Geoff Paynter

Geoff is presently in his 43rd year of working inside the music industry. He has spent a lifetime managing, representing and enforcing the rights in music for artists. He is internationally respected not only for his integrity but also as a highly knowledgeable and widely experienced music publisher. He has headed all the major licensing and industry bodies in Southern Africa, and continues to represent major international artists.

Born in Northern Rhodesia, Geoff was exposed to music early in his life, as his Viennese-born mother was determined her sons would be musicians, and piano lessons began at age four. Formal classical training took him through his Royal College of Music examinations and Eisteddfods until in his teenage years, pop music took over.

Geoff began playing in local pop bands, drumming at first, but ultimately also filling keyboard, bass and vocal roles in a variety of outfits from trios to five-piece groups. Whilst at school, the decline in educational standards in newly independent Zambia meant departing for boarding school at Falcon College in Rhodesia, where he obtained his O Level and A Level certificates. During holidays back home the live music would continue, but there was little time for music at Falcon, until in his final year, the school Variety Concert beckoned, with the 1970 school magazine reporting, ”….items deserving mention include the piano pieces by James and Paynter (the latter emerging from obscurity as Falcon’s premier light pianist)”.

Plans to attend university in 1971 were thwarted by a job offer at Teal Record Company Zambia to launch newly introduced music tape formats (8-Track and Cassette) into the Zambian market. Given a target of R36,000 for his first month, Geoff achieved that in his first morning and commission rates were hurriedly revised, but the bug had bitten, and he stayed at Teal for 9 years, overseeing the construction of a vinyl and cassette plant that was flown in from Europe, and becoming General Manager. Throughout most of that time, Geoff played in pop groups with his brother Mike and as such was fully immersed in music professionally and socially.

Geoff continues to work as a music publisher, representing the likes of Elvis Presley, Neil Young, Burt Bacharach, David Guetta, Foreigner and Santana, and local jazz superstar, Paul Hanmer. Included in his catalogues are the iconic titles “Weeping” (Bright Blue) and “Liefling” (Ge Korsten).

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1970 – 1979 – TEAL RECORD CO, ZAMBIA Rep/Disc Cutting Engineer/Office Manager and Buyer/General Manager

1979 – 1980 – WEA RECORDS, S.A. International Marketing Manager

1983 – 1985 – GALLO/TEAL RECORDS, S.A. A & R Manager

1985 – 1987 – GALLO rep in United Kingdom

1987 – 2008 – GALLO MUSIC PUBLISHERS, S.A. In 1987 Geoff was brought back from UK to run GMP. He stayed as Managing Director for 20 years, and was a Board Director of GALLO AFRICA for most of this time as well.

2008 – Present – GEOFF PAYNTER MUSIC PUBLISHING. Geoff left Gallo to set up own his music publishing company.


Board Director of NORM – the National Organization for Reproductive Rights in Music (now MPA SA)

Board Director of MPA – the Music Publishers’ Association.

Board Director of SAMRO – the South African Music Rights Organization.


  • Helping launch the international careers of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Lucky Dube, and Mahlathini and The Mahotella Queens
  • Developing numerous international advertising campaigns for SA music and establishing equitable rates for South African music used in local advertising
  • Breaking Ladysmith Black Mambazo into UK market via Heinz campaign, resulting in UK album sales exceeding 1.3 million copies.
  • Motivating, financing and achieving the “Mbube” (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) settlement
  • Motivating and achieving the building of proper archive facilities for Gallo’s recorded master tapes
  • Introducing (in 1988) the payment of royalties to Gallo composers on all repertoire including those previously acquired on a ‘buyout basis’
  • Helping extricate NORM from SARRAL’s control and keeping it afloat until revenues could be sourced to re-establish NORM (Now MPASA) as a self-funded entity
  • Successfully bringing an action in Belgian courts against Belgian singer Helmut Lotti who had illegally claimed publishing ownership on songs composed by several black South Africans.
  • Prosecuting promoters using copyrighted works without licenses.

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