As it reaches its tenth anniversary, indie label repping digital rights agency Merlin has published a report examining the performance of its members’ recording catalogues in the streaming market.
According to the organisation’s findings, independent music is performing strongly with all important premium streaming subscribers. Analysis of half a trillion streams over a four year period by research firm Enders found that independent music enjoys a 25% higher market share on paid streaming accounts versus free.
Given streaming revenues overall continue to grow – and indie labels retain a strong share of premium subscriber consumption – ever increasing monies are flowing through Merlin to its members. The group says that it is has distributed half a billion dollars in the last twelve months, whereas it took nine years for the organisation to generate its first billion dollars. Income has increased twelvefold since 2012.
A total of 68% of Merlin members now report that the majority of their digital income comes from streaming – up from 20% in 2014. The shift to streaming has also resulted in labels generating income from an ever increasing number of markets worldwide, with growth particularly strong in Latin America and Asia. Nearly half of the indie labels surveyed for the report said that the majority of their digital revenues are now non-domestic .
Merlin CEO Charles Caldas adds: “The advent of music streaming has transformed how independent labels operate, and how digital services perceive the value of our rights. Where once we were fragmented, we now act in unison. Where we were treated inequitably, we sit at the head of licensing discussions. Indies are not only thriving in the new market, we are leading it”.
“This situation hasn’t occurred by accident and Merlin has, I believe, played a significant role in our progress”, he goes on. “I certainly hope this impact report provides at least some flavour of what we’ve achieved in the past decade and a trajectory of where we’re heading”.
As for how the streaming market in general and Merlin’s operations in particular have evolved over the last decade, he concludes: “Had you asked any of our founding board members in 2008 whether they’d anticipate Merlin distributing over $500 million per year, or that we’d open new global markets in Latin America, Asia and China, I suspect they’d have laughed you out of the room. But that’s where we are, and what we’re building upon. And most exciting of all, it feels like we’re only getting started”.
Read the full report here. And watch a video here: