Monday 9th August 2010

Grooveshark Settles With Merlin; Signs Landmark Agreement

  • Grooveshark Settles Copyright Infringement Claims With Merlin
  • Signs Deal To Provide Users With Merlin Member Labels’ Repertoire Going Forward
  • Artists including Vampire Weekend, Animal Collective, The XX and Arctic Monkeys now licensed to the service
Music streaming service Grooveshark has settled its dispute with the leading independent music agency Merlin. As a result Grooveshark has agreed to remunerate Merlin for past use of its members’ repertoire and signed a deal that will allow Grooveshark users to legitimately access music from some of the music industry’s most iconic record labels.
With its members’ market share in the US alone reported at around 10%, Merlin provides an invaluable one stop shop for digital music services looking to include independent labels. This settlement, and subsequent deal, is testament to both Merlin’s diligence in protecting its members’ rights and the value of its member label’s repertoire, labels such as Rough Trade, Warp Records, Yep Roc/Red Eye, Epitaph, Naïve, Tommy Boy, One Little Indian, Kontor New Media, Beggars Group, [PIAS] Entertainment Group, !K7, Merge, Domino and Koch/E1.  Their artists include Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, The XX, Neko Case, Spoon, Grizzly Bear, The National, Tom Waits, DJ Khaled, Dorrough, Tiësto, Scooter and many many more.
Grooveshark allows users to access the service without having to download client software. Its basic service is free to the user and is monetised via visual advertising. Alternatively users can opt for a premium paid subscription service and stream unlimited ad-free music.

Recently named the best way to listen to music on the web by Rolling Stone, Grooveshark has more than one million registered users who now stand to benefit from a greatly improved service.

Said Charles Caldas, Merlin CEO: “This is an important deal for Merlin’s members, underlining that Merlin exists both to protect its member labels' content and to help create new legitimate revenue streams. Merlin was established not just to protect its members’ rights, but also to make life easier for services who want to deal fairly with the thousands of independent labels that make up our membership. We wish Grooveshark all the best going forward and hope that this will be an important reminder to other music services looking to launch soon.”
Said Sam Tarantino, Grooveshark CEO, “We are thrilled to be working with Merlin and their extensive roster of artists.  We look forward to working closely with Merlin's affiliated labels to provide new promotional opportunities and expanded fan-bases for their artists.”
About Merlin
Merlin, the virtual fifth major, represents the world's most important set of independent music rights.  Merlin commenced operations in May 2008. Since then it has struck deals with a number of digital services including Spotify, MySpace Music, Sky Songs, Catch Media and Simfy. Merlin seeks to ensure its members have effective access to new and emerging revenue streams and that their rights are appropriately valued and protected.  
Merlin represents by far the largest and most compelling basket of global independent rights in the world, and so offers the most efficient means of licensing this repertoire. Members include Rough Trade, Warp Records, Epitaph, Naïve, Tommy Boy, One Little Indian, Yep Roc/Red Eye, Kontor New Media, Beggars Group, Merge, !K7, PIAS, Domino and Koch/E1.  Their artists include Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, The XX, Neko Case, The National, Tom Waits, Spoon, Grizzly Bear, DJ Khaled, Dorrough, Tiësto, Scooter and many many more.
A global organization, its members’ market share in the US alone is reported at around 10%, equivalent to that of the smaller major labels, whilst in Europe member labels released 72% of the top 60 independent albums released in the past three years and commanded a 11% digital UK market share in 2009. Most recently, streaming service Spotify publicly announced that Merlin repertoire represented over 10% of the usage on its service.