Merlin, the independent’s digital music licensing partner valued for its member-first philosophy, is proud to announce a series of strategic hires over the last several months. These additions to the Merlin team further strengthen the company’s commitment to providing exceptional service to its members and ensuring that they are supported with best-in-class people, processes, and tools to make the most of Merlin’s digital partnerships with platforms such as Apple, Deezer, Meta, Peloton, Snap, SoundCloud, Spotify, TikTok, Twitch, YouTube, and numerous others.
Carol Zuma-Hall, an experienced Financial Controller, has joined Merlin, bringing a wealth of finance expertise and industry experience from her previous roles at Platoon, The Orchard, and Proper Music. She will oversee Merlin’s technical accounting and compliance related finance activities, as well as deliver on automation and process efficiency projects.
Adam Wright, Chief Financial Officer shared, “Carol’s arrival at Merlin marks a significant step in the evolution of our Finance team. Her diverse background and innovative approach will help us keep pace with the way we operate in an ever-changing digital music landscape. Carol’s understanding of industry dynamics and her ability to transform complex financial plans into action will play a crucial role in driving Merlin’s growth and enhancing value for our members.”
As Merlin’s new Director, Insights, Martin Vovk will work closely with the senior executive team to manage insights communication strategies. Having served for 12 years at Sony Music, Vovk’s wealth of expertise will be vital in performing in-depth data analysis across various platforms, providing actionable insights, and staying abreast of industry trends.
Gary Watson, who has a long track record of delivering on technical projects, has been consulting with Merlin since 2022 as a Technical Project Manager. He has now joined Merlin full time in the role of Director, Data Operations. His expanded responsibilities include managing data flows, data visualization projects, and providing support to Merlin’s Reporting and Insights capabilities.
Maria Lavric, appointed as Manager, Data Operations, will report into Watson. Lavric’s role involves managing non-financial trends data, integrating DSP trends reporting, and working closely internally and with members to disseminate this data.
Matthew Price, joining as a Data Engineer, will play a crucial role in enhancing and developing Merlin’s Data Lake, which processes nearly 1 billion rows of data daily. Price will utilize modern data processing technologies to facilitate insights about music streaming trends.
Joining the Merlin team as a Paralegal, Emillia Walsh will be pivotal in managing copyright infringement claims, maintaining contracts databases, and supporting departmental administration, to overall enhance Merlin’s legal and operational structure.
Molly Kempen, as the new Royalty Reporting Coordinator, will be responsible for processing and reviewing royalty statements, ensuring their accurate and timely delivery, and liaising with technical teams to optimize royalty processes.
“The expansion of our multi disciplinary data analytics team this year is a testament to Merlin’s ongoing commitment to delivering value,” said Charlie Lexton, Merlin’s COO. “Each new Merliner brings a unique set of skills that are instrumental in our evolution. We are excited to see their contributions enhance our operations, improve our data capabilities, and further strengthen our relationships with Merlin’s global membership and digital partners.”
Simon Stride, who joined Merlin last year as a Development Manager, will oversee the planning, execution, and delivery of software projects. Simon will also mentor and lead a team of developers, fostering a collaborative and innovative work environment to achieve project success.
Chaida Kapfunde, Senior Director, Technology and Business Solutions, said, “Simon Stride’s addition to our team has already proven to be a valuable asset in enhancing our technological capabilities. His extensive knowledge in development and project management is instrumental in delivering on excellence, and ensuring we are aligned with the evolving needs of our members and the industry.”
Alice Moss joins as Senior Manager, Member Operations, after a notable tenure at SoundCloud. Moss’s role will focus on deepening Merlin’s resources to address operational issues between members and digital partners, managing day-to-day support of Merlin’s members, and collaborating with digital partners to maximize the value of Merlin partnerships.
Finally, Mariah Mu and Ben Sperling (the latter a former Merlin intern) have joined as Coordinators on the Member & Partner Success team. As the Merlin’s sole employee headquartered in Bangkok, Mu is the first point of contact for members and prospective member companies based in the SEA region. Meanwhile, Sperling brings expertise in streamlining communications and fostering strong relationships with members and partners to enhance their engagement and maximize the benefits of their Merlin partnerships.
“The integration of Alice, Mariah, and Ben into our Member & Partner Success team marks a significant enhancement in our capability to serve our members effectively,” said Jim Mahoney, SVP, Member & Partner Success. “Alice’s experience, coupled with Mariah’s knowledge of the digital and Southeast Asian marketplace and Ben’s keen approach to process improvement and communications, creates a dynamic synergy. This team embodies our commitment to excellence, ensuring that each member and partner experiences the full benefit of Merlin’s expansive network and resources.”
Merlin remains committed to enhancing its services, leveraging data and insights, and nurturing its strong partnerships within the music industry. These new team members bring a broad range of skills and experiences to Merlin, strengthening the company’s ability to serve its global membership, and ensuring Merlin members can maximize the value of their high quality music.
Merlin is the independent’s digital music licensing partner. We’ve negotiated premium deals with Apple, Facebook, Spotify, TikTok, YouTube, and 40 other innovative platforms around the world. Our global membership is from 68 countries around the world, representing 15% of the recorded music market. We are independent record labels, distributors, label services companies, and other rightsholders. Merlin operates for the benefit of its members, without investors looking for an exit, and is funded entirely by our low 1.5% admin fee. Merlin helps the world’s leading independents to own their digital business through world-class deals and white-glove support.
Merlin’s membership includes independents such as !K7, Armada Music, AudioSalad, Because Music, Beggars Group, Better Noise, CD Baby and Downtown Music (including FUGA), Cinq Music Group, Curb Records, Domino, Epitaph Records, Fluxus, Freeme Digital, IDOL, Kompakt, Kontor New Media, Lex Records, Mad Decent, MNRK Music Group, Mushroom Music, Ninja Tune, [PIAS], Polyvinyl, Pony Canyon, Redeye, Reservoir Media, Secret City, Secretly, Stones Throw, Symphonic Distribution, Sub Pop, Vydia, Wagram Music, Warp Records, and hundreds more.
Find out more at www.merlinnetwork.org
The Press House