Frustrated Fans Ask: Nigerian Artistes, how do we buy your music in the diaspora? | Featured Artiste: Ambassage

Imagine this scenario: You are browsing on the internet one day, when you stumble on a track by an artiste.  On closer inspection (and possibly from listening to the song), you discover that this artiste is a Nigerian, and in fact, LIVES in Nigeria.  You love that track so much (nothing like a well-written song to make you long for the entire album, ba?) you now have only one mission in life (okay, one mission relating to this artiste): Get your hands on his/her album.

Lara George's 3rd Album, HIGHER | Source

So, you keep your ears on the ground (and your eyes to the screen).  You don't shave, brush your teeth or hair in anticipation of this album.  And then finally, it drops! Yes, it drops ONLY in Nigeria.  You look online and can't seem to find the album to buy online either.  Now, you're faced with a major dilemma: how do you buy this artiste's album from the diaspora, where you live?

Even if you have never experienced this, you can see where I am coming from.  Of course, it is not news that one of the major problems plaguing Nigeria's music industry is piracy.  However, a "close relative" of piracy (think close as in "brother, sister, cousin") is a poor distribution network, i.e. getting the finished product (music CDs, in this case) to the consumers (or fans).  But this problem is not limited to music distribution.  It affects movies too.  I remember when I first started buying Nollywood movies online.  There were maybe 2 or 3 websites that sold them.  That was around 2004/2005.

Fast forward to 2012. There are many more websites to buy movies for, including the newest addition, iRokoTV, which streams Nollywood movies directly to your computer.  Many classic Nollywood movies are now available online (e.g. Living in Bondage, True Confession).  So, even if you don't own a physical copy, you can still watch the movie.

Sadly, the music industry has yet to catch up with Nollywood in this regard.  Assuming of course that Nigerian artistes make their music available on CDs or as mp3s, and assuming the songs are not free downloads, you can buy full-length albums (if you live outside Nigeria) at these places:

CD Baby
My African Bargains (which I discovered in my law school days)
Fusion Green (which I have never used before)
Your local African/Nigerian food store (Yes, you went in there to buy stock fish, but by the time you made it to the cash register to check out your purchases, you were clutching a bag of stock fish in one hand, and three CDs by Sister/Brother/Evangelist _________ in the other hand).

Well, Relentless, if you are able to list the places where people can buy music from their favorite artistes, what's the problem?

*adjusting glasses and sitting up in chair* The problem is that you cannot find many artistes' albums (yes, even new ones) on these websites and/or places.  In fact, if you're like me and are constantly looking for Nigerian gospel music (especially contemporary music), you'll find very few of them to buy online.  Now, I know someone is going to say "Send someone in Naija to buy it for you now" but that IS the problem.  Why should I HAVE TO go through that route? What if I don't know a single person in Naija who can run this errand for me? (this does not apply to me, just in case you were wondering)

I should be able to go to a popular online retail outlet, like Amazon, and buy a full album of any artiste I want.  But that is not the case.  Even many of the popular gospel artistes do NOT have their music online, and this is 2012! It is very frustrating, I tell you, and I know I am not the only one who shares this frustration.

Over the years, I have noticed more artistes putting their music themselves on places like iTunes, but they are so few and far between.  Furthermore, I have noticed another trend: after a while (say, maybe one year), they remove their songs, sometimes entire albums that were previously uploaded for purchase, from iTunes, Amazon, etc.  I would really like to understand why they do this.  Is it a piracy issue or what? I would have thought putting your music online was an advantage to you as an artiste, but maybe there is more to this than meets the eye.  So, guys, please enlighten me if you have answers.  Why do Nigerian artistes not make their albums available for sale online via iTunes, Amazon, etc? Frustrated fans want to know.

Featured Artiste:  Ambassage

If you're like me, then the first time you heard "Ambassage" you probably wondered where the word came from.  In fact, I am still wondering.  However, what I am going to share with you today is not the story behind the name, but a track by the man with the name. Got it? No? You wan make I say am for pidgin? I no fit ... LOL! Okay, you'll soon get it.

Ambassage / ReverbNation

Showcase is his debut single after winning the Epignosis competition on Club X International, a gospel music website I frequent regularly.  It also features Kenny K'ore (former member of Infinity) who sings the hook.  I'll stop yarning about the song, and let you listen to it now.  Then, I will continue yarning in the review.


Likes:  Where do I even start? This is a high-energy song from start to finish.  It is well-written, and I am still asking myself why it took me this long to actually review it, seeing that I had known about it for many months.  Anyway, back to the review.  Ambassage's rap delivery on this track gives you a clue as to why he won that Epignosis competition: the guy is good abeg! The way the words flow into each other made me wonder just how many times he had to write/re-write the song before getting it right.  This interview on Gospel Naija shed more light on the songwriting.

The beats were on point, and I particularly liked the partnership I observed, i.e. K'ore sings the Yoruba part, which Ambassage admitted as not his forte (Yoruba, I mean, not his singing), while Ambassage uses English and pidgin to communicate his message.  If you've ever wondered what gospel rap with a Naija flavor sounds like, this song definitely "showcases" it beautifully (pun intended).

Dislikes:  The songwriting could have been better, but it was quite good.

Recommendations:  Keep working on the songwriting.

Looking for more information on Ambassage? Here it is:

Artiste's Stage Name:  Ambassage

Artiste's Real Name: Andrew Abu

Connect with Ambassage: Twitter | Facebook

Listen to more songs: ReverbNation | Sound Cloud

I almost forgot to ask: How was your Labor Day? Mine was not labor-free, but it turned out fine anyway.  Have a great week ahead!

I like the review...the song is not all that great but not bad either.
Too much was going on, kudos to him.

I am very happy about irokoTV, though I wish they had even more new and wel made movies. I believe their music arm is iroKing or so.

yea...i get your point..
like this nathaniel bassey guy that had his song on itunes one time like that for sale(but i never checked it though)
even me sef, i dont know why it happens that naija music is hardly on sale online

ff u
i think they have their reasons for removing them from the net after a while and as for the scarcity of their songs on itunes...#shrugs#dont want to voice a wrong opinion and so, who knows?

Lara: I'm glad you liked the review. So you thought too much was going on? I didn't get the impression at all though.

Myne: IrokoTV is definitely a welcome change, and I hope they improve. Yes, I am also aware of Iroking, but you cannot buy music from their website. It's for listening and sharing. That's it.

Sugarspring: I have heard of Nathaniel Bassey, and now that you've mentioned his name and iTunes in the same sentence, I will check out his music there. I wish I had answers to the lack of online sales too.

Rainbowlove: *shrugs shoulders too* Who knows? I am just speculating when I mention 'piracy' as the culprit, but I would certainly like more specific reasons.

I totally agree with the post however i think this is changing, services like which is launching Oct 2013 are seeking to address this.


Kayode: Quite innovative. I hope there are more startups like this to 'fill the gap.' Thanks for sharing.

But you know a Nigerian living in Nigeria cannot have a Paypal account and I think it's one of the challenges.

Douglas Eric Kaze

Douglas: I myself discovered this recently. It's true, and is definitely one of the challenges.


I would love to hear your thoughts. Please Share.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...