The Brag Media
News October 27, 2015

Pandora forms alliance with global indie rights agency Merlin

Former Editor

Merlin, the global independent rights agency and Pandora, the leading Internet radio service have formed an alliance, marking the first direct deal Pandora has inked with record labels.

The partnership will combine the 10% of the music market that Merlin’s members command (20,000 independent record labels and distributors), with Pandora’s 77 million monthly listeners. The deal aims to aid independent labels and artists in growing their audience reach and royalty revenues through Pandora.

Fees will be negotiated directly with Merlin and its members, however they won’t be paying the licensing rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB). Pandora will instead pay artists through digital performing rights organisation SoundExchange.

Charles Caldas, CEO of Merlin said: “For the thousands of labels Merlin represents, this agreement with Pandora provides a real best of both worlds scenario: a hugely important opportunity to increase our members’ revenues and access unparalleled opportunities for exposure, whilst continuing to support a collective licensing framework.”

The agreement offers Merlin’s labels and artists direct access to metadata and analytics, enabling them to make data-backed decisions on tour schedules, setlists and even support artists. Pandora will also offer Merlin members the opportunity to engage directly with their fans through customised communication channels.

Pandora’s Founder Tim Westergren said, “We are deeply committed to harnessing the great potential of internet radio to help musicians of all career stages build their audiences. Independent music has always held a special place at Pandora. These are hardworking artists – many of whom have never received promotion or airtime on terrestrial radio – and their music deserves to be heard.”

The news follows the recent mass signing of the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN)’s Fair Digital Deals Declaration, where the independent sector directly responded to YouTube’s unfair, non-negotiable licensing contract terms for its forthcoming subscription service.


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