barima Sydney and several others. Mzbel’s 16 Years was also pushed vigorously as it gained enormous popularity not only in Nigeria but also on the continent.

However, it was Tic Tac, now known as Tic, who struck a friendship with Tony Tetuila, and will produce the first Ghana/Nigeria music collaboration that shaped the future of Ghana’s music space.

Unfortunately for Tic Tac, the space he created in Nigerian minds for Ghanaian music was used by Goodies to promote VIP.

The lack of focus on his craft will cause Tic Tac to split from Goodies in 2008. Him leaving was the beginning of the end of the empire that had been created.

The influence and the impact of Goodies Music had been established. But Mr. Aidoo wanted more. He wanted his artistes and their songs to have a global reach. Such a project, doubtless, cannot be executed without huge capital. The lack of this needed money taunted Goodies, who was convinced by a friend to traffic drugs because he travelled easily around the world.

In April 2008, Goodies was caught at the Kotoka International Airport with 80 pellets of a substance suspected to be cocaine.

The Curse

The downfall of Goodies created a huge void in Ghana’s music industry; one that will be exploited heavily by Nigerian musicians.

As Nigerians were waking up from the shock of how the songs pushed by Goodies penetrated their market, and putting in plans to prevent same from happening again, they were busily using the connections they had gained through Goodies to dominate Ghana’s market.

Although Ghana's sound has gone through several transformations as artistes such as Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, Shatta Wale, and several others have put forth their best to keep the country's music industry alive, the Nigerian invasion is still a topical issue.

And Ghana is still struggling to see a record label the size of Goodies Music Productions, which has been revived by Mr Isaac Aidoo after he was release years ago.

That does not in any way negate the forceful efforts of the numerous labels pushing Ghana’s sound onto the global stage regardless of the many impediments, which will require another article to lay bare.

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