Indie licensing body Merlin collected $70m from streaming music services on behalf of its members last year, and expects to “easily” surpass $100m in 2014 according to CEO Charles Caldas. But in an op-ed piece for Billboard yesterday, Caldas returned to what looks like a key theme for Merlin this year: what he sees as unfair market-share calculations in the streaming world, which are selling independent labels short. Caldas talked about this publicly last year too: it revolves around Nielsen’s calculations in the US of market share based on ‘distribution’ rather than ownership of recordings – meaning majors’ market shares are boosted by their stakes in or ownership of indie distribution companies. “If these figures are being used to negotiate equity stakes, guarantees and other non-royalty benefits from new services, as we believe they are, it’s no wonder UMG and the other majors have been so quick to launch or acquire independent distribution businesses over recent years,” wrote Caldas. “Going forward, this is an increasingly pressing issue for the independent sector, and something we believe should be prominent in independent labels’ minds when considering distribution arrangements.”

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