Record Business Geniuses: MERLIN Sells Out All Indie Labels.

MERLIN is theoretically an organization that looks after the rights of independent labels and independent artists.  Last month they made a high profile deal with Pandora.   We knew what was gonna happen at the time. We knew that Pandora would use the deal as evidence in Copyright Royalty Board hearings to lower ALL OF OUR RATES.  As RAIN reports

In a revealing document submitted to the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), Pandora argues for lowered music licensing rates in the 2016-2020 statutory royalty period. The proposed rate range is about half the amount suggested by SoundExchange in its submission to the CRB. (See David Oxenford’s coverage here.) In its argument Pandora discloses aspects of its privately negotiated licensing agreement with indie-label coalition Merlin Network (RAIN coverage here).

Thanks Merlin. Thanks for the 50% pay cut.   With friends like you who needs enemies?  Could you be any stupider? Independent labels should hold MERLIN accountable.  50% pay cut.  They just cost you millions of dollars.  Hope someone at Merlin at least got some sort of kickback. At least then it would make sense.

And artists you know what time it is right? It’s time to break the system.

About Dr. David C Lowery

Platinum selling singer songwriter for the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven; platinum selling producer; founder of pitch-a-tent records; founder Sound of Music Studios; platinum selling music publisher; angel investor; digital skeptic; college lecturer and founder of the University of Georgia Terry College Artists' Rights Symposium.

6 thoughts on “Record Business Geniuses: MERLIN Sells Out All Indie Labels.

  1. I wrote the RAIN article.
    It’s not a “50% rate cut.” As I reported, Pandora gets some kind of discount from existing statuory rates when Pandora “steers” Merlin music into playlists. In most markets, most suppliers offer discounts to high-volume buyers. The discount amount is redacted from Pandora’s document. Also, you are pretending that SoundExchange’s proposed rates are the established rates. Nobody knows what the 2016-2020 rates will be. It is natural for all parties to position themselves at extremes, during this stage of the CRB process.
    Thanks for reading the piece, though, and for linking to it.

    • Thanks Brad. I honestly feel bad for you. you must be getting a lot of pressure on this. Your statement above is actually misleading, and your original reporting is more accurate. Pandora is using the “Steering” (Payola) or Discount part of the deal to get rates lowered. That would make the rates “about” 50% lower than the soundexchange proposed rates.

  2. “Steering” towards Merlin artists is exactly the same strategy DMX used to entice publishers to sign direct deal with them several years ago. Sign with them and they will play more of your music. And DMX used these lower directly negotiated rates to persuade the Rate Court to reduce the ASCAP and BMI rates.

  3. Pingback: Pandora Just Screwed Indie Musicians And Their Users, Too - Tone Deaf

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