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News June 19, 2019

Charles Caldas stepping down as Merlin CEO

Senior Journalist, B2B
Charles Caldas stepping down as Merlin CEO

Charles Caldas is stepping down as CEO of global rights agency Merlin at the end of the year.

He describes the decision as a life choice, having relocated to UK from Australia in 2007 and opening the agency a year later

He was previously general manager of Shock Records, based in Melbourne.

Caldas’ 12 years at the helm has seen Merlin grow remarkably.

His decision comes just as Merlin announced it has distributed over US$2 billion since launch.

Merlin noted it took nine years to distribute its first billion dollars, but only 18 months to distribute its second.

This week the organisation revealed a 63% year-on-year increase in member payments (April 2018 – March 2019) to $845 million in its 2019 Membership Report & Survey.

Under his watch, Merlin grew into a global organisation with offices in Amsterdam, London, New York and Tokyo.

It now represents over 850 members from 63 countries around the globe – including Australia – who collectively command over 12% of the world’s digital music market.

“Having the chance to contribute to taking Merlin from a raw idea hatched by a few indie visionaries to the fast-growing global enterprise it is today has truly been a privilege,” Caldas said.

“What we have all achieved over the past 12 years is remarkable, and the revenues we are now generating were unthinkable back in 2007.

“This has easily been the most rewarding work of my life, and for that opportunity I thank our members, our board, and especially my incredible team for their support.

“I am extremely proud to have represented them and am confident that Merlin’s dynamic, market-leading membership of true independents face a very bright future.”

Merlin chairman Dave Hansen paid tribute; “Over the past 12 years, Charles in his role as the CEO of Merlin changed everything for independents.

“His vision, leadership and hard work helped Merlin forge a path towards true independence for all of our members.

“Charles has built a great foundation with an amazing team and Merlin will continue to be strong in the future.

“We wish Charles great success and happiness as he moves onto his next chapter at the end of this year.”

Under Caldas, Merlin struck landmark deals with 25 major digital music platforms, including Spotify, YouTube, Deezer, SoundCloud, Pandora and Facebook.

There were also a series of strategic non-exclusive licensing partnerships in China with NetEase Cloud Music, Ali Music Group and Tencent Music Entertainment.

Merlin additionally returned significant revenues to the independent sector via several successful copyright infringement actions, the Warner Music/Parlophone divestment agreement and the sale of Merlin’s shares in Spotify.

Caldas received IMPALA’s annual outstanding contribution award in 2013.

He also ranked in multiple Billboard and Variety power lists through the years.


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