Merlin to Move HQ From Amsterdam to Dublin In 'Internal Restructure'

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LONDON — Independent label organization Merlin is to move its registered headquarters from Amsterdam to Dublin as part of a corporate restructure.

Merlin says that the change of business address will "simplify its operations" but will not impact on the day-to-day running of the indie giant, which has distributed over $2 billion to its members since forming in 2008.

To facilitate the move, Merlin has applied to the Irish High Court to transfer the assets and liabilities of its Dutch company into a new Irish entity, as per EU regulations. The move is expected to be formally completed January 1 2020.

Amsterdam has been the registered headquarters of Merlin since its formation in 2008, although Billboard understands that only a few staff are employed in the Dutch capital. Instead, the vast bulk of its European workforce is based in Merlin’s London offices, which will officially operate as its main European base from the start of next year.

The change of business address will, however, result in the closure of the Amsterdam office and two job losses. Merlin’s Tokyo and New York operations will not be affected.

"Merlin is undergoing an internal re-structuring to simplify its operations," confirmed a spokesperson for the non-profit organization.

"This will not impact the way Merlin works with its members or its music service partners as the current corporate structure will be substantially replicated in the newly incorporated Merlin companies," the spokesperson stated.

One small but significant change resulting from the restructure is that Merlin will "apply a small margin" to future earnings. The company says this would be used to support the "growth of digital capability in the independent recorded music sector."

According to its latest financial report, Merlin paid out $845 million to its members over the 2018/19 financial year, a 63% increase on the previous 12 months. $130 million of that record distribution pay out came from the sale of Spotify shares and various legal settlements. 

Since its launch more than a decade ago, Merlin's membership has grown to more than 900 members, representing more than 20,000 labels and distributors in over 60 countries, which it says collectively accounts for 12% of the global digital recorded music market.

Members include Beggars Group, Domino, Eleven Seven Music Group, Kobalt Label Services/AWAL, Mad Decent, Secretly Group, Sub Pop, and Warp Records.

CEO Charles Caldas is due to step down at the end of the year. His successor will be announced early 2020.