Warner Music South Africa has reportedly completed the acquisition of a local independent label, Coleske. The label, led by Arnold Coleske, in consolidation with his business partners Paulo Azevedo and Brendon Hargroves, will continue to be operated as an independent business post the acquisition.
Coleske is the biggest indie label emphasizing on Afrikaans collection, which makes up a substantial proportion of the music market in South Africa, with other players comprising Sony Music Entertainment-owned Select Musiek along with Inhoud Huis, which has collaborated with Universal Music Group.
The acquisition deal is the recent achievement in the expansion of Warner Music in Africa. This expansion includes the opening of its South African associate in 2013, its agreement with Chocolate City of Nigeria in 2019, its investment in Africori and collaboration with Ziiki Media in 2020 along with its deal with Diamond Platnumz and his WCB-Wasafi label earlier in 2021.
Coleske has an expertise in Afrikaans pop music, with a roster of artists comprising Bobby van Jaarsveld, Appel, Dewald Wasserfal, Demi Lee Moore, Elvis Blue, Karlien Van Jaarsveld, Jay, Ruhan du Toit, Riana Nel, and Riaan Benade.
Many artists from Coleske perform in Country music in English, a genre with an immense following in South Africa.
Accessing the global network of Warner Music will help the indie label to partner with artists from other markets which include those on the roster of Warner Music Nashville. In addition, the label has a successful business of live recording, with its marquee event being the annual concert of ‘Afrikaans is Groot’ in Johannesburg which is the world’s largest Afrikaans music gig.
Coleske is also responsible for the success of Die Kontrak, the TV talent show in South Africa on which many of its artists are appointed as judges. The label is reportedly holding talks with broadcasters to create an English-language version of the show, named The Contract.