The boss of indie licensing agency Merlin will step down at the end of 2019. Charles Caldas revealed the news yesterday, having led the organisation since its earliest days in 2007.
It’s an amicable life-choice decision, with plenty of praise for Caldas’ work in its wake. “Merlin and the whole independent community owe Charles a huge debt of thanks for what he has achieved for and with us, without which we’d have a slippery slope instead of a level playing field,” said former chairman Martin Mills, of Beggars Group. “We wish him all the very best in his next venture, which we trust will be musical, and within our universe. Merlin will continue to go from strength to strength, thanks largely to the structure and team that Charles has put in place.”
The news came shortly after Caldas gave a speech at the Indie Week conference in New York, revealing that between April 2018 and March 2019 it paid out $845m to its independent-label members – a record, including more than $130m in ‘non-royalty’ income from settlements and the sale of Merlin’s shares in Spotify. That’s what helped startling year-on-year payouts growth of 63%.
Merlin says it has now paid out more than $2bn to its members, with the second billion coming in the last 18 months alone. Read Merlin’s annual report here, which includes its latest survey of members about their businesses’ growth.