As it approaches its 10th anniversary, Merlin has revealed that it will collect $500m on behalf of its members this year. To put that in context, the indie digital rights body collected $1bn in the first nine years of its existence.
An increase in members (it covers 10,000 labels and imprints in 53 markets) is one factor, but the explosion in digital and the opening up of new markets are the real drivers. For example, CEO Charles Caldas told Billboard that Brazil is now the organisation’s sixth-biggest market globally.
While collections are increasing sharply, Caldas says making sense of the exponentially expanding data tied to that is the next big challenge for Merlin and its members. “It’s very important to have speed and efficiency in reporting what is happening with their music,” he says. “If we can provide informational insights that helps them make better decision, we are adding value.”