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.The Merlin Team
Member Since 2012
Hopeless Records General Manager
- How are you responding to this global crisis?
Like everyone else we saw all our live events canceled leaving many of our artists in a bad place. Most of our roster is live touring based, so their financial health was an immediate concern. We stepped in with some emergency support, but recognize that the issue is much larger than anything we can solve. We have also launched many extra products to try to help keep everyone afloat in the short term.
We also saw a temporary hit to our streaming as well as issues with physical for a few larger releases. It seems like our streaming is recovering. Physical will be a longer road, but at least we can plan new releases with some knowledge of what is possible in that space.
- What new methods have you employed to market your music?
Probably one of the few silver linings in all of this is that there is now motivation to try some new ideas that maybe seemed too risky, or had some kind of stigma around them before. Some of these ideas will become standard practice in our marketing moving forward and others might just make sense for this moment. There is an incentive to experiment right now which does not come around too often so we would encourage people to try something new.
- We launched a lot of extra merchandise to help fans support the artists and that created a significant amount of support.
- We worked with a very large former artist of ours to do a live watch along of a classic documentary that had not yet been on Youtube. This was part of a larger initiative to roll out lots of previously unreleased content as well as new ‘at home’ live performances.
- We are working with our artists on effective ways to launch membership programs such as Patreon.
- Name one big thing your company is doing this year.
The biggest thing we are doing this year is adapting to this very new climate and helping support our artists and team through it all.
Also Neck Deep’s record out July 24 looks like it has a chance to be top 5 in many parts of the world. Pretty good for a rock band in the middle of a global crisis.
- With the rise of social music, how are you evolving to engage fans and promote your artists?
There has obviously been a real shift from more passive consumption to something more active, which is exciting.
For us the specifics always change but the fundamental need to build a meaningful relationship between artists and fans never does. Our audience is rather young, so we are pretty familiar with needing to adapt to new platforms and trends. We are currently investing significant resources into these more interactive/ UGC based platforms like TikTok and are seeing good results primarily by working with influencers and artists to create engaging content.
- How is Merlin meaningful to you?
Merlin allows independents to be independent and the chance to work with such a high integrity team is very important to us.
As a fully independent company it would be nearly impossible to run our organization the way we do and give our artists the types of opportunities they get without Merlin.
To have control over our digital destiny is a benefit that has few, if any rivals.
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, 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, Yandex and YouTube Music.
Merlin has offices in New York, London and Tokyo.
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