Music and Media in Togo

There is a complex relationship between the media and music in Togo.

(Photo) : www.republicoftogo.com
(Photo) : www.republicoftogo.com

Bella Bellow recorded her first album in the sixties when Togo had no national television. She was an incredible singer who sang alongside Manu Dibango and whose picture was on the 10,000 CFA franc note of the time.

From Bella Bellow to Almok to the King of Togolese music King Mensah, the country is brimming with talent but what relationship do they have with the media?

TV

TVT was the first channel launched in Togo. Today, Togo has 10 television channels. None of them are dedicated to music. There is a religious channel (TV Zion), a sports channel (TLS) and other news channels. 

All channels offer a variety of scheduled music shows. To appear on those shows, artists have to pay according to the price set by the hosts. Artists negotiate their appearance on TV through bribes. Some hosts even give bad publicity to artists who can’t pay. Such practices are not uncommon in Togo. 

Radio

Fortunately, there are hundreds of radio stations in Togo with more than 20 covering the city of Lomé. Their audience is much broader and loyal than that of TV audiences but, this does not necessarily solve the problem faced by artists. Competition is fierce with many music shows and hosts. 

There are a however a few radio stations dedicated to music. Taxi FM (93.1 FM), Hits Radio (104.7) and KNTB Radio, to name but a few, offer almost 85% music content while promoting concerts and announcing new releases. 

Radio Zéphyr (92.3) tries to set itself apart from other radio stations. Its Director is the head of Fanga Music, a music label. The station was once available online and is known for founding the Togo hip-hop Awards.

Print and online press

The press shows little interest in Togolese music or rather, music lovers do not turn to the press for the latest music news. "Star Magazine", a magazine dedicated to artists, their life and career, unfortunately disappeared from the newsstands.

Artists decided to take control of their careers by using the web. They post their videos on YouTube, Deezer or Sound cloud and attract sponsors through their Facebook pages. There are a few websites and blogs but Togolese music is not well promoted in general.   

Media should promote culture and music, in particular. Restructuring of the media and reorganization of the music industry would solve many issues.

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