4 September 2009

WORLD’S LEADING INDEPENDENTS ELECT NEW MERLIN BOARD

Following recent elections amongst its membership, Merlin - the global licensing agency representing the world’s most commercially important basket of independent music rights – today unveils its new board.

Having completed their two-year term and overseen the transition of Merlin from an ambitious idea into the vital global force for independents that it is today, the agency’s inaugural board will now step down. They are replaced with a board that includes some members of the inaugural board, plus new faces from across the global music business.

Since launching for operation in late April 2008, Merlin has worked to protect the value of its members’ repertoire against infringements. It has been outspoken in its criticism of ventures that it feels devalue independent rights, such as the major-label led MySpace Music, and has struck a host of international digital deals for its members with companies including Spotify, Catch Media, MUZU.TV and i-Mesh, with a number of other deals in the pipeline and soon to be announced.

To ensure the agency fully represents the varied geographical needs of the independent sector, the new board maintains the broadest possible territorial representation, split across Merlin’s three operational territories, being North America, Europe and the rest of the world

The new board members, as voted for by Merlin members in the recent election are:

North America:

USA:
· Bob Frank, Merlin Chairman
· Josh Wittman, Red Eye/Yep Roc Records
· Steve Savoca, Domino Records USA
· Thomas Silverman, Tommy Boy Records

Canada:
· Geoff Kulawick, IDLA


Europe:

· Hein Van Der Ree, Epitaph Records Europe, Netherlands
· Horst Weidenmueller, !K7, Germany
· Martin Mills, Beggars Group, UK
· Michel Lambot, [PIAS] Group, Belgium
· Thomas Lorain, Naïve, France

Rest Of The World:

· Colin Daniels, Inertia, Australia
· Marcus Seal, Shock Entertainment Group, Australia
· Hilton Roth, African Dope, South Africa
· Plus the current WIN President, Alison Wenham


In addition, 5 non-voting observer members have been appointed from the unsuccessful candidates in the election as follows:

North America:

· Peter Wright, Virtual Label, USA
· Susan Ferris, Long Live Crime, USA


Europe:

· Florian Von Hoyer, Galileo MC Spain
· Michael Pohl, Kontor New Media, Germany



Rest Of the World.

· Takashi Kamide, Musicmind, Japan

Said Charles Caldas, Merlin CEO “Merlin’s inaugural board members have shown an extraordinary amount of energy, passion and dedication in working to establish Merlin as a virtual fifth major, and it has been a privilege to work with them over the past two years.

This new board includes some of these founding members of Merlin and incorporates some remarkable new additions, giving Merlin the benefit of some of the best talent in the global music business with a huge range of skills and interests. Merlin’s members are truly fortunate to have such a strong group of people representing their interests as we navigate this ever-changing landscape”

The board is appointed for a two-year term, at which point all board members will again step down to be replaced by a new board, as elected by the members.

Alongside the high-profile companies represented by the board members, Merlin’s members also include the world’s leading independents such as Ministry of Sound, Warp, Curb, Dramatico, Saddle Creek, KOCH/E1, Kontor, and Finetunes.

Together, Merlin’s members represent over 9% of the US digital market. In a recent posting on their blog, Spotify confirmed the importance and value of the Merlin offering by revealing that Merlin’s members’ repertoire represented over 10% of the overall usage on the service.

Artists signed to Merlin member labels include Adele, Animal Collective, Arctic Monkeys, Bjork, DJ Khaled, Katie Melua, Franz Ferdinand, Maxïmo Park, Tom Waits, Vampire Weekend and The White Stripes.



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