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Merlin has sold off all its Spotify stock

By | Published on Wednesday 16 May 2018


If, like me, you have a white board on your wall monitoring the record industry’s offloading of its Spotify equity, get your board rubber out, wipe away the words “0% sold” from next to the word “Merlin”, and get ready to make an amend.

This means you’re going to need to locate the favourite of all your white board pens. A nice independently-minded pen, mind. Not some horrible smudgy polluting pen that harks from the big bad corporate regime. No, an ethical pen. A groovy pen. A cool dude pen. An indie label pen. And with that pen write up, next to “Merlin”, the words “100% sold”.

Yes, indie-label repping digital dealmaker Merlin has sold off all of the Spotify stock it secured as part of its original licensing deals with the streaming firm. And that money has already been passed on to the Merlin membership, who now have to work out how to make good on the previous commitments most indie labels made to share their Spotify equity profits with their artists.

Speaking to Music Week¬†earlier this week, Merlin chief Charles Caldas confirmed that the organisation had sold on its Spotify stock, explaining: “Merlin is an organisation that exists solely to maximise the value of our members’ rights and keeps only the monies that it needs to operate. It is outside of Merlin’s remit to hold a long-term equity position in a publicly-listed company where there is a liquid and transparent market for that equity. We therefore worked quickly to liquidate our interest in Spotify and have passed the proceeds to our eligible members”.

Sony Music and Warner Music have both also sold on significant portions of their Spotify shareholdings (50% and 75% respectively at last count). We await word on Universal’s moves in this domain, although it looks like the entire record industry could have sold on all its Spotify shares in the not too distant future. Which means we’ll need another use for that white board. Maybe, a “which streaming firm will go bust next” chart?