Music Business

Music Business: Must America’s Usher ‘Look for Himself’ in Nigeria? MComm-Sony to Bring Usher’s ‘Looking 4 Myself’ to Nigeria

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“MComm, Nigeria’s leading entertainment and value added service provider and Sony Music Entertainment Africa, have announced a historic partnership between both companies that will officially bring Usher Raymond’s hot new album “Looking 4 Myself” to Nigerian music fans.

Speaking in Lagos early this week, Mcomm CEO, Chidi Okeke, said “This is a landmark partnership, with Nigeria being the first West African country to have an official international release from a Grammy winning US artist. We believe this will form a foundation for potential future strategic alliances with Sony Music. The album will be available nationwide from Monday, 29th June, as part of an official release, in Compact Disc (CD) form. “Looking 4 Myself” will be sold in major cities like Lagos, Abuja, Port- Harcourt, Enugu, Ibadan, and will be available in designated album stores and retail outlets nationwide. .  .(t)here are also a number of exciting partnerships in the pipeline between Mcomm and other brands which are geared towards connecting Nigerians with their favourite music brands from everywhere in the world”, he adds.

According to Usher Raymond, his seventh studio album, ‘LOOKING 4 MYSELF’ is “a record that really gives people an experience. .  .” – Jaguda.com

My Thoughts

I love Usher and his work, although that is irrelevant to my post. As it stands, his song ‘Climax’ is definitely top on my playlist. And, who can forget his beautiful debut back in the days? ‘You make me wanna be the one . . . ‘ feel free to complete it.

However, I am not sure why this deal is such a big deal worth all the noise from Mcomm/Okeke’s end. First, as I have said, we had a bad habit of promoters paying large amounts of money to foreign acts while our local artists starved. Thankfully the tide, for a couple of years now, has changed. Our artists are now sought after, a large part due to the revolution of internet music blogs and the Nigerian and African diaspora as  a whole creating a huge demand for local artists.

When I think we are moving forward, something reminds me we have a long way to go. I am trying to understand why Okeke feels that being the first to launch Usher’s album nationwide in Nigeria through Sony Entertainment is a good thing worth announcing to the world and celebrating. Sony has a subsidiary in South Africa and of course is based in the West. They are bringing their product into Nigeria and Nigerians will open their pockets to buy this music. The monies are then transferred out of Nigeria, a huge chunk both to Sony and Usher. How is this a good thing again? Am I missing something? A bit too skeptical?

Oh! Wait I get it. Okeke says,“We believe this will form a foundation for potential future strategic alliances with Sony Music.” Okeke what does that mean??? How long has Sony been in South Africa? What kind of “strategic alliance” has it created on its own initiative that has benefited Nigeria’s labels, artists and its industry? Last I checked the big Western labels pulled out a long time ago from Nigeria and Nigerians like Obi Asika, Kenny Ogungbe, Audu Maikori et. al have had to build from scratch.

“There are also a number of exciting partnerships in the pipeline between Mcomm and other brands which are geared towards connecting Nigerians with their favourite music brands from everywhere in the world .”  Do Nigerians need this? Did they ask for it? How does purchasing and making money for international acts, labels and brands “everywhere in the world” benefit Nigeria?

We talk a lot about the music industry here on AML but let’s not get it twisted on the realities of the everyday man and woman. Did you all see the latest news where Nigeria is ranked as the 6th most dangerous African country in the world. In the past, I would have said there the West goes again making Africa a scary place. The truth, however, is that Nigeria gets scarier by the moment. Those living in places like Lagos might feel immune but in the North, Boko Haram is the order of the day ( I can’t believe what is exacerbation of the routine killings of Christians in the North), crumbled educational system, terrible  infrastructure, high rate of unemployment among youths and real pain and suffering and what is Okeke saying again? We should celebrate his “landmark partnership” deal to bring Usher’s new album (US foreign product) to Nigeria nationwide so Nigerians can purchase. Don’t we already have an overwhelming consumption of western products?

I’d like to see him use his connections to broker deals that place Nigerian music albums like P-Square et al. nationwide in the USA. That would be worth celebrating.

-Uduak
@uduaklaw

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Africa Music Law™

AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law blog and podcast show by Fashion and Entertainment Lawyer Ms. Uduak Oduok empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Ms. Uduak is also a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her law firm’s intellectual property law, media, business, fashion, and entertainment law practice areas. She has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts and handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients in the USA, Africa, and Asia.

Her work and contributions to the creative industry have been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, The American University School of Law and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA including ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the prestigious Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.
For legal representation inquiries, please email (uduak@ebitulawgrp.com). For blog related inquiries i.e. advertising, licensing, or guest interview requests, please email (africamusiclaw@gmail.com). Thank you for visiting Africa Music Law™.

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