Merlin Deals With iMesh

Merlin has yet to reach an agreement to get its music on MySpace’s online music store, but the independent rights body has cut a deal with iMesh, the third-largest music subscription service in the U.S.

The deal also includes a settlement relating to usage of Merlin members’ repertoire on the hitherto unlicensed Lphant P2P network, recently purchased by iMesh as part of their European expansion.

Merlin members’ repertoire will be available from launch on the new legitimately licensed and filtered version of Lphant.

Merlin, which represents major indie labels including Domino, Beggars Group, KOCH (now E1 Music), Epitaph and [PIAS], now has its repertoire available through iMesh’s subscription and download services, which include iMesh and Bearshare. Artist rosters from those labels include Arctic Monkeys, Adele, Antony & The Johnsons, Basement Jaxx, Bjork, DJ Khaled, Franz Ferdinand and Maxïmo Park.

The 2008 opening of the MySpace store brought criticism from Merlin chief Charles Caldas, who said it was “incredibly disappointing” that the service launched without finalising a deal with the biggest independent labels and artists. Merlin members’ combined U.S. market share is about 9 percent, roughly equivalent to EMI’s.

MySpace, which set up the new service in cahoots with the major labels, has 120 million members but Caldas says Merlin has been unable to reach an agreement because the social-networking giant insists on treating the consortium’s members differently.