Merlin Network

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Merlin Network
Traded asMerlin Network B.V
IndustryDigital Licensing
HeadquartersThe Netherlands/United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
Charles Caldas
ServicesDigital Music Licensing

Merlin Network is the global digital rights agency for the world's independent label sector, with a membership accounting for more than 12% of the global recorded music market.[1] It was established to allow digital services the opportunity to globally license – via a single deal, instead of hundreds of individual local deals – commercially successful independent music labels from across the world.[2]

Launched in 2007, after the appointment of current chief executive Charles Caldas, the organisation now has over 700 members from 42 countries.[3] It also represents more than 20,000 independent labels and aggregators worldwide, including Beggars Group, Amadea Music,Domino, Epitaph Records, !K7, Kobalt Label Services, Marquee Music Group, Merge Records, Ninja Tune, PIAS, Secretly Group, Terrabyte Studios, Symphonic Distribution, Phonofile, Sub Pop, The state51 Conspiracy, AWAL, CD Baby, Vohnic Music LLC, Artists Network Revolution, Spare Music, and Warp.[4]

On their behalf, Merlin has licensed to digital services including Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube Red, Spotify, Pandora Music, Google Play, Deezer, Vevo, KKBOX and Guvera, and reached copyright infringement settlements with, among others, Limewire, XM Satellite Radio and Grooveshark.[5] In March 2018,[6] Merlin has partnered with popular Chinese Services NetEase, Alibaba and Tencent.

The organisation operates on a non-exclusive basis, and its stated remit is to “enhance the value of our members rights in deals that cannot be easily negotiated locally or individually, or are not covered adequately by existing arrangements.”[7]

Merlin is owned and controlled by a not-for-profit foundation, supervised by a member-elected board of 15 individuals - five each from North America, Europe and Rest of the World.[8] The current chairman is Epitaph Records SVP Business Development Dave Hansen.[9]

In February 2013, Merlin and IMPALA signed an agreement with Warner Music Group, right after it acquired Parlophone, to transfer 30% of that label's value to Merlin and IMPALA members. The divestment ended on September 30, 2017.[10]

Merlin has been recognised by the music and technology sectors.[11] The organisation was named ‘Independent Champion’ at both the 2015 and 2016 A2IM Libera Awards,[12] while CEO Charles Caldas received the IMPALA annual outstanding contribution award in 2013.[13]


  1. ^ "Members of Merlin Report Digital Gains in Annual Survey". Billboard. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  2. ^ "What We Do". Merlin Network. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Meet The Team: Merlin". PIAS. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Merlin Announces 20% Reduction In Administration Fee For Members". Mi2N. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Merlin Announces 20 Percent Price Cut For Members". Billboard. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Merlin Strikes Deals with China".
  7. ^ "How It Works". Merlin Network. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Martin Mills Re-elected Chair Of Merlin". M Magazine. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  9. ^ "Martin Mills". Impala Music. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies". Fast Company. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Alabama Shakes (ATO) And Kamasi Washington (Brainfeeder) Were The Top Winners At A2IM's Biggest Libera Awards Yet". Vents Magazine. 17 June 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Impala Annual Outstanding Contribution Award Goes To Merlin's CEO Charles Caldas". Impala. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
 14.  Dave Hansen

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