The headline from indie licensing agency Merlin’s latest stats announcement is that distributions to its Japanese members are up 200% year-on-year. However, as the agency made clear, that’s partly because it has grown its Japanese membership in the last year, and thus the payouts are bigger. “The rest can be attributed to average payments to members increasing by over 70% during the same period,” explained Merlin.

The announcement came as CEO Charles Caldas gave a speech on ‘global growth’ at the Tokyo International Music Market conference this morning. “Opening our Tokyo office in 2016 was a landmark in the global growth of Merlin. As well as being the world’s second largest music market, Japan has a thriving music culture with huge export potential. Our data underlines that Merlin is helping our Japanese members extract maximum value from the global demand for their repertoire,” said Caldas, while praising Merlin’s Tokyo staff Haji Taniguchi and Kaoruko Hill for their work driving membership and distributions there. “These are still early days for streaming in our country. Indicated by the trends in Merlin’s 2018 Impact Report, the full benefits of a global digital music market are arguably still yet to come,” said Taniguchi.

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