A Critical Study of the Music Industry in Tamale

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University of Ghana


This is a study of the expanding music industry in Tamale, focusing on its artistes. It examines how they create and produce their music, how they market and promote the music and their images, and also the nature and art of their performances and the scope of their export beyond Tamale. The contemporary popular musicians of Tamale have been making all efforts since to gain a national appeal and attention to no avail. The problem discussed in the study is that, as long as an artiste bases in northern Ghana he/she will most likely never become a national music icon in Ghana: until he/she migrates to Accra. This thesis reviews literature on the traditional and neo-traditional music of Dagbon. Then moves on to examine the underlying problems of the Tamale music industry – and suggests solutions. The study draws much of its information from the perspectives of the artistes, through interviewing them, and analyzing what they have to say. Tamale is the center for these contemporary popular artistes and their music, but most of them until as recent as 2008/2009, only recorded their music from Accra and Kumasi. The music industry in Tamale still faces major challenges. The artistes and their music appear not to have travelled much beyond their home region especially into southern Ghana. Other problems include limited formal education among artistes, and the lack of capital investment. However, it has some very visible prospects for a brighter future. This study sets the tone for real discussions of the music industry in Tamale based on facts and verifiable information. It also uncovers some of the challenges to the industry. This study is an attempt at throwing light on the life problem for many young people in the Tamale area, who have the gift of music, which they thereby wish to use as a medium to enhance their socio-economic livelihood. Finally, this thesis lays the foundation for further academic studies into the music industry in Tamale.


Thesis(MPHIL)-University of Ghana, 2013


Critical Study, Music Industry, Tamale