Merlin, the global rights agency for the independent music sector, says it collected $89 million from digital music services for its members in the year ended April 30, 2014. The figure is double the amount that it had collected in the prior year and, moreover, Merlin projects that the current year's revenue will nearly double again, to exceed $160 million.
Merlin's revenue comes from licensing contracts it negotiates on behalf of its members. Currently, Merlin is involved in negotiations on behalf of its members with YouTube about its proposed premium service. While Merlin will not comment on that situation, other indie groups, including A2IM, WIN and Impala have -- or are about to -- reach out to regulatory bodies to investigate Youtube's business negotiations on the service.
Merlin’s membership totals over 20,000 independent record labels and distributors, and the industry group conducted a survey of its members and shared its findings today at the A2IM convention in New York.
“The Merlin member survey provides a unique and illuminating snapshot of how independent labels are leading the way in the transformation of the global music market," Merlin CEO Charles Caldas said in a statement.
Through data collected from its member companies, Merlin says that its members' music on streaming services outperforms the wider digital market. In another observation, Merlin notes that its members' share of pro-rata plays on premium (paid) streaming services are 30% higher than on free-to-the-consumer services.