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STREAMING WORKS MAGIC FOR INDIE LABELS

A report from global independent digital rights body Merlin reveals that member labels have a higher marketshare on paid streaming tiers vs. free and a significant amount of revenues coming from territories that were once worth naught.

More than two-thirds (68%) of Merlin’s members report that audio streaming currently accounts for the majority of their digital revenues—a marked rise on the 20% that said that was the case in 2014.

Additionally, an analysis of over 500b streams between 2014 and 2018 shows that Merlin’s member repertoire performs more than 25% better in marketshare terms on paid streaming subscription tiers vs. free tiers.

Forty-two percent of members say that over half their digital revenues originate from consumption outside their home territory—significantly more than the 18% that say that is so for physical sales. 

“The advent of music streaming has transformed how independent labels operate, and how digital services perceive the value of our rights,” said Merlin CEO Charles Caldas (pictured). “Where once we were fragmented, we now act in unison. Where we were treated inequitably, we sit at the head of licensing discussions. Indies are not only thriving in the new market, we are leading it."

Merlin, which is celebrating a decade in existence, announced that it has distributed $500m to its 20,000 independent label members for the last 12 months alone. Between 2008 and 2017, it delivered $1b in payouts.

In the space of three years (April 2015 compared with April 2018), revenues received by Merlin from Asian markets have increased almost eightfold. Over the same period, revenues received from Latin America have increased more than tenfold.

There’s more reason for optimism: 74% of members said their total business increased in 2017—up from 66% in 2016. Meanwhile, 78% of Merlin members reported they were optimistic about the future of their business.

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