Merlin has hired Ryan McWhinnie as director of legal and business affairs, a newly-created position at the indie-centric global rights agency. The appointment follows the early-August announcement of Merlin's partnership with Pandora, giving the internet radio giant its first direct deal with record labels in the U.S.
McWhinnie will be based in the agency's London office and will report to Charlie Lexton, Merlin's head of business affairs. Merlin's CEO Charles Caldas signaled the need for an amped-up legal department. "[McWhinnie's] joining significantly increases Merlin's deal-making capacity and will allow us to deliver even greater efficiencies and value to our members," he said.
Those deals already include licensing partnerships with major digital musical services including Beats Music, Deezer, rara, Rdio and Spotify.
McWhinnie comes to Merlin from media and entertainment law firm Harbottle & Lewis LLP. He previously worked at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, and he has experience advising members of the music sector, including rara and sound halo.