A few months ago, we highlighted Discogs seller Laden3.0 on our blog. After reading about his unique approach to record selling, we had a few more questions to ask him, especially about his partners in Nigeria and Ghana, how selling records helps them and what music they have unearthed.
Martin Mutschke, owner and CEO of Laden3.0 met Ghanese King Bansah in 2017. King Bansah lives in Germany, but travels back to Ghana about 10 times a year in his function as development minister and spiritual leader, and had no idea that Afrobeat records are in high demand. “To meet King Bansah was mind-blowing for me.” says Martin. “It was something I would have never expected. I feel honoured to have met him, it opened my mind, it inspired me.
I think that we (the Western countries) don’t make fair contracts with Africa. We just take what we need, how we need it, and don’t care about sustainable development for African countries. We mainly just take raw-products to keep up our industry and workplace. It feels to me like Africa deliberately gets locked out from international markets. We have to work on doing it better. The profit from the Ghanese records that King Bansah offers for sale is going to be reserved for charitable purposes like schools, bridges and improving the living conditions for female prisoners for example.”
Shortly after meeting King Bansah, Martin teamed up with Ambroise from Lagos, Nigeria after Facebook suggested him as a friend. “My Facebook algorithm must be heavily filled with ‘records’ and ‘Africa’, hahaha! Thanks Facebook!” Martin was shocked when he saw the mass of rare vinyl records Ambroise had put up for sale on Facebook. “I ordered some for checking the quality. All were fine and I figured out that Ambroise had a basic know-how on how to grade records. I had paid what he asked for it, without negotiation. But I later found out he had only asked 25% of the records’ value. I wanted to be fair to him and paid him extra for the records, and this was the initiation of a new partnership.”
These partnerships mean that Martin adds the records to his Discogs online inventory, grades the covers and record condition, calculates the selling prices, stores the items in his warehouse until they are sold, invoices the buyer, packs and ship the records. He does this for multiple people (also for local people who aren’t internet savvy, who don’t have time to sell records themselves or for people who have inherited record collections for example). For his African partners however, this partnership takes away a few hurdles that would make it difficult for them to sell on Discogs. Like PayPal not being available in most African countries, high shipping costs and slow shipping.“I take these barriers away. After deducting the costs of business (shipping, VAT, Fees) etc.) there’s not much left for my pockets, but I can hold records in my hands I would have never thought about. It’s not about earning money for me. It’s about music and giving my help to those who need it.”
Essential West-African Funk, Soul & Afrobeat Albums, recommended by Martin:
Godfrey Odili – You Do Good, You Do For Yourself (Nigeria, 1981)
“Let’s Do More Music” is a galactical disco driver: Herbie Hancock fans will love it.
Christy Essien Igbokwe – Give Me A Chance (Nigeria, 1980)
“Nobody Can Stop You” is a nice Disco tune!
“Aiha Ni Kpe We” is a driving funk tune with organ power.
God ‘Seg’ Melvin* – Mr. Man (Nigeria, 1990)
“No Call Me Like Dat”, undiscovered Afrobeat Fusion with a jazzy atmospheric downbeat.
Kabaka* – Son Of Africa (Nigeria, 1977)
Groovy Jazz-Funk with nice guitar. This release existed as test pressing with no track-title before, to discover the full release with all the infos was a real fortune!
Sweet Talks* – The Kusum Beat (Nigeria, 1976)
Uplifting Highlife Afrobeat, with a lot of energy.
Bongos Ikwue And The Groovies* – Tell My Girl (Nigeria, 1976)
Nice Funk tunes.
Okyeame Kwame Bediako & His Messengers – Ablavi (Ghana, 1976)
This one contains “Georgina”, a very funky saxy breakbeat tune.
Blo – Phase IV (Nigeria, 1976)
Funky cosmic keyboards.
Ebo Taylor – Twer Nyame (Ghana, 1978)
I got an original copy from King Bansah. I bought a repress for my own collection. “Peace On Earth” is my No.1 Highlife tune.
Kester Iyemere And The GS* – Patience Is The Answer (Nigeria, release year unknown)
The title track of this album contains some incredible electronic guitar and sax in a driving funk rhythm. This is the Nigerian Jimi Hendrix.
Betty Padgett – Betty Padgett (Nigeria, release year unknown)
A warm & soulful album, sadly the recording of this record is bad.