Publishing News

‘The world is ready for African music’ says newly appointed Managing Director at Sheer Publishing, Thando Makhunga

Feb 16, 2022

Fresh in the hot seat at Sheer Publishing, a subsidiary of Downtown Music Services (DMH), the 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, Thando 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, the largest commercial regional radio station in South Africa, her responsibilities included growing audiences in a market that was being disrupted by changing consumer habits and increased digital consumption of content and music.

At the height of the pandemic, Thando, together with 947, successfully repositioned its flagship music festival ‘Hauwei Joburg Day’ into the virtual eventing space. Responding effectively to the disruptions of the pandemic and pivoting strategically to market changes allowed the business to remain relevant, impactful, and connected to its audience.

It is with this exact same mindset that Thando enters her role at Sheer, armoured with the knowledge and a state of mind for success.

She says, “I’m thrilled to be taking on this new role at such an exciting time for Downtown Music Services and Sheer. The opportunity to shape, support, and enable increased growth for clients with improved offerings is exhilarating and rewarding. At our core, we nurture, curate, and protect the artistic legacies of some of the best creators in Africa and that is an honour”.

Mike Smith, Global President of Downtown Music Services said, “Thando is a proven executive who has an amazing track record in the radio industry, strong links with artists and labels and is highly thought of throughout the wider  African music industry. Her experience,  energy, and insight will be a major asset for Sheer Music Publishing and she will play a major role in consolidating the company’s reputation as a market leader and expanding its already excellent expertise, services, and technology.

David Alexander, Senior Vice President of New Markets (DMH) adds, “We are incredibly lucky to have found a new Managing Director in Thando Makhunga – her background in music radio gives her a unique insight into the other side of music licensing and usage.

With the team’s strength being in the Music Rights administration side of the business, Thando brings something new and exciting to the table. Her exposure to larger corporate entities also brings structure to the business at just the right time, as the business transitions from a founder-led entity into the Downtown Music Services global business. I am excited by the possibilities as Sheer transitions into this new journey with Thando.”

Thando will, in her role, optimise business development in the region by leveraging the expertise, services, and technology at Sheer to provide increased value for African creators.

She says, “Our focus is to fully embrace and enable the growing global demand for African music.”

Sheer Publishing has an in-depth knowledge of the publishing industry and a highly skilled professional team that provides solutions, services, and insights in navigating a vibrant and complex African market. In conjunction with the global capabilities of Downtown Music Services, Sheer is able to entrench the business as the premier partner on the continent for independent writers and labels, while offering authentically African solutions for creative and sync partnerships and ultimately building the largest independent publishing business on the continent.

Last year, Sheer Publishing announced two Management changes with Rehana Pillay being promoted to General Manager and Brett Voster promoted to Copyright Manager.

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