South Africa

South African billionaire music mogul behind the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears

Clive Calder is a South African-born mogul who made billions by signing well-known musicians like Billy Ocean, NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears through his music company Zomba Group.

Calder was born and raised in Johannesburg. According to Forbes, Calder started playing in a band at age 18 to support his mother and sister after his father’s death. 

He started his first record company, CCP Records, in 1971 with Ralph Simon, another South African-born music executive.

CCP Records was home to well-known local artists like Brenda Fassie, Sello Chicco Twala, Mara Louw, Pappa And Blonde, Steve Kekana, Camagwini, Mandoza, Mzekezeke, Dj Bongz, Brenda and the Big Dudes and Ringo Madlingosi.

The company was eventually sold to EMI Records, and in 1975, Calder and Simon founded Zomba in London as an artist and producer management company. 

By 1978, Zomba had expanded to include music publishing and opened offices in New York City. Two years later, Calder and Simon formed their first record label, ‘Jive’, under the Zomba Group.

The label quickly created a name as an important outlet for hip-hop and rap music, and by the 1990s, Calder had become the sole owner of Zomba.

In the late nineties, Jive signed teen pop phenomenons such as the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC and Britney Spears.

However, Calder only became a billionaire in 2002, when he sold Zomba for $2.74 billion to the German-based media group Bertelsmann.

He was offered a position within the newly restructured Zomba Label Group. However, he chose to stay temporarily as an advisor during the integration period and eventually left the music business in 2003. 

In 2018, Calder and his son Keith invested $46 million into Cloud Imperium Games, taking a 10% stake in the studio behind the Star Citizen game.

Today, according to Forbes, Calder has a net worth of $5.7 billion, making him the 505th richest person in the world.

He currently lives in the Cayman Islands with his wife, Patricia Calder.

Since leaving the music industry, Calder has become known for his philanthropy through his company, the ELMA Group of Foundations.

According to Forbes, he frequently travels to parts of Africa for charity, and his ELMA Philanthropies works on improving childhood education and health on the continent.

In May 2020, ELMA Philanthropies pledged $107 million to fight Covid-19 in Africa. Around $26 million of this total was allocated to fight the pandemic in South Africa.


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