Few days ago, there was an interesting debate on some Ghanaian radio stations about the value of artiste’s fanbase movement. People like Kuami Eugene believe Artistes fanbase tagged as Movements, Empires, Nations, etc is one of the woes of Ghana’s music industry. Others say fanbases are the engine that pushes the artiste to success. Well, one thing remains a fact, you need a following to build a sustainable brand. In today’s music world, acquiring a loyal fanbase helps the artiste to reach career goals.
You need superfans to make it to the top and stay there. Whichever name you call them, provided they accept the tag, they are people that care so much about your brand – in every debate win or lose, they stand by you, buy your merchandise, and stand in queue for many hours to get tickets for your shows.
We never wish for tragedy, but in certain instances, when things get out of hand, rivalry generated from fan base movements can lead to catastrophe. For example, the war of words between Jamaican dancehall singers, Mavado and Vybz Kartel turned into bloody warfare between Gully side and Gaza, where people died. It took the President’s intervention to bring calm.
In Nigeria, Naira Marley’s fanbase, “Marlians” became a household with the popular phrase, “No Mannaz”; Wiz Kid’s has got "Starboy FC", which ensures he runs the streets. The story is no different in Ghana, Manifest has got his “Manifans”, there’s “SarkNation” for Sarkodie, Stonebwoy’s “BHIM Nation”, and probably Ghana’s largest fanbase, “Shatta Movement” led by infamous dancehall singer, Shatta Wale.
Truly, having superfans who would ride or die with you is a blessing for your career as a musician. However, not having such a movement does not grantee you cannot excel. It’s your job to identify a niche that connects with your brand and continue to get them hooked to your joints. We haven’t heard a name for Burna Boy’s fanbase yet but he’s breaking grounds. Movements like the above-mentioned groups are only problematic when they break the laws, but they are not the downfall of the Ghanaian music industry, they rather bring excitement to the game.
Image: Facebook @BurnaBoy