Strut 2020 fam, Strut 2020!
@Frank all of this makes me think that I hear more bad stories about the music business than good. Of course it would be expecting too much for all of the principal players in this drama to be on good terms as they’re in direct competition with each other - do you think that’s what instigated the shady dealings, or are some of them just bad apples?If it’s possible do so objectively, how do you see your own involvement in all this? To an outsider looking in, there’s always going to be a faint whiff of exploitation - but even as a music consumer I could be guilty of ignoring this for my own enjoyment.Personally I’m happy that all the labels were re-issuing music that may have been lost. I realise it may have been impossible for the artists to have financed any of this work on their own, and that they wouldn’t have known the value of their music until an outsider showed an interest. Is it impossible to do this completely fairly? What’s the fair cut for the “archeologist” and for the artist?
The music business in general, even the independents is so predatory in its ways that mostly the rotten apples make it to the surface, the rottener the higher up, that's just the law of nature, methane is lighter than air and floats the biggest liars and most shameless thieves up, up and away. Until someone shoots them down.
The questions in the 2nd paragraph are the same questions I asked myself when I first began to license records. I always had partner labels and always tried to squeeze the highest possible royalties advance out of them. My own cut was between 50 and 150 free copies of each one of my ca 30 releases. I sold a good chunk of them at my dj parties or just gave them away to the most passionate or sometimes cutest dancers. Reissuing African records the right way was never profitable for the re-issuer.
In the end I always got what I needed and what I wanted out of my dj gigs and hustling OGs; enough cash to live and having a good and memorable time doing so. This has been my philosophy since I left the square world behind back in 1995 to go and live a life like those proverbial birds that don't worry too much about sowing and or reaping (besides some herbs maybe) but being careful who they hang out with. Financed by party goers and record collectors with expensive tastes.
For 8 good years my by far most important partner in dealing with rare records was Damian who worked much harder and also made a by far larger profit than me that soon reached well into the 6 digit US$. He's been flying solo since I left the record game behind in 2016 and did very well for several more years. Lately he complains it's all become much harder since record digging in Nigeria has now become sort of a backpacker extreme sport for the young and the stupid, some of which fell on their noses sooner while others are still in the process of going down in slow motion.
By now it has been so many years since these records were pressed that much or most of what occasionally still surfaces usually grades as an Italian/French G+/VG which translates to a real world F or worse. Skips have become a casually mentioned and common feature while needle damage is referred to as a pressing flaw. The precious grails of their customers, a new generation of armchair diggeurs are the un-google-able, the never-before-on discogs, the unseen, the unheard and the elusive. Not to share or to dance to, most of these neo-grails won't move any body, but to own and store away as something precious. Something that helps the owner to feel unique and special enough to make their life seem a little fuller just by owning some thing.
Damian Iwuagwu and Uchenna Ikonne, who can both easily be found on facebook, still have good stuff to sell though.
So does Record City BK in Flatbush or an elusive private hustler known to some as the Horrific Child who both are in the process of liquifying the pallet of sales stock tubs I have left.
When the time is right I'll put my private stock on the market as well. All my stuff is stored on a different continent, I don't even own a record player anymore.
However, let this footnote not distract you from the juicy 14 part exposé I wrote on the previous page.
klezmer electro-thug beats said:
Hey Frank a correction: there's what looks to be an absolutely thrashed Afro Sounders on discogs right now
Thanks for this. Wow, never say never... goes to show how big stuff still shows up albeit by 2020 it's usually all hammered to shit.
Great to see it's a Nigerian seller and how the middle men become more and more redundant with Nigerian diggers getting hip to Discogs and the social media hustle.
Westgold are another recommended outfit, sometimes priced a little high but fast and free shipping straight from Nigeria with a 100% approval rating. Grading is off but skips are at least mentioned and there are long sound clips on Soundcloud, usually of all tracks.