Merlin, th Virtual Fifth Major, To Join Spotify At Launch

In News by Merlin Team

October 7, 2008: MERLIN, the recently-formed independent global rights agency, whose membership comprises the largest basket of rights outside the four major labels, today announced a landmark agreement with the newly launched Spotify digital music service, which has recognised the importance of independent music to its service.

Spotify offers instant access to a world of music that its users will be able to listen to without restriction, include in playlists they create and share with each other, and explore through a wide range of discovery and social features. The music will be accompanied by biographies and reviews as well as additional revenue generating opportunities for artists including merchandise and music downloads. The technology behind Spotify enables on-demand streaming of music content, offering an unparalleled user experience and allowing music to take centre stage. Spotify will be marketed as a premium product, paid for by subscriptions, alongside a free version, paid for by advertising.

Charles Caldas, CEO of Merlin comments: “We are genuinely excited at the fantastic quality and attention to detail behind the Spotify service and at the innovative business opportunity for our members. We are equally pleased that Spotify quickly recognized the true value that Merlin has brought to the market.”

Daniel Ek, founder and CEO at Spotify says: “For Spotify, it was vital to ensure our customers had the widest possible choice of repertoire from the day of launch. Merlin’s global reach and the incredible strength of repertoire allowed us to have immediate access to the world’s most valuable independent labels and artists via a single avenue.”

Spotify launches today in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Finland and Sweden. Throughout the remainder of this year and into 2009 Spotify will be rolled out to further markets. Spotify will be marketed both as a premium monthly subscription service and a version which is free for consumers to user and supported by advertising. Consumers will also have the option to purchase a day pass that gives access to Spotify without advertising. Advertisers that have signed up to be included from the launch include Ford, T-Mobile and Xbox.

About Spotify

Spotify is an innovative digital music service offering music fans instant access to a world of music. Spotify enables on-demand streaming of audio content and aim to combat music piracy by offering a superior user experience, while monetising licensed content with both an ad-supported, free-to-the-user model and a premium, paid model. Spotify brings fans closer to the music and artists they love, and provides a marketplace for additional products such as live events, music downloads and more.

About Merlin

Merlin, the virtual fifth major, represents the world’s most important set of independent music rights. Merlin commenced operations in May 2008. Since then it has struck deals with a number of digital services including Spotify, Catch Media and i-Mesh.

Merlin offers rights users the opportunity to license collectively the individually unlicensable by creating a single point of contact for those wishing to license from the vast global output of the independent sector.

It ensures members have effective access to new and emerging revenue streams and that their rights are properly protected. Merlin represents by far the largest and most compelling basket of global independent rights, and so offers the most efficient means of licensing this repertoire.

A global organisation, its members’ market share in the US alone is over 9%, equivalent to that of the smaller major labels, whilst in Europe member labels released 72% of the top 60 independent albums released in the past three years and commanded a 75% UK market share of the top 75 independent albums in 2007. Most recently, streaming service Spotify publicly announced that Merlin repertoire represented 10% of the usage on its service.

“For Spotify, it was vital to ensure our customers had the widest possible choice of repertoire from the day of launch. Merlin’s global reach and the incredible strength of repertoire allowed us to have immediate access to the world’s most valuable independent labels and artists via a single avenue.”

Daniel Ek, founder and CEO at Spotify

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