Lonestar Cell MTN has agreed to headline sponsorship of the Liberia Music Awards (LMA), making it the MTN Liberia Music Awards (MLMA). Through the awards platform, the telecommunications operator aims to develop the Liberian music industry by helping local recording artists gain international recognition for their music.
So far, Lonestar Cell MTN says it has spent over half a million US dollars over the last few years to support the growth of the music industry, ranging from signing endorsement deals with artists, to concert sponsorships, as well as becoming the first telecommunications company in Liberia to initiate ringback tunes to help artists generate additional revenue from their music.
“We believe in the power of the youth and it is because of this reason we have overwhelmingly supported the music industry’s growth. Our support to the music industry over the years signifies our company’s commitment to help diversify the country’s economy by empowering the music industry to become an engine of growth,” Yaw Ankoma Agyapong, Lonestar Cell MTN’s Chief Marketing Officer said.
Now in its 5th year, the Liberia Music Awards has over the years been held in the USA but, with the new partnership according to Agyapong, it will be held in Liberia, going forward, beginning with its upcoming program scheduled for December 22, 2018.
“The partnership between the company and the award organizers is a long-term one that will have a vastly positive effect on the growth of the music industry and expose its talent to the world.
“This something we have been committed to, no matter the situation. It is our foremost responsibility to make sure that the local music or the entire film industry is developed to international standards that will benefit the players,” Agyapong said.
The support of the company to the award has been described by many artists, managers, and music pundits as a ‘timely move’ that comes with greater future benefits.
One of those artists, Teddyride said: “From day one, Lonestar Cell MTN has been very supportive to the cause of the development of the country’s music landscape by spending thousands of dollars on sponsoring artists’ shows and their ringback platform, which is putting money in our pockets.”
To promote trust and accountability, the company, since becoming the headline sponsor of LMA, has initiated several reforms like the hiring of an auditing firm, T.D Joseph and Associates, to independently handle the voting tallying process.
“One of our foremost priorities as part of the rebranding process is to strive for transparency in all that we do. And it was this reason we hired an independent firm to monitor and tally votes from SMS and the online platform,” said LMA Liberia representative, Joseph Junior Teah.
Another reform that Lonestar Cell MTN has undertaken is to add cash prizes to each one of the MLMA’s 26 categories which, according to sources, will range from US$5,000 to US$20,000, depending on the awards categories.
“Adding a monetary prize to the awards comes with lots of benefits. While I cannot disclose the amount, it will be something good. This is something that will continue every award years. Going forward, the company has the plan to invest more resources into the development of Liberia’s arts and culture industry. This is a commitment we will live by,” Agyapong said.
Meanwhile, Lance Gbagonyon, Liberia’s Deputy Minister for Cultural Affairs and Tourism appreciated the telecommunication company for taking the decision to make the awards its own. He assured the MLMA of the Government of Liberia’s support.
“Government of Liberia will always remain grateful to Lonestar Cell MTN for the continued role played to empower and develop the entertainment industry in the country. What you have done today is a great endeavor that many companies will not like to do. This is indeed a great and worthy undertaking,” the minister said.