Merlin Strikes Licensing Deal with YouTube

Independents’ global rights agency Merlin has agreed a global licensing deal with YouTube. The agreement unlocks revenues to Merlin’s member labels whenever their official releases, or user-generated videos featuring their repertoire, are played via the YouTube service.

The deal, which commences immediately, gives music fans the green light to use repertoire spanning the best and brightest labels of the independent sector including Earache, Secretly Canadian, Ninja Tune, Cooking Vinyl, Warp, Phonofile, Pschent, Morr Music, !K7 and Inertia. Amongst the thousands of artists covered under the deal, Antony and the Johnsons, Aphex Twin, The Prodigy, Roots Manuva, Jamie Lidell, Grizzly Bear, Yeasayer, Suuns and Boards of Canada are some of the more prominent acts whose videos can now be accessed on the YouTube service.

Coming after a long negotiation, the agreement underscores YouTube’s commitment to the independent music sector as well as Merlin’s determination to secure competitive terms on behalf of its members. It enables the virtual fifth major’s many member labels that have not yet licensed YouTube to harness revenues on what has become an important music destination.

The deal comes at a time when independent music is enjoying unprecedented success on digital services – illustrating that in a market with limitless choice and free of tightly controlled shop windows, fans are increasingly consuming independent music.1
 Said Merlin CEO, Charles Caldas, “We are very pleased to reach an agreement which will allow YouTube’s users to enjoy access to the many amazing artists that our labels represent.”

Chris Maxcy, Head of Global Music Partnerships at YouTube, commented, “We’re continually looking for new ways to connect independent artists with their fans and we’re thrilled to have struck a deal with Merlin that will help us do just that, while compensating them for their efforts at the same time.”

1 Nielsen statistics for both 2010 and 2009 reveal that the US album market share for independents is 57% greater for digital as compared to physical sales. Furthermore, on streaming and subscription services, Merlin members? usage shares are up to 25% higher on paid for tiers than on free or ad-funded ones. This suggests that users who pay for subscription services – serious music fans by definition – are even more likely to be found listening to independent music. Visit for more information.


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