Merlin: Streaming Wizards


Merlin, the global digital rights agency for independent labels, has announced that income from digital services now accounts for over 50% of income for over half of its members.

This was based on a survey from Merlin members across 26 countries, which also revealed that digital income now accounts for more than 75% of overall revenues for one in three indie labels.

In addition to the digital tipping point, the results suggest that streaming and subscription models are now driving overall digital growth- one in three respondents reported that income from such services now accounts for more than 50% of their digital revenue, an increase from one in five in 2014.

Unsurprisingly, given the general curve towards streaming and decline of paid downloads, income from streaming and subscription services is the key driver behind digital growth, with one in three respondents reporting that it accounts for more than 50% of their digital revenue- up from one in five in 2014.

Merlin CEO Charles Caldas said: “The Merlin membership survey again shows how strongly the world’s leading independent labels are faring in the global digital market”.

Caldas continued: “This year’s results highlight the speed at which music fans are transitioning towards streaming and subscription services, and how independent labels are leading that change, and growing their audience in the process – with the vast majority growing their digital revenues and expanding their business overall”.

Merlin also revealed that, based on 9 million streams between January and April this year, usage of its members’ repertoire was 35% higher on paid audio streaming and subscription tiers in comparison to ad-funded tiers- grist to the mill of industry detractors of the ‘freemium’ model. Or to any major technology company who happen to be launching a major new streaming service this week with no free option included beyond the first three months.

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