Because I am a staunch ‘user’ of the Airtel network, whenever I see anything Airtel, I pick interest. Just last week, I saw footprints of the Airtel Trace Music Star on Facebook and I itched to find out more. Unconsciously, my inquisitive eyes chanced on a “too-good-to-be-true” story penned by Francis Doku on page 23 of the Graphic Showbiz. After reading the piece, I seriously could neither fathom Airtel’s concept nor its porous arguments. My frustration stems from the fact that Airtel Ghana birthed innovative ideas like Touching Lives; and as it stands now, the wahalas of Trace Star is so unlike the Airtel I know.
It’s amusing Airtel’s publicity message said Trace Music Star is ‘different’. Explaining how different Airtel’s platform is from the rest, Kwame Gyan, the Brand Asset Manager of Airtel Ghana claimed people who sign on to Trace Music Star can be stars “without hustling with long queues and annoying judges”. “This was the only difference Airtel could cite” I told myself regretfully.
I took it upon myself to google more materials on Trace Music Star. I read that Trace Music Star is not modelled along the lines of MTN Hitmaker, Vodafone Icons, etc. If nakedness (Trace Music Star) promises us (Ghanaians) clothes (Music Reality Show), we always ask his name. Cos the last time I checked, Airtel has never dreamt of organizing a single musical reality show.
Let me quickly sway into dissecting the laughable episode on the music judges before I forget once again. Kwame Gyan, on his Facebook page called such judges “annoying”. On a lighter note, until I read Kwame’s update, I never knew there were annoying judges on the Telco music reality shows-o.
Come to think of it, if people sit in their house to record songs and send, who is going to shortlist the entries and how would Airtel even know that a voice they hear is indeed that of the singer. Therefore, if annoyance is the only reason Airtel will not include judges in the auditions, then they are really shooting themselves in the leg.
For the likes of Kwame Gyan who don’t know the profile of musical reality show judges, I want to offer a little education. On the Vodafone Icons show for example, there are very distinguished musicians whose laurels in the music scene is second to none. M.anifest (as he spells his name) is an internationally acclaimed award-winning musician from Ghana. In 2013 he won the “Best Rapper of the Year” award at the Ghana Music Awards only a year after being tipped by BBC’s “The Strand” as one of four artists to watch in the World.
Another judge, Gena West is a beautiful soul, jazz and gospel singer much sought after for events throughout the world. Highlights of her career include the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games, and many high profile Celebrity Events. Including a private performance for The Queen of England. MTN Hitmaker also has wonderful judges such as Ofie Kodjoe (a Ghanaian jazz artiste), Bessa Simons (an ace keyboardist and highlife legend) and Hammer of the Last Two fame. Since I noticed Kwame is becoming jittery, I want to truncate the matter on the judges before people start pouncing on him.
Then again, my dear Kwame was quoted to have said in the Showbiz paper: “Telecommunications companies love music reality shows. ….music reality shows are also a means to increase revenue to them.” Logically, it means Airtel is doing a voluntary movement where its brand will never be mentioned and the general public will never be expected to vote for their favourites.
As sarcastic as I am getting, I want to have a little faith that the Airtel concept of being different will succeed. At the same time, Kwame contradicted himself the …th (I’ve lost count) time. He said “…after one has finished singing within a 15 second to 3 minute window, a text is sent to the caller confirming that the song has been received and is being moderated; within 24 hours another text is sent confirming that the entry has been successfully moderated, with a password and an opportunity to listen to the song on www.tracemusicstar.com and share the entry among friends so they vote for them.” Just look at the same pot (Airtel) which called the kettle (other music show) black (‘sikadicious’).
Please read this interesting quote form Kwame in paragraph nine of the same myjoyonline.com story. When you’re done give me feedback as to whether his argument is doing him a good. Kwame is quoted to have said: “between December 10 and 17, the best 5 entries will be judged based on a combination of singing skills (quality, pitch, originality, tone, range) and number of votes received.” Read the quote again and pay attention to the highlighted sections. No further comments on the judging and the number of votes received.
Our elders say “one must take time to dissect an ant in order to discover its entrails”. I entreat the Airtel team to go back to the drawing board and seal all the loopholes in their concept. Until Airtel revamps, it shouldn’t even dream about condemning others with their ‘big stage‘. I rest my case.