Merlin Connect: An indie-centric initiative for Merlin’s members to experiment with the next generation of emerging technology platforms

The initiative will make music licensing more accessible to a select group of promising emerging technology platforms

London, UK, 6th June 2024 Merlin, the independent’s digital music licensing partner, is excited to announce Merlin Connect, an innovative solution for emerging technology platforms to access quality independent music. The initiative will make music licensing more accessible to a select group of promising emerging technology platforms by delivering fully cleared, quality music. Our aim is to find and empower the next generation of music monetization opportunities for Merlin’s membership of independent record labels, distributors, and other rights holders.

Music licensing remains a prohibitive challenge for most emerging technology platforms. The majority of technology companies that attempt to license quality music find the process challenging, time consuming, and expensive. That means very few platforms have the opportunity to experiment and learn how quality music can have a positive impact on their users and change the trajectory of their growth. This initiative provides a uniquely flexible option for emerging platforms to integrate music, especially in their early phases of growth.

“As one of the founders of Merlin, I’ve had the opportunity to support the incredible growth of our organization from its inception to now,” said Horst Weidenmüller, Founder of !K7. “Merlin has always been dedicated to empowering independence, ensuring that its members receive the access and opportunities they deserve. With the launch of Merlin Connect, we are taking a significant step forward in this mission. This initiative underscores Merlin’s ongoing dedication to fostering innovation in the independent music sector.”

Like all Merlin partnerships, Merlin Connect will provide its members with a fair valuation for their music, unique marketing opportunities, and the ability to develop relationships with a new generation of emerging platforms at the ground level. At the same time, Merlin Connect offers emerging platforms access to quality independent music, a unique approach to reduce the operational lift, and the opportunity for mutually beneficial collaborations. Merlin will work proactively with its approved partners to maximize the impact of music on their platform.

“The industry has been in need of an easier way for new platforms to access high-quality music and, in turn, foster growth for quite some time,” said Marie Clausen, Managing Director North America, Ninja Tune. “I am excited to see the Merlin team taking such a visionary approach to exploring new business opportunities. It’s a crucial step to ensure that new commercial opportunities have the best chance to succeed and diversify and secure new income streams for Merlin’s members. From an independent point of view, this initiative is excellent news – especially given the current market challenges!”

Merlin Connect is only available to emerging technology platforms via an application process. Every application will be reviewed, and then the Merlin team will selectively engage with the most promising platforms. The focus is on a platform’s capacity for innovation and evolution, the strength of their leadership, and the resilience of their team. Merlin, its members, and select artists are excited to work with a new generation of platforms to build a sustainable, ethical, and indie-centric music industry.

“Hopeless is a passionate and longtime supporter of Merlin and its mission to ensure the fair value of music for the independent music community,” said Louis Posen, Founder of Hopeless Records. “With Connect, Merlin can now expand the reach of members’ music into new areas where music fans interact with the music they love. We are excited to see Merlin Connect open new doors for our artists and bring their music to innovative platforms around the world.”

“Merlin strives to deliver unique and exclusive partnerships that derive from an indie-centric approach,” says Jeremy Sirota, CEO of Merlin. “Merlin Connect is our commitment to finding and unlocking new opportunities for our members in a disruptive industry. Our audacious goal is to partner with the next suite of platforms that shape the future of music monetization for Merlin’s members. We want our independent members and their artists to sit at the forefront of music and technology.”


About Merlin

Merlin is the independent’s digital music licensing partner. Our global membership is from 70+ countries around the world, representing 15% of the recorded music market. We are independent record labels, distributors, label services companies, and other rightsholders. Merlin operates for the benefit of its members, without investors looking for an exit, and is funded entirely by our low 1.5% admin fee. Merlin helps the world’s leading independents to own their digital business through world-class deals and white-glove support.

Merlin’s membership includes independents such as !K7, Armada Music, Better Noise, CD Baby and Downtown Music (including FUGA), Cinq Music Group, Curb Records, Domino, Encore Recordings, Epitaph Records, Exceleration, Fluxus, Freeme Digital, Hopeless Records, IDOL, Kompakt, Kontor New Media, Lex Records, Mad Decent, Mills Records, MNRK Music Group, Mushroom Music, Ninja Tune, Redeye, Reservoir Media, Secret City, Secretly, Stones Throw, Symphonic Distribution, Sub Pop, Vydia, Wagram Music, Warp Records, and hundreds more.

Merlin has deals with partners like Apple, Audiomack, Boomplay, Canva, Deezer, FLO, JioSaavn, JOOX, Meta, NetEase, Pandora, Peloton, Snap, SoundCloud, Spotify, Supernatural, Tencent, TikTok, TREBEL, Twitch, YouTube Music, and many other global, regional and innovative partners, as well as being in conversations with dozens more.

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Merlin provides independents the means to own their future. We are a member led, music focused organization. We provide digital music licensing for the leading independents across the globe.