Merlin, the new rights body for the global independent record sector, has formally launched after naming the 15 members of its inaugural board.

It has now been fully incorporated as a commercial organization that will be non-profit and member-owned.

The new board is split equally across Merlin's three operational territories, with five each from North America, Europe and the rest of the world.

The inaugural Merlin board members, who will be in place for two years, are:

North America:
- Kevin Arnold, founder and CEO IODA, U.S.
- Susan Ferris, founder and CEO Long Live Crime Records, U.S.
- Bob Frank, president Koch Records, U.S.
- Tom Silverman, chairman and CEO Tommy Boy Records, U.S.
- (Canadian representative tbc)

Europe:
- Stephan Bourdoiseau, president Wagram Music, France
- Michel Lambot, co-president PIAS Group, Belgium
- Martin Mills, chairman Beggars Group, U.K.
- Hein Van der Ree, managing director Epitaph Europe, Netherlands
- Horst Weidenmueller, CEO !K7, Germany

ROW:
- Mark Kneebone, president Tardus Music, New Zealand
- Clive Hardwick, director, BULA Music, South Africa
- Takashi Kamide, adviser, Columbia Music Entertainment, Japan
- Yongge Shen, founder Zu Shu Entertainment, China
- Eduardo Muszkat, president MCD Entertainment, Brazil

These elected directors join the permanent Merlin directors Alison Wenham, president of the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN), and Merlin CEO Charles Caldas, who is a non-voting board member. Three non-voting observers will be appointed soon to represent each of the three geographical blocks, along with a chairman.

"The global community has delivered to Merlin a fantastic board representing a remarkably broad range of interests," Caldas said in a statement.

Caldas adds, "Combined with Merlin's incorporation, the independents finally have the vehicle to ensure the value of their music be properly recognised and their common interests represented on a global scale. I am confident that the future will show the formation of Merlin as a key moment in rebalancing the business environment for independent labels."

Merlin was unveiled at the Midem trade fair in January to represent the independent sector and help achieve equality with the majors, by ensuring competitive terms for new and emerging media usages of its music.

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