Independent music distributor CD Baby has hired Sakhele Mzalazala as its first representative in Africa.
The move is part of CD Baby’s expansion plan to develop an international artist services team in Africa. The music business manager and independent music advocate will be based in Johannesburg and will report to vice-president of international development Heli Del Moral.
Mzalazala will spearhead CD Baby’s strategic partnerships both locally and internationally, and will be responsible for building artist networks and increasing the adoption of CD Baby’s services across southern Africa, including South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland and Namibia.
“Working for an international organisation 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,” Mzalazala said.
“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.”
He 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.”
Hel Del Moral said: “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. This step is part of our overall vision to bring the best artist services and rights administration to independent creators worldwide.”
Mzalazala has more than 20 years of music industry experience, including roles with Yourself Management, Xhentsa and Koloni, as well as overseeing the publishing team at South African label Ghetto Ruff/Muthaland Entertainment.
The music executive joins CD Baby’s 22-person international team, which is active in markets across Europe, North America, South America, East Asia and South Asia.
Owned by Downtown, CD Baby is the largest distributor and rights administrator of independent music globally and boasts more than 800 000 artists with over 9 million tracks. It distributes independent music to more than 150 digital services and platforms.