Downtown Music Services inks global publishing deal for catalog of iconic South African musician Johnny Clegg

The estate of South African musician Johnny Clegg has inked a global publishing deal with Sheer Publishing, an independent music publisher based in South Africa and a division of Downtown Music Services (DMS).

Johnny Clegg’s catalog spans more than four decades.

In addition to the formation of his former bands Juluka and Savuka, Clegg spent 23 years as a solo artist.

Over the years, Clegg’s blend of English lyrics with Zulu musical structures became an integral part of the South African music fabric, says the company.

Sheer Publishing will administer royalties for the Clegg family, who ultimately own the rights.

“Without the power of Downtown,” said Sheer. “Sheer would not have had the opportunity to work with such an esteemed musician and are extremely grateful to DMS for entrusting them with this catalog.”

Downtown acquired South Africa-based Sheer last year, which formally expanded the company’s geographic footprint to the African continent.

In June, Downtown established a new department that it said at the time will be responsible for unlocking growth opportunities for Downtown in both new and existing global territories.

Downtown appointed Sheer Music Africa MD David Alexander to serve as Senior Vice President of the global team.

“His role in speaking truth to power has been acknowledged by many countries.”

David Alexander, Sheer Publishing

David Alexander, Founder and Managing Director of Sheer Publishing, said: “Clegg’s music has been one of the biggest cultural exports in our lifetimes.

“His role in speaking truth to power has been acknowledged by many countries with many of their highest awards.

“He was a writer who was able to articulate the South African narrative in a way that crossed over to multiple cultures and languages and garnered support for change when we needed it most.”

“Johnny Clegg is not only one of the greatest South African singer songwriters of recent times.”

Mike Smith, DMS

Mike Smith, Global President of DMS, said: “Johnny Clegg is not only one of the greatest South African singer songwriters of recent times but his work as an anti-apartheid activist, plus his support for the indigenous people of South Africa has been instrumental in showing the power of music to create significant change.

“The fact that his band was the first multi-racial group in the time of apartheid underlines his importance of direct action in bringing the apartheid to a close.

Added Smith: “We are very proud to be working with music from an African music industry icon.

“Johnny Clegg has been synonymous with the positive side of South Africa during some of our darkest days and we are grateful to be the caretakers of his legacy for a new generation of African music fans.

“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to work with this remarkable catalogue of songs and we will be doing everything we can to bring them to a new generation of global music fans.

“We are working hard to underline Johnny’s contribution to making this world a much better place to live in.”

“Downtown Music Services has built a great team and technology.”

Hilton Rosenthal

Hilton Rosenthal, who has looked after Johnny Clegg’s Juluka and Savuka publishing since 1979, said: “Downtown Music Services has built a great team and technology that will enable us to maximise opportunities for Johnny’s incredible catalogue of works throughout the world.

“We are excited to see what we can build together.”

“We look forward to this special collaboration.”

The Clegg Family

The Clegg Family added, “We are proud to be a part of the Downtown family and excited that Johnny Clegg’s catalogue is in the esteemed company of other legendary artists such as John Lennon and Miles Davis.

“We look forward to this special collaboration that will celebrate and expand on the great legacy that Johnny Clegg left behind.”Music Business Worldwide

Related Posts