Feed Media Group has signed a deal with Merlin, connecting its product Adaptr to Merlin’s catalogue. It follows a similar deal that was signed with Warner Music Group in January. Adaptr gives emerging-to-mid-stage startups (that have raised under $7.5m and earned less than $4.5m in revenue) access to licensed music – and this deal now adds in Merlin’s members too.

“Adatpr solves a key problem our industry faces – ensuring that innovators have easy access to properly licensed music for their startups,” said Charlie Lexton, COO of Merlin.

That problem – dealing with traditionally labyrinthine licensing agreements – is the basis of a common cri de coeur from startups, particularly smaller ones. Many have expressed deep frustration at the laborious and expensive nature of licensing, especially compared to the – *sigh* – move-fast-and-break-things business of creating innovative platforms; which is often a case of stacking existing tech layers into an experimental service, and then quickly deploying, testing and revising.

When we last spoke to major labels WMG and UMG about this, they were keen to explain that they had heard the startups’ pleas and were finding ways of offering cheap, fast, experimental access to catalogue. Adaptr has lower price points for bedroom app coders who want to try things out – a package allowing 1000 streams a month costs $99 (a price that may still raise eyebrows among those uninitiated in music licensing.) For bigger teams, it allows testing and deployment of licensed music apps at scale (10,000 streams costs $999 per month).

It’ll be interesting to see how will the tech world – used to paying for the various monthly platforms that allow them to build stuff – reacts to a monthly plug-and-play licensing platform, and if it helps get new products to market faster.

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