Ghana gets new online platform for live music

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Ghanaian musician Okyeame Kwame has partnered with tech company Vokacom to launch a web-based live-streaming service called Lalafio.

With live performances on music venues shuttered until further notice, Lalafio(link is external) strives to aid in the survival of independent artists in Ghana.

“Lalafio was designed and registered about four years ago,” Kwame told Music In Africa. “The concept was to stream music of the older generation, but later we decided to add younger musicians. We never launched it because the time didn’t seem right. But with the COVID-19 pandemic and every one confined at home, we saw an opportunity. So this gave us an idea to add the streaming of live performances on the platform so that our users can have differentiated content.”

Kwame says Lalafio is offering artists an opportunity to generate revenue by charging users 5 Ghanaian cedi (less than $1) a week to stream live events via the platform. The subscription guarantees the user three weekly shows on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

“The user also gets access to previous interviews and performances on the site. At the end of each subscription, the user receives a reminder message to renew the subscription. We are on the primary stage and our goal at the moment is to get the users to trust the service and make the artists and crew happy. Profit making is not our priority now, but just like any business, we will see financial growth once we grow the numbers of our users.”

The first performance on the Lalafio platform took place on 13 May and featured Kwame and his Patch Bay band. Asked what the experience was like, he said: “I assure you that my performance was excellent. It felt strange at first to perform for the crew and not a real audience, but I eased into it, and it ended up being a great show with thousands of people tuning in. I knew the outcome of my performance would determine how the users responded to the next performance.”

Other musicians who have performed on the platform since its launch include KiDi, Nana Fynn, Akwaboa, Stella Aba Seal, and CSP Kofi Sarpong. Kwan Pa band and Kuami Eugene are scheduled to perform on 27 and 29 May, respectively.

Kwame hopes that the platform will encourage creativity and nation building through job creation, “especially now that COVID-19 has all of us observing social distancing rules and international travel is almost impossible. We hope to keep the torch of creativity still burning,” he said.

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