Merlin signs new Spotify licensing deal
By Andy Malt | Published on Friday 21 April 2017
Following on from Universal Music earlier this month, indie label repping digital rights agency Merlin has done a new licensing deal with Spotify. Like with the major’s new arrangement, it offers the opportunity for Merlin-allied labels to window releases off the streaming service’s free tier.
Representing thousands of independents, including the likes of Beggars Group, Domino, [PIAS], Sub Pop and Warp, Merlin is Spotify’s fourth largest content partner, after the three majors. As well as getting in on all the windowing fun, under the new deal the indies will also get “improved marketing and advertising opportunities” and “enhanced access to data”.
Getting all excited about this new arrangement yesterday, Spotify boss Daniel Ek tweeted: “Indie music has been a huge part of our success since day one and I am super happy to say we have a new, multi-year deal [with Merlin]”.
Merlin CEO Charles Caldas echoed this, saying: “Merlin was a launch partner to Spotify back in 2008, and our partnership has thrived ever since. This new agreement lays the path to future sustainable growth for us both, and we look forward to remaining an integral part in the service’s continued success”.
Beggars boss and Merlin chair Martin Mills added: “I’m delighted that Merlin has reached this new agreement with Spotify. We’ve been great partners for each other, and this updated arrangement allows independents in the Merlin community the comfort of knowing they have a highly competitive deal and parity of access to the service, whilst creating a commercial environment in which Spotify can grow to the benefit of all of us”.
Spotify, of course, has been busy for sometime trying to secure new multi-year deals with all the rights owners, providing the security it needs to march on to IPO. All sides have been playing hardball, with one of Spotify’s big concessions being windowing – allowing labels to restrict new releases to only premium Spotify subscribers for up to a fortnight.
Labels hope windowing will make premium streaming – where all the money is made – more attractive to consumers. It also placates a little those artists who don’t like the idea of people getting their brand new music for free. Some sort of windowing system in streaming has seemed inevitable for sometime; now we just need Sony and Warner to fall in line and sign their new Spotify deals, and then we can see who decides first that windowing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and abandons the whole idea.