Indies See Hope In Merlin's Power

GLOBAL INDIE (Hypebot) – 12,000 JOIN THE GLOBAL RIGHT GROUP

Merlin appears to be on track to become the global rights body of choice for independent labels and distributors. In its first month accepting general membership, more than 12,000 labels have joined giving it control of the most significant bundle of music rights outside the four majors label groups.

Many of Merlin's members come via major aggregator distributors including IODA, PIAS Digital, Finetunes, Kontor, Red Eye, Kudos, State 51 and Shock. Hundreds of labels have joined directly as well.

In the US labels include Concord, Razor and Tie, Saddle Creek and Epitaph. In the UK Beggars Group, Domino, Warp, Cooking Vinyl and Kitchenware are among those that hav joined. Elsewhere in the EU member include, the PIAS Group (the largest pan-European indie), Wagram, Nave, SPV, Ministry of Sound Germany, Edel/Kontor, Aggro Berlin and Naidoo Records. Canada's Nettwerk and True North and Australia's Inertia and Shock are all seeking protection under Merlin's cloak.

COMMENTARY: With its collective clout, Merlin may be the indies' best hope for a fair share of revenue from a growing number of new music services. They say re currently in discussions with many of them including MySpace Music.

A little over a year since its founding, however, Merlin has not announced any deals on behalf on the indies it represents. In contrast, three of the four majors have an equity position in MySpace Music. Many also already receive revenue from YouTube, imeem and other Music 2.0 sites. Time is not on Merlin's side.

12,000 indies have given them a clear mandate and now is the time to assert it.

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