Business News Digital Labels & Publishers

Merlin pulls content from Simfy in dispute with new owners

By | Published on Friday 4 October 2013


German-based streaming service Simfy, which currently operates in three European markets and South Africa, has fallen out with a big fat chunk of the independent label community via a dispute with indie digital rights agency Merlin.

According to Hypebot, the digital firm has run into conflict with Merlin following a change in ownership. It seems that there have been issues regarding both royalty payments and Merlin’s equity in the company, though some of the dispute seems to stem from the new owners’ attitude towards its indie label catalogue. As a result, Merlin is pulling its members’ content from the streaming service, even though there is six months to run on the firm’s current licence.

Hypebot quotes from a recent email from Merlin chief Charles Caldas to member labels, in which he wrote: “We have recently tried to engage the service’s new management in a discussion about the equity interest Merlin was granted in the company. These discussions culminated last week in the new CEO contacting us to make clear that he considers the Merlin relationship insignificant to Simfy’s business (although we have a market share on the service well in excess of 12%)”.

The email goes on: “We have no confidence that the new ownership of the business understands the value of Merlin’s repertoire or intends to honour the terms of the agreement on equity and last week’s fruitless discussions made it clear that the best option for Merlin was termination of the agreement”.

As well as pulling content, Merlin is consulting German lawyers to advise on the equity issue.