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Merlin appoints Facebook’s Jeremy Sirota as new CEO

By | Published on Thursday 9 January 2020


Merlin, the global digital licensing agency for indie labels and distributors, has revealed Jeremy Sirota as its new CEO. He joins from Facebook’s music team and replaces Charles Caldas, who announced his plans to step down last June after more than a decade leading Merlin ever since it was set up in 2007.

On top of Sirota’s appointment to the CEO role, former Epitaph Records General Manager Dave Hansen has also been announced as the organisation’s first ever Executive Chair.

Getting right down to work, he says the following about Sirota taking on the CEO job: “Having committed to an incredibly rigorous and wide-reaching search, Merlin has found an exceptional individual to lead the organisation forward. In addition to his experience at Facebook, Jeremy brings a deep-seated knowledge of independent music and a reputation for embracing new, exciting and transformational technologies”.

“We believe he can build on the groundbreaking work of Charles Caldas and ensure Merlin’s membership continues to thrive in a global digital music market”, he adds.

That there mentioned “deep-seated knowledge of independent music” was fostered during Sirota’s long tenure at… well… erm… major label Warner Music. Where, to be fair, he did for a time run the mini major’s artist and label services division ADA.

Sirota has said some words too and those words are these: “I am honoured by this opportunity to lead Merlin and serve independents throughout the world. Merlin’s team of executives and employees are widely respected throughout the music and DSP communities, and I look forward to working closely with them to write the next chapter”.

That next chapter, of course, will likely include new business models to navigate, understand and license. Many, initially at least, in the user-generated content space which – although part of the YouTube business for more than a decade – only really became a priority for the music industry once Sirota’s former employer Facebook finally got around to signing some licensing deals two years ago.

Looking ahead at that next chapter, Sirota goes on: “With the digital music market potentially on the brink of another wave of transformative change, it’s vital that independents continue to have an organisation that represents their interests, ensures the value of their repertoire is respected, and keeps pace with innovation”.

These aren’t the only changes at Merlin by the way. A total of eight new indie label reps have been appointed to its fifteen strong board. The new additions are Alexandria Hock (Better Noise Music), Carlos Mills (Mills Records), Chan Kim (Fluxus Inc), Katie Alberts (Reach Records), Marie Clausen (Ninja Tune), Merida Sussex (Stolen Recordings), Michael Ugwu (Freeme Digital) and Pieter van Rijn (FUGA).