In recent months, we’ve had the privilege to interview many of our members about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has impacted the music ecosystem and their businesses. Even as our resilience is being tested, our members have pivoted their businesses and found new ways to support their artists. It’s been genuinely inspiring to hear about many of their successes. This is the next installment in a series about the resiliency of our members.El equipo de Merlin
MEMBER SINCE 2019
- How are you responding to this global crisis?
Well in the beginning of the pandemic, when a curfew was enforced, we had to start working from our homes. This affected our performance a lot, even to this day, since 6 of our employees were unable to work from home; they are entrepreneurs who’ve grown up in marginalized neighborhoods where the internet and electricity are not so stable.
The artists obviously stopped performing concerts and many tours were canceled. One of our most important artists, Chimbala, was in Europe at the beginning of the pandemic and had to cancel and return to Santo Domingo.We have responded to the crisis by optimizing work procedures from home, hiring some temporary freelancers, and since the government is now starting to open businesses and reduce curfew hours, we are working 3 days a week with limited staff.
- What new methods have you employed to market your music?
Well, one of the releases that we worked on during this crisis is the song “Cuarentena” by Chimbala, which we strategized by announcing first that he was fighting with his wife and that he was tired of being stuck inside. We used influencers and media to spread all of this while preparing for release.We recorded a live session in the same apartment the artist shares with his wife and this video came out. When the fans heard it, they were surprised because they thought it was about some relief for the artist from his wife, but it was just a connection strategy.
Tip: everyone always thinks of live streaming, but it is good to look for other alternatives so that you are not doing the same thing while still connecting with the public.
But we are already starting to breathe again.
- Name one big thing your company is doing this year.
Well, due to the crisis we had to quickly change our plans, but are still adding to our catalog of artists. We just signed the most international urbano artist and are going to release his new album ÓMEGA this year which has songs featuring Daddy Yankee; he also wrote the song “Ùna Flor” performed by Ozuna, among other things.
We are also improving our own technology by providing access to all our artists so that they can manage their catalog and, above all, see their income and payments on their dashboard in a timely fashion.
We have many releases on the schedule, including albums, but we are analyzing carefully before moving forward with our calendar for this year.
- With the rise of social music, how are you evolving to engage fans and promote your artists?
We have been riding this wave for a long time. Before TikTok acquired Musical.ly we were already implementing these video formats and working with some influencers; now we are even more present on the platform and strategizing with TikTokkers which is producing very good results.
For Instagram Stories we are remodeling the way of posting, reposting a lot of fan Stories (that the vast majority send with music from the Instagram Audio Library).
Snap is hardly used in our country – that’s why we do not make so much effort on that platform – but we are looking into it.
We are also using YouTube Stories which have a good range, even better now that you can add a channel video into those Stories.
- How is Merlin meaningful to you?
Human staff, attention, understanding and the desire to help us grow.
I had been analyzing and looking into how I could join Merlin for almost two years. It was a process and I waited patiently until I understood and had the necessary numbers and knowledge to do so.
Another reason is independence – I have rejected many contracts and many big advances because continuing independently seemed like the better option. It’s difficult to stand by idly – watching how others don’t do their jobs well, when you know how to do it and how to grow it – simply because you’re inside a castle where the king ignores you.
For me, this is the best thing that has happened to me in my entire career. I now have another way of seeing the music industry and I feel that we are still just beginning. For our part, we have a lot to give.
ABOUT MERLIN MERLIN MEMBER UPDATES
Merlin’s membership represents 15% of the global market share. Members consist of independent labels, distributors and other rightsholders, representing tens of thousands of labels and hundreds of thousands of artists from every country in the world. Merlin navigates the music ecosystem by striking premium deals with digital services that enable its members to better control their future. Digital services have the means to efficiently license the world’s most valuable independent music.
Merlin’s members include Amuse, Aparataje Music Group, Armada Music, AVL Group (including CD Baby and FUGA), AWAL, Beggars Group, Cinq Music Group, Curb Records, Dim Mak, DistroKid, Domino, Entertainment One, Epitaph Records, Farolatino Media Network, Foundation Media, Hopeless Records, !K7, Kontor New Media, KVZ Music, Mad Decent, mtheory, Mushroom Music, Ninja Tune, ONErpm, [PIAS], Pony Canyon, Secretly Group, Symphonic Distribution and Sub Pop.
Merlin has deals with over 30 digital services, including Alibaba, Boomplay, Deezer, Facebook/ Instagram, JioSaavn, KKBox, NetEase, Pandora, Snap, SoundCloud, Spotify, Tencent, TikTok, Triller and YouTube Music.
Merlin has offices in New York, London and Tokyo.
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