Sakhele Mzalazala, a seasoned music business manager and independent music advocate has been named as the first African representative for CD Baby, a distributor and rights administrator of independent music.
He will “spearhead strategic partnerships both locally and internationally, building networks with young and established artists in the process, as well as developing and implementing a number of programs to increase visibility and adoption of CD Baby services, and establish strategic industry relationships in the region,” according to a statement.
Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Mzalazala will be responsible for growing CD Baby in South Africa and other markets across Southern Africa, including Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, and Namibia.
“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,” says 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.”
“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,” says Mzalazala.
“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 has more than 20 years of music industry experience, including overseeing the publishing team at the prominent South African label Mathaland/Ghetto Ruff. With his own roots in the music industry as a an artist before transitioning to the business side, Mzalazala has a strong track record of supporting independent artists’ work, including a double platinum-release from Zonke Dikana’s Ina Ethe, the late Sfiso Ncwane’s multiple award-winning Gospel album Bayede Baba.
“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,” explains Mzalazala.
“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 joins the 22-person CD Baby international team active in markets across Europe, North America, South America, East Asia, and South Asia.