DIY distribution company CD Baby is expanding its international artist services team to Africa, bringing on South African music industry veteran Sakhele Mzalazala.
Reporting to VP of International Development Heli Del Moral, Mzalazala is CD Baby’s first hire in Africa, where he will be responsible for growing CD Baby in South Africa and other markets across Southern Africa, including Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, and Namibia.
Based in Johannesburg, Mzalazala joins the 22-person CD Baby international team active in markets across Europe, North America, South America, East Asia, and South Asia.
He has more than 20 years’ music industry experience, including roles with Yourself Management, Xhentsa, and Koloni, working directly with artists Mahlatse Vokal and Lisa Good, and overseeing the publishing team at South African label Mathaland/Ghetto Ruff, where he worked with Zola 7, Dj Cleo, Pitch Black AFRO, and Morafe.
Mzalazala worked in the music industry as an artist before transitioning to the business side and has worked on independent artist projects, including the double platinum album from Zonke Dikana, Ina Ethe and the late Sfiso Ncwane’s multiple award-winning Gospel album Bayede Baba.
He has also worked with Sizwe Zako, Tshepo Tshola, Lawrence Matshiza, and many more, experiences he has distilled into a guide book for independent musicians.
“THIS STEP IS PART OF OUR OVERALL VISION TO BRING THE BEST ARTIST SERVICES AND RIGHTS ADMINISTRATION TO INDEPENDENT CREATORS WORLDWIDE.”
HEL DEL MORAL, CD BABY
“African artists have impacted music around the world, and we’re thrilled to find the right representative to help them understand how CD Baby can support their careers and creativity,” said VP of International Development, Hel Del Moral.
“This step is part of our overall vision to bring the best artist services and rights administration to independent creators worldwide.”
“INDEPENDENT ARTISTS’ BIGGEST CHALLENGES IN OUR REGION ARE THE LACK OF INFORMATION OR KNOWLEDGE, LACK OF INCOME FROM THEIR WORKS, AND THE LONG-TERM AGREEMENTS THEY SIGN. BUT ARTISTS ARE BECOMING INDEPENDENT BY OWNING THEIR MASTERS AND GETTING ACCESS TO MOST DIGITAL PLATFORMS. THERE IS A LOT OF REASON FOR OPTIMISM NOW.”
Mzalazala added: “Working for an international organization like CD Baby has been a dream of mine and I am very excited to have been given such a big opportunity, which in turn comes with bigger responsibilities.
“I look forward to impacting positively on the careers of independent artists and labels, where they will have full control and ownership of the works.
“I have always strived to do what is best for my artists and clients and CD Baby is just that and more. I am excited and cannot wait.”
Mzalazala added: “Independent artists’ biggest challenges in our region are the lack of information or knowledge, lack of income from their works, and the long-term agreements they sign.
“But artists are becoming independent by owning their masters and getting access to most digital platforms. There is a lot of reason for optimism now.”
In March 2019, Downtown Music Holdings, the parent company of Downtown Music Publishing and Songtrust, announced that it was acquiring AVL Digital Group and its portfolio of businesses, including CD Baby, AdRev, DashGo and Soundrop.
CD Baby expanded into India in October 2019. Ritnika Nayan, who wrote the book Indie 101: The Ultimate Guide to the Independent Music Industry in India, was appointed to represent CD Baby as well as its sister companies, including DashGo.