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Label News (more headlines) 02-08-2014

Beats Music & Merlin Outline "Benchmark Deal" For The Global Independent Music Sector

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Beats Music, the recently-launched music streaming service that focuses on providing a personalised music experience for each user through a unique blend of digital innovation and musical passion, has outlined its strategic commitment to the thriving independent music sector through a licensing deal with global rights agency Merlin.

The benchmark deal, active since Beats Music's launch on January 21st, ensures that the 20,000+ leading independent labels and distributors represented by Merlin's 600 members will enjoy parity with the world's three major record labels, and builds upon the service's stated commitment that it will pay the same royalty rate to all content owners.

As a digital music service catering to fans of all types of music, Beats Music is uniquely aware of the importance of independent music. Its 5,000+ hand-curated playlists place the most mainstream hits next to the most obscure of tracks to ensure listeners come away with the right song for the right mood at the right time for the right person. Discovering a new artist or song is just as important as accessing an old favourite, so a catalogue that caters to all tastes is crucial to Beats Music's success.

"We are thrilled to be working with Merlin, Beats Music is committed to treating all artists and labels fairly and equally," said Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers. "While other services may try to get away with paying independent labels and artists less, we're paying all repertoire-owners equally because it's the right thing to do."

The independent sector is the fastest growing sector in today's music business, representing not only a huge breadth and diversity of local music on a territory-by-territory basis, but also an increasing number of hit, commercial chart acts. Half of this year's GRAMMY nominations went to acts not on a major label.

Merlin's membership represents the most commercially valuable basket of recorded music rights outside those held by the three major labels.

Launching for business in May 2008, the organisation's mission is to ensure that this membership - drawn from across 39 countries - have effective access to new and emerging revenue streams, and that their rights are appropriately valued and protected in the digital realm. Equally, Merlin offers significant efficiencies to digital services and the opportunity to globally license - via a single deal - the world's most important and successful music labels.

Charles Caldas, Merlin CEO said: "Ian and the team at Beats have taken a refreshing, and enlightened approach to recognising the value of a Merlin deal, and we are excited to be in business with them. As a result of our deal, not only do the users of Beats Music have access to an extraordinary range of music from the world's best independent labels and artists, but the labels we represent have an opportunity to benefit from the success of the service on a truly equal footing to our major label competitors."

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