International music icon DJ Black Coffee — through his company FlightMode Digital — has acquired a significant stake in Gallo Music Investments (GMI).
The Lebashe Group purchased GMI for R75m from former owners Tiso Blackstar in March and was bundled in the news and entertainment business of Arena Holdings.
Black Coffee’s new investment in the firm, the value of which is undisclosed, has been hailed as a coup by Lebashe chair Tshepo Mahloele, and paves the way to enhance Arena’s entertainment offering to consumers.
“The collaboration with internationally renowned DJ Black Coffee will usher in a new era for the SA music business on a global scale,” he said.
“We are delighted that SA’s most extensive musical archives reside within Arena Holdings, and it is our intention to explore and reintroduce these amazing classical archives to our mainstream market, locally and globally,” Mahloele added.
On his acquisition, Black Coffee said that it was the first of many moves to change the landscape of SA’s — and the continent’s — music industry.
“The music in the Gallo catalogue is some of the most culturally rich that has ever been created in this country. The partnership with Lebashe to invest in the catalogue, and masters, is more than just a business transaction — it’s about creating an environment in which artists and creatives have a truly equitable stake,” he said.
“It is also the beginning of an industry revolution where African artists are part of structures that are fair and encourage new ways to monetise content,” he added.
As an established and iconic music label, Gallo boasts some of the biggest artists to come out of SA, including Lucky Dube, Dorothy Masuka, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Stimela, Sipho Hotstix Mabuse and Mango Groove.
Gallo’s Rob Cowling said the purchase was exciting, and that having an investor like Black Coffee augured well for the future of the label.
“This also announces our presence in the market that Gallo is a force to be reckoned with,” he said.
“He [Black Coffee] has such a global appeal, we hope this opens possibilities for us going forward,” he added.
*TimesLIVE is owned by Arena Holdings