Earlier in the year, Gallo Record Company, South Africa's oldest independent record label, was purchased by Lebashe Investment Group. Recently, it was revealed that iconic South African DJ and producer Black Coffee has acquired a significant stake in the label. Gallo Record Company was founded in 1926 and has been going strong ever since, with many major releases under its belt.
Black Coffee used his investment arm FlightMode Digital to acquire the shares. Since its inception in 2017, he has used FlightMode to fund businesses in Africa. In a quote obtained by Music Business Worldwide, Black Coffee shared his views on how the purchase goes beyond business and how he hopes to change the landscape of music in the continent.
“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.”
Lebashe Chairman Tshepo Mahloele also weighed in." “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," he said. "The collaboration with internationally renowned DJ Black Coffee will usher in a new era for the South African music business on a global scale.”
In its 90+ years, Gallo has worked with some of the most illustrious artists to emerge from South Africa, including 5-time Grammy Award-winning choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the late Lucky Dube, who at one point was the continent's highest-selling reggae artist.