Spotify and independent label organization Merlin have agreed to a multi-year licensing agreement that ensures an uninterrupted flow of music from non-majors to the music streaming leader, plus extends to Merlin members the same flexible release option that was core to a recent deal with Universal Music Group.
Merlin represents over 20,000 indie labels, who collectively make up roughly 12 percent of the global digital music market. The deal will give Merlin's members, including Beggars Group, Domino, Epitaph/Anti, Kobalt Music Recordings, Secretly Group, Sub Pop and many others, improved access to data and marketing opportunities going forward.
Unsurprisingly, Spotify's new "flexible release policy" -- coined earlier this month with UMG's landmark pact (more on that here) -- is also part of the deal. That policy gives Merlin's label partners the ability to make new albums available only on the service's premium (paid) tier for the first two weeks after release. After that, albums are made accessible to free tier users.