Publishing News

Sheer Publishing appoints Thando Makhunga as Managing Director

Feb 11, 2022

Fresh in the hot seat at Sheer Publishing, a subsidiary of Downtown Music Services (DMH), newly appointed managing director, Thando Makhunga, is already stirring the pot. Eager to use her new position to not only grow the global demand for African music but to improve accessibility and commercial opportunities for local creators.
With a vast background in local radio, Makhunga has been immersed in the music and entertainment industry ever since she entered the working world. From the city of Durban, in South Africa, she began her broadcasting career at East Coast Radio. It was here that she developed an interest in music programming.

In her most recent role as the station manager at 947, her responsibilities included growing audiences in a market that was being disrupted by changing consumer habits and increased digital consumption of content and music.

We catch up with Thando Makhunga to find out more about her new role

BizcommunityCongratulations on your new appointment! How are you feeling?

Excited, optimistic, and very thankful to have the opportunity to lead Sheer into a new era as a market-leading modern African music publishing business.

BizcommunityWhat does your new role entail?

My role entails leading the repositioning of the business through this transitional phase from a South African centred organisation to becoming part of a global team with Downtown Music Services. The specific focus will be on delivering world-class professional publishing services to the creative class on the continent where there is still a massive void.

BizcommunityWhat excites you most about taking on this role?

I’m incredibly passionate about music so the opportunity to connect a diverse set of artists with local and global brands and seeing the work of some of our clients represented in major film, TV, or advertising campaigns is very rewarding.

In conjunction with Downtown Music Services, we will also be able to broaden markets for African creators through collaborations with artists across the globe. Africa has some of the most exciting artists in the world and to be in this industry at this time is very exciting.

BizcommunityWhat do you love most about your career, the industry and what you do?

Working with creatives, be it in the broadcasting or the music industry, is always challenging but invigorating. We take for granted the amount of work, talent, and at times pure creative genius that exists in this country and the continent.

I’ve loved being able to guide and support creatives to do what they do best which is to create, inspire and simply bring joy to audiences through their creative efforts.

BizcommunityWhat approach will you take in your role as managing director going forward?

My approach is to listen – be it to our clients, our commercial partners, and to what the market needs from a modern publishing business in a digital era and ensure that as a business we are positioned to deliver on those needs. The music industry has been heavily impacted by the pandemic and as a publisher protecting the assets of clients has never been more important. The business has a rich portfolio of library catalogues and a diverse clientele across the continent and the approach will be to unlock value across these parts of the business.

BizcommunityWhat can we expect to see from Sheer Publishing in 2022?

This year, Sheer will be consolidating its African business in alignment with the global Downtown Music Services growth strategy. You can expect that Sheer will be aggressive in terms of prioritizing client services and providing improved creative and sync opportunities in South Africa and across the continent for creators.

Sheer has built a formidable track record over the past 25 years with some of the most knowledgeable industry experts being part of the leadership team – this expertise, understanding of the African market, and the backing of a global business at Downtown Music Services mean that you can expect continued growth and success for the year ahead.

Article by Evan-Lee Courie
Photo by Nick Bolton