Merlin Strikes Licensing Deal with YouTube
- Long-Awaited Deal is Music to Ears of YouTube Fans
- Antony and the Johnsons, The Prodigy, Yeasayer and Grizzly Bear Among Top Independent Acts Covered Under Deal
Independents’ global rights agency Merlin has agreed a global licensing deal with YouTube. The agreement unlocks revenues to Merlin’s member labels whenever their official releases, or user-generated videos featuring their repertoire, are played via the YouTube service.
The deal, which commences immediately, gives music fans the green light to use repertoire spanning the best and brightest labels of the independent sector including Earache, Secretly Canadian, Ninja Tune, Cooking Vinyl, Warp, Phonofile, Pschent, Morr Music, !K7 and Inertia. Amongst the thousands of artists covered under the deal, Antony and the Johnsons, Aphex Twin, The Prodigy, Roots Manuva, Jamie Lidell, Grizzly Bear, Yeasayer, Suuns and Boards of Canada are some of the more prominent acts whose videos can now be accessed on the YouTube service.
Coming after a long negotiation, the agreement underscores YouTube’s commitment to the independent music sector as well as Merlin’s determination to secure competitive terms on behalf of its members. It enables the virtual fifth major’s many member labels that have not yet licensed YouTube to harness revenues on what has become an important music destination.
The deal comes at a time when independent music is enjoying unprecedented success on digital services – illustrating that in a market with limitless choice and free of tightly controlled shop windows, fans are increasingly consuming independent music.
Said Merlin CEO, Charles Caldas, “We are very pleased to reach an agreement which will allow YouTube’s users to enjoy access to the many amazing artists that our labels represent.”
Chris Maxcy, Head of Global Music Partnerships at YouTube, commented, “We’re continually looking for new ways to connect independent artists with their fans and we’re thrilled to have struck a deal with Merlin that will help us do just that, while compensating them for their efforts at the same time.”
Merlin, the virtual fifth major, represents the world’s most important set of independent music rights, with a global membership including over 14,000 of the world’s most prominent independents.
Since commencing operations in May 2008 Merlin has struck deals with a number of digital services including Rdio, Spotify, MySpace Music, Catch Media, Simfy, and Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity.
Merlin represents by far the largest and most compelling basket of global independent rights in the world and so offers the most efficient means of licensing this repertoire. A global organization, its members’ market share in the US alone is reported at around 10%, equivalent to that of the smaller major labels, whilst in Europe member labels released 72% of the top 60 independent albums issued in the past three years and commanded a 11% digital UK market share in 2009. For more information please visit www.merlinnetwork.org.
 Nielsen statistics for both 2010and 2009 reveal that the US album market share for independents is 57% greater for digital as compared to physical sales. Furthermore, on streaming and subscription services, Merlin members’ usage shares are up to 25% higher on paid for tiers than on free or ad-funded ones. This suggests that users who pay for subscription services – serious music fans by definition – are even more likely to be found listening to independent music. Visit http://bit.ly/ldb5Wj for more information.