Merlin, the global rights agency for the independent label sector, has hired former Warner Music Group executive Roger Gold to assist commercial and licensing activities in the United States. The recorded music rights represented by Merlin account for more than 10% of the U.S. digital market.
Gold started acting as an advisor last week and will continue to have other business interests outside of Merlin. He will work alongside Merlin CEO Charles Caldas and Head of Business Affairs Charlie Lexton.
Gold arrives at Merlin after 17 years at Warner Music Group. After a decade as a senior member of Warner’s legal and business affairs team, Gold moved into operations and management and pioneered Warner’s move into the 360, or multi-rights, and direct-to-consumer businesses. Gold helped establish the Independent Label Group that launched in 2006. Among ILG’s many successes was Warner’s original deal with John Janick’s Fueled by Ramen label.
Charles Caldas, Merlin CEO said in a statement that Gold’s experience with the U.S. market will be significant for Merlin. “With so much of our activity focused on the emergence of new US-based platforms, Roger’s experience will be a hugely valuable asset for Merlin and its members.”
Having a person on the ground in the United States will help Merlin, Gold tells Billboard. “I think that in terms of my own experience and relationships in this space, it would be helpful for me to be involved in supporting Merlin with strategic advice about approaching the services.”
The current explosion in legal digital services, from YouTube to subscription services, means independent labels have an opportunity to reach a larger audience, Gold adds. “It’s great to see so many types of services for consumers. New models are entering and they’re starting to get real traction. I think it bodes well for the business overall. It’s a good thing for independent record labels and all record labels, right owners and artists. There’s a business and a market that’s legal and robust.”