Patience Nyarko Fights GHAMRO Over Royalties

Patience Nyarko

Popular gospel artiste, Patience Nyarko, has descended heavily on Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) after it announced its decision to make churches in the country pay royalties for the use of music for church services.

The ‘Obi Nyanime’ hit maker, who has a number of hit songs to her credit,
described GHAMRO’s decision as an attack on the church, insisting that it is an ‘unthinkable’ decision.

According to her, the decision to force churches to pay royalties is something that shouldn’t even be a thought in the first place.

She indicated that the move on churches to pay royalties is wrong, claiming that gospel artistes in Ghana have no original songs but record songs belonging to the churches.

The collective society last week announced that it will soon get the churches in the country to pay performing rights fees for the songs performed in their churches.

It added that the songs used for church services are commercial music, hence churches must be licensed and billed for the usage of such copyright content.

But the gospel artiste who was not happy with GHAMRO told Kojo Preko, the host of CTV’s entertainment show, ‘The Showbiz’ that if the churches ask gospel artistes to stop recording or singing their songs or even ask every artiste that has commercially recorded songs belonging to the church to pay royalties to them, that money will be so huge that gospel musicians cannot pay.

She indicated that taking royalties from the church by the collective society will surely destroy the relationship between gospel artistes and the churches.

Meanwhile, a source at GHAMRO explained to BEATWAVES  that churches would be required to pay royalties on music they use for events and concerts they organise and not for what they use for their praises and worship in church.

He said there have been some misconceptions since the collective society made statements about churches and royalties and it was necessary to clear the air on the issue.

The source revealed that churches are increasingly organising concerts and other social events, and it is only right that they pay royalties for the songs the use.

“If a church organises a gospel event on their church premises or at any public venue, the fact that it is being organised by a church does not absolve them from paying royalties just like any other event organiser,” he added.

He explained, “If a church invites an artiste to its premises and pays the artiste to perform, at that moment the church is not holding a church service. It’s holding an event and that is what royalties must be paid for.”

It is currently unclear whether GHAMRO will go ahead with their plans, and the mechanisms they have put in place for a successful collection of their royalties from the churches.


By George Clifford Owusu