Merlin Strikes Deal With SoundCloud

The agency the independent music companies set up to handle its licensing deals has struck a deal with music platform SoundCloud. 

It will help the indie labels and their artists make money when their songs are played on the streaming service. Merlin negotiates streaming deals on behalf of more than 20,000 labels and distributors, including well-known labels such as Beggars Group, Domino, Ninja Tune and Warp Records.

The site has 175 million monthly listeners and will have more via global expansion. Labels affiliated with Merlin will be able to track how their music is being listened to and uploaded by fans who use the site.

“SoundCloud has carved out a niche not only in functionality but also, I think, in terms of its users and where it sits in the market. This is not another service aiming to be a ‘silver bullet’ for the music industry,” Merlin chief executive Charles Caldas told The Guardian. “The labels we represent perform particularly well on SoundCloud. It is a meeting point between people who are fans of new music in general, and a lot of adventurous people who are active in the way they curate that music.”

The deal comes at a difficult time for SoundCloud, which in recent months has come under criticism for not paying royalties to labels or publishers not part of the On SoundCloud program. Sony Music recently started removing songs by its artists from SoundCloud, citing a breakdown in licensing negotiations and “a lack of monetisation opportunities” on the service.