Merlin’s Impressive Numbers
Represents Biggest Bundle Of Rights Outside the Four Major Labels
- 8% Share of US Market
- European Members Command 72% of Top 60 Independent Albums For The Past Three Years
- UK Members Command 75% Market Share Of The Top 75 Independent albums of 2007
Merlin’s mission, collective bargaining, is the best hope that indie labels have to get their fair share of revenues generated from music 2.0 services like Last.FM, MySpace and YouTube. Now that Merlin has critical mass lets hope that deals follow…soon. Todays Merlin press release shares some impressive stats:
Merlin, the world’s first global rights body for independent music, has seen its membership swell to over 12,000 labels in its first month of full operation – representing, without a doubt, the largest and most commercially significant bundle of music rights outside the majors. This brings their current market share in the US alone to over 8%, equal to that of EMI Music.
Merlin’s mission, announced at MIDEM last year, is to represent the world’s independent sector and act as an efficient central point of entry to the music it represents, in particular for digital, new media and web 2.0 rights. Merlin provides an unprecedented efficiency in bringing together the world’s most commercially important independent repertoire in one place.
“Merlin is a major development for the independent music sector and the services who use our music. With the repertoires of independent US music market leading labels and distributors (such as KOCH, Epitaph, IODA, Beggars and Concord) and thousands of other independent rights owners now available through Merlin, we send a clear message to the industry at large that valuable independent content is now more accessible, and more easily licensed than it has ever been,” explains Merlin Chairman and President of KOCH Records, Bob Frank.
Worldwide membership numbers are even more dramatic, with members commanding 72% of Europe’s top 60 independent albums for the past three years and a 75% UK market share of the top 75 independent albums in 2007.
Merlin will only act when its globally elected board deems it appropriate – in the best interest of its members – with all profits being distributed to members. The pioneering rights body is currently in discussions with Last.FM and MySpace as well as other major digital companies to ensure competitive remuneration for independents worldwide.
With Merlin’s membership now amassing a market share equal to EMI they have in essence become “the fifth conversation” beyond the four major labels. Those seeking music licenses of independent music will now have a single place to clear such rights, resolving the argument made by content providers that it’s too cumbersome to navigate a multitude of independent rights holders.
“Independents have, until now, found it difficult to access many of the new and emerging online services in a commercially effective manner” explains Merlin CEO, Charles Caldas. “In Merlin, independents finally have a commercial body that can act to ensure their rights are centrally represented, fairly remunerated and properly protected in the marketplace.”
As the latest industry figures show global indie share just under 30% of the global market, and 80% of all new releases, Merlin rebuts the growing assumption that, for emerging media, only the four majors need to be licensed.
Merlin’s membership already includes labels, aggregators and rights representatives:
In the US: heavyweight labels such as KOCH, Concord, Razor and Tie, Saddle Creek and Epitaph (all amongst the top 10 independents in the US)
In the UK: market leading labels such as Beggars Group (the largest in the UK) Domino, Warp, Cooking Vinyl and Kitchenware.
In Europe: The largest independents such as [PIAS] Group (largest pan-European indie), Wagram, Naïve, SPV, K7, Ministry of Sound Germany, Edel/Kontor, Aggro Berlin, Naidoo Records.
Leading independents from around the world such as Canada’s Nettwerk and Australia’s Inertia and Shock.
The world’s most prominent aggregators and distributors, including IODA, [PIAS] Digital, Finetunes, Kontor, Red Eye, Kudos, State 51 and Shock Distribution have also been quick to sign up, recognizing the value of a central, global entity in representing and protecting the rights of the independents.
For more information go to www.merlinnetwork.org
Merlin represents the global independent record sector (which collectively accounts for 80% of the world’s new releases and a 27.5% share of the global music market*), ensuring it has effective access to new and emerging revenue streams.
Merlin offers rights users the opportunity to license collectively the individually unlicensable by creating a single point of contact for those wishing to license from the vast global output of the independent sector. Merlin represents by far the largest and most compelling basket of global independent rights, and so offers the most efficient means of licensing this repertoire.
A multi-national organisation in the truest sense, Merlin’s burgeoning global membership includes such iconic labels as Beggars Group (the largest independent in the UK), KOCH (the largest independent in the US), [PIAS] Group (the largest pan-European independent), Concord, Edel, Epitaph, Rough Trade and Tommy Boy, and distributors and aggregators such as IODA, Finetunes, State 51 and Kontor.
Merlin operates outside the space occupied by Collecting Societies and distributors, redressing the false assumption that for emerging media, only the majors need to be licensed with the rest free to air.
Merlin has been ratified by the World Independent Network (WIN), a global trade body with trade association members from around the world, IMPALA (European Independent Music Companies Association), AIM (UK), UPFI (France), CIRPA (Canada), VUT (Germany), FONO (Norway), ILCJ (Japan), SOM (Sweden), ABMI (Brazil), UFI (Spain), IMNZ (New Zealand) and AIR (Australia) and members of the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) including Alligator, Century Media and Kill Rock Stars.
Based in The Netherlands and London, Merlin operates as a stand-alone company owned by a not for profit foundation. Its activities and the scope of its operations are supervised by a board representing its members. Merlin is a sister organisation to WIN, and was incubated by WIN as its first major global project.
* Independent sector global market share 2006 is 27.5%, source Music & Copyright, Jul 2007. 80% of releases stat based on an amalgamation of Nielsen Soundscan figures (2005: 81.65% of total US releases were independent) and BPI figures (2005: 83% of total UK releases were independent).