South African DJ Black Coffee acquires ‘significant’ stake in Gallo Music, the country’s oldest indie label

Superstar South African DJ Black Coffee has acquired a significant stake in Gallo Music Investments (GMI), South Africa’s largest and oldest independent label.

Black Coffee acquired the stake in the label via his investment holding company FlightMode Digital from Lebashe Investment Group for an undisclosed sum.

The news comes just two months after Gallo was purchased by Lebashe from Tiso Blackstar (formerly Johnnic Communications), in a deal valued at R75 million (approximately $4.3m).

GMI was incorporated into news and entertainment business Arena Holdings, which is 100% owned by Lebashe Investment Group.

Gallo has been in business for more than 90 years and has been home to some of the biggest artists to come out of South Africa, including Lucky Dube, Dorothy Masuka, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Stimela, & Sipho Hotstix Mabuse and Mango Groove.

All of these artists have achieved multi-platinum sales status in South Africa.

The label’s current catalog includes Bhekumuzi Luthuli, Harari, Soul Brothers, Mahotella Queens, Sakhile, Thandiswa Mazwai, Siphiwe Dana, & Sipho Gumede.

Flightmode Digital was set up by Black Coffee in 2017 and has equity stakes in some of Africa’s top startups including Yoco, Andela, Sweep South and Rensource.

“The collaboration with internationally renowned DJ Black Coffee will usher in a new era for the South African music business on a global scale.”

Tshepo Mahloele, Lebashe Investment Group

Lebashe Chairman Tshepo Mahloele said: “We are delighted that South Africa’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.

“The collaboration with internationally renowned DJ Black Coffee will usher in a new era for the South African music business on a global scale.”

“This is the first of many moves we are working on to change the landscape of both the South African and African music industry.”

Black Coffee 

Black Coffee added: “This is the first of many moves we are working on to change the landscape of both the South African and African music industry.

“The music in the Gallo catalog is some of the most culturally rich that has ever been created in this country.

“The partnership with Lebashe to invest in the catalog 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.

“It is also the beginning of an industry revolution where African artists are part of structures that are fair and encourage new ways to monetize content.”

Gallo Records was previously in a joint venture with Warner Music in South Africa, called Warner Music Gallo Africa, which ended in 2013 following the major record company’s buyout of Gallo Records’ share of their JV, and launch of Warner Music South Africa.Music Business Worldwide