Merlin Announces 25% Reduction in Administration Fees for Members - Merlin

Merlin Announces 25% Reduction in Administration Fees for Members

Merlin announces 25% reduction in administration fees for members as team expands

  • New admin fee of 1.5% of revenues represents the sixth reduction in five years, and follows Merlin’s recently-announced multi-year global license agreement with Spotify
  • Helen Alexander joins as Finance Director to expand Merlin’s team

Merlin, the global digital rights agency for the world’s independent label sector, has today announced another significant reduction to its Administration Fee for members.  

Effective immediately, the rate for commercial deals has been slashed by 25% – dropping from 2% to 1.5% of revenues.

The move reiterates Merlin’s continued commitment to deliver ever greater efficiencies for its label and distributor members. Numbering close to 800, these businesses represent tens of thousands of independent labels across 51 countries on all continents.

Significantly, it is the sixth time in five years that Administration Fees have been reduced – a fall of almost 80% since 2012.*

This period (2012-2017) has seen a more than eightfold increase in Merlin’s royalty distributions to members, from $36m in 2012 to $300m in the past 12 months.

The announcement follows Merlin’s new multi-year global license agreement with Spotify.  This ensures the world’s leading independent record labels and their artists will remain at the core of the world’s most popular audio streaming service and includes world leading independent labels and distributors such as Secretly Canadian, INgrooves, Because, Redeye Worldwide, Domino, Kontor Records, Kobalt Music Recordings, [PIAS], Beggars Group and Eleven Seven Music.

It also coincides with a significant expansion to the Merlin team, with Helen Alexander joining in the role of Finance Director. A qualified Chartered Accountant, Helen brings with her a wealth of experience in the creative and media sector – most recently at Warner Bros, where she was Director of Operations and Business Development at their Soho-based post-production facility.

Reporting directly to CEO, Charles Caldas, Helen will oversee all finance, royalty and operations functions, and will lead the development and implementation of further improvements to the company’s processes, ensuring that members continue to enjoy outstanding service.

Helen joins a growing global team, including senior long-term General Counsel and Head of Business Affairs, Charlie Lexton.

Other key Merlin staff include Head of Global Member Services and Communications Tom Deakin; General Manager, USA, Jim Mahoney; Japan GM, Haji Taniguchi; Head of Finance, Becky Bishop; Head of Royalties, Liza Dickson; Director, Business and Legal Affairs, Ryan McWhinnie and Head of Technical Operations, Chris Tarbet.  

A full list of Merlin staff can be found at

“On the back of our new agreement with Spotify, I am proud to announce yet another reduction in our Administration Fee. Together it means Merlin continues to deliver maximum value to our members’ digital business, and highlights our ongoing commitment to provide ever greater efficiencies.

This service level will be further enhanced by the appointment of Helen Alexander as Finance Director. Helen is a key addition to our team. She brings with her a wealth of experience and, at a time of explosive global growth in our market, will ensure that all internal finance, reporting and operations processes continue to run smoothly.”

Charles Caldas, CEO, Merlin

Opening for business in 2008, Merlin’s membership now commands in excess of 12% of the global digital recorded music market.

Merlin has offices in London, New York and Tokyo, with a head office in Amsterdam.

*Reduction in Administration Fees: Feb 2012 to April 2017

Between these dates, on revenues generated through licensing and other commercial activities, Merlin’s Administration Fees for members have dropped from 7% to 1.5%:

*   Feb 2012 – from 7% to 6%
*   Feb 2013 – from 6% to 4%
*   Jul 2013 – from 4% to 3%
*   Jul 2014 – from 3% to 2.5%
*   Feb 2016 – from 2.5% to 2%
*   Apr 2017 – from 2% to 1.5%

About Merlin

Merlin is the global digital rights agency for the world’s independent label sector.

The organisation’s members command in excess of 12% of the digital recorded music market and embody more than 20,000 independent record labels and distributors from 51 countries and all continents. These include Beggars Group, Secretly Group, Domino, Sub Pop, Epitaph, Anti Records, Entertainment One, Redeye Worldwide, !K7, Kobalt Music Recordings, [PIAS], Merge, Warp, INgrooves, Hopeless Records, Armada Music, Mad Decent, Eleven Seven Music, Naxos and Curb Records, representing some of the world’s most important and successful artists.

Merlin acts to ensure these companies have effective access to new and emerging revenue streams and that their rights are appropriately valued and protected.

Since commencing operations in May 2008, Merlin has licensed key digital services including SoundCloud, YouTube Red, Spotify, Pandora, Google Play, Deezer, Vevo and KKBOX.

Merlin has reached a number of high-value copyright infringement settlements on behalf of its members with, amongst others, Limewire, XM Satellite Radio and Grooveshark.

Merlin has been selected as the ‘Independent Champion’ at the A2IM Libera Awards for two years running.

Merlin has offices in London, New York, and Tokyo, with a head office in Amsterdam.

With Us

Sign up for our newsletter to receive occasional updates from Merlin.