Merlin is a digital music licensing and membership organization for independent labels, distributors, and other rightsholders.
The org’s members include the likes of Amuse, Armada Music,, AWAL, Beggars Group, Cinq Music Group, Dim Mak, DistroKid, Domino, Entertainment One, Epitaph Records, Mushroom Music, Ninja Tune, [PIAS], Secretly Group, Symphonic Distribution and more.
Merlin has struck deals with over 30 digital services, including Alibaba, Apple, AWA, Boomplay, Deezer, Facebook/Instagram, JioSaavn, KKBox, NetEase, Pandora, Snap, SoundCloud, Spotify, Tencent, TikTok, Triller, Yandex, and YouTube Music.
Merlin has offices in London, New York, and Tokyo.
Merlin was led by Charles Caldas since before it opened for business in May 2008, up until the end of 2019.
Since 2020, Merlin has been headed by Jeremy Sirota.
On being named Merlin CEO in January 2020, former Facebook and Warner Music Group executive Sirota said: “Merlin’s team of executives and employees are widely respected throughout the music and DSP communities, and I look forward to working closely with them to write the next chapter.
“With the digital music market potentially on the brink of another wave of transformative change, it’s vital that independents continue to have an organization that represents their interests, ensures the value of their repertoire is respected, and keeps pace with innovation.”
Merlin payouts to members
In the 12 months the end of March 2019, Merlin has announced that it paid out $845m to its label and distributor members.
However, this figure includes more than $130m in revenues from non-royalty income, including proceeds from the sale of the body’s shares in Spotify in April 2018.
In pure royalty terms, Merlin paid out circa $715m in the annual period to end of March 2019.
That number was up some 38% on the $518m the organization delivered to indies in the prior 12 months.Music Business Worldwide