Amid his last few months serving as Merlin CEO, Charles Caldas has been awarded the Independent of the Year honor from STOMP, the Dutch trade association for independent labels.
Caldas, who has helmed the indie sector’s global digital rights licensing agency for 12 years, announced in June that he plans to step down at the end of 2019. During his tenure, Merlin has grown to embody more than 20,000 independent record labels and distributors from 66 countries including Domino, Epitaph, Beggars Group and more.
“Charles has played a significant role in the evolution of the record industry from physical to digital products, from the outset,” said Kees van Weijen, president of STOMP and IMPALA, the European music label and publisher trade association. “Especially by defending independent label rights and striving for a same level playing field, Charles has been of great value. Led by Charles, the independent music sector now has a big market share in the digital world.”
The STOMP Board elaborated on Caldas’ successes during his 12 years as CEO in a statement, noting that as the music industry has embraced streaming, Caldas has spearheaded licensing deals with more than 25 digital services including Spotify, YouTube Music, Facebook, Deezer and Tencent.
“It’s a true honor to receive this award from STOMP, who have been such great supporters of Merlin from the very early days,” commented Caldas, “and such an important force in advocating for and educating Dutch independents in this ever-changing market.”
Merlin is also a three-time winner of the A2IM Libera Awards’ Independent Champion honor (in 2015, 2016 and 2018). And at the AIM Independent Music Awards in September, Caldas received the Indie Champion award.