Damon Forbes

participation in

  • WOMEX 2013

After my degree in Commerce I immediately moved into the Music industry as a self starter. 18 years experience in managing and developing markets in the Music and Entertainment industries. My initial focus when I starting Sheer in 1994, was to develop a music company that provided international labels with distribution to get economies of scale, and to eventually move the focus more in favor of creating my own content. The initial orientation was towards world and jazz, however the company quickly moved to incorporate all genres of music, both locally developed as a content-owner, and as a license partner. Labels we have represented or currently represent in South Africa include Beggars Group, Lus Africa, Telarc, Rykodisc, Hannibal, World Circuit, World Music Network , Putumayo, Demon, Union square
In addition to the initial record company, the group of associated companies now includes a distribution company, a publishing ownership and administration business, an online retailer, and also a booking agency. Sheer has achieved 7 multi Platinum albums, 8 Platinum and 15 Gold albums, over 30 South African music awards have been received in the past five years.

Sheer Sound as a record company has a large focus on Africa and Southern Africa, with Albums released by Oliver Mtukudzi, Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela the company has built a strong name that now houses new and exciting names Like Kwani Experience, Louis Mhlanga and Phinda Mtya. A division called Sheer music was created that has focused more on branded compilations and collaborations with Dj’s and has a more pop and Dance focus. Two more divisions were created in 2005 called Seed with a more Rock / Indie focus and 2feet music with a more singer songwriter and art rock sound but with bands signed on 360 relationships.

Sheer Entertainment is the booking and Management agency and it houses artists like Caiphus Semenya (A Color Purple – Whoopi Goldberg), Letta Mbulu, while also running the arts programs for the Cities of Bloemfontein and Kimberly. It will be running the opening ceremony at special Olympics for the South African contingency and also was one of 4 parties that ran all the ten years of democracy celebrations.

IRIS – was started only 4 years ago as a distribution company, which handles direct distribution and/or PnD deals, sales and stock fulfillment for around 50 labels – all of an independent nature. In this short time IRIS now has just on a 10% Local market share, with the structure being one where all services are contracted out to third parties while maintaining a core staff for accounting and sales.

Dr Doctor Music, started 4 years ago focus’s only on signing writers, for mechanical collections, public performance, and sync’s. A admin deal through Sheer Publishing, but Dr Doctors music’s core focus is on leveraging more value for its writers and as such last year had 5 substantial sync placements through its placement division called Laswho?, which is a one stop music consultancy.

Damon Forbes


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