July 11, 2020

MESH SA: Case Study

MESH SA
Image Credit: MESH

Just 9 years ago Soul Candi was at its peak and at the forefront of dance music in South Africa.

I think it was in 2011 when I heard about MESH SA. Each time I went to the now-defunct Reliable Music warehouse store, I would look for the latest HOUSE CD’s. And most of the albums had a MESH SA logo.

MESH SA is short for Music & Entertainment Solutions Hub.

I was curious and eager to find out more about this company. So I decided to do my research and I found out that MESH SA was actually part of the Soul Candi Music Group.

Maybe the name might sound foreign to you but Music & Entertainment Solutions Hub was instrumental in shaping the South African Music Industry within a short space of time.

Let’s find out more about this little known and yet powerful entity.

Music & Entertainment Solutions Hub

Music & Entertainment Solutions Hub was one of the largest Independent Music distributors (if not the largest) in Southern Africa.

Soul Candi had been trading for ten years before MESH SA came to into existence and so around 2010 the directors decided to expand the business by creating a music distribution unit headed by Sergio Botelho.

With the exception of Sheer, IRIS Distribution and Cool Spot Productions, there were few successful Independent distributors in South Africa. Most labels were signed to licensing deals with the major record companies.

During the late 90s, USM Records (a subsidiary of Sheer Music Group) was the largest distributor of dance music in the country and Soul Candi Records had a long-term joint venture deal with the mother label, Sheer.

However, Sheer Music was rebranded as Shelter Music and USM Records was absorbed into Sheer Sound (confusing I know).

Both companies were starting to lose market share by then, and Soul Candi jumped ship to establish their own distribution company.

Transformation begins

I don’t know if I should call it luck or perfect timing, but MESH SA suddenly took off (almost immediately).

I mentioned that most labels are tied down to the not so lucrative licensing deals with the major record companies.  But what MESH SA did was unprecedented.

Almost every “big” label you could think of at the time signed with them – DJ Black Coffee’s Soulistic Music, Afrotainment, Shota Music, Jaziel Brothers Productions and many more.

Suddenly all these labels were getting better deals to make more money on each record sold. But MESH SA provided manufacturing and distribution services, meaning these labels paid MESH SA to manufacture and distribute only.

Music & Entertainment Solutions hub didn’t create anything new as such. Instead, they replicated a major label business model except they were not financially responsible for the promotions and marketing but the labels were.

But as the saying goes “every good thing comes to an end“. The service was no longer sustainable for MESH SA and the labels because the demand for physical product declined.

The company website is active till this day but is MESH still trading? Well, your guess is as good as mine.