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Friday, June 26, 2015


Merlin, the global digital rights agency representing 20,000 independent labels including the likes of Beggars Group, Cooking Vinyl, Domino, Epitaph, Kobalt Label Services, Merge, Ninja Tune, [PIAS], Secretly Group and Warp Records, has released its annual report.

The document, a selection of slides from which you can see below, highlights four clear trends from Merlin members – who make up around 10% of the global market:

  • Independent labels have crossed a digital tipping point. For the first time, more than half of respondents report that income from digital services accounts for over 50% of their overall business revenues. For one in three, digital income accounts for over 75% of their overall revenues.
  • Streaming/subscription income is driving digital growth. One in three respondents report that income from audio streaming & subscription services now accounts for over 50% of their digital revenue – up from one in five in 2014.
  • Total digital revenues increased in 2014 for almost 75% of respondents.17% reported their overall digital revenues increased by over 50%.
  • The majority of Merlin members report overall business growth. Despite a fall in download sales, 65% of respondents reported an increase in overall business revenues in 2014 (compared to 62% in 2013). Only 16% of respondents reported a decrease in overall 2014 business revenues, compared to 18% the previous year.

Merlin also reveals that it saw a 43% increase in year-on-year revenues (April 2014-March 2015) to $137.8m.

In March 2015 alone, audio tracks by Merlinmembers were streamed more than 2.5bn times – an increase of over 1bn from the same period last year. 

Significantly, analysing over billion audio streams (January-April 2015) usage ofMerlinmembers repertoire on audio streaming and subscription services was 35% higher on paid tiers compared to free ad-funded tiers.

86.6% of respondents stated that Merlinmembership was important to their business.

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