London, 15th November 2013


  • Election attracts the highest ever number of candidates
  • Beggars Group founder Martin Mills reappointed as chairman
  • Board includes representatives from the world’s leading independents including Epitaph Records, [PIAS], Tommy Boy, Because Music, !K7, Yep Roc and Inertia

Merlin, the global rights agency for the independent label sector, has announced the results of its biennial board election.

The vote attracted the highest ever number of candidates, with Merlin members determining the make-up of the 15-seat board.

Seats are divided into three territorial blocs, with equal representation given to North America, Europe and ROW.

Among those reappointed are Beggars Group founder Martin Mills who will continue as Merlin chairman, as well as a range of senior executives from world-renowned independent companies as listed below.

Meanwhile Erik Gilbert (Essential Music & Marketing USA) and Ashley Whitfield (Evolution Music Hong Kong) both join the board for the first time.

Non-voting observers added to the North America and Europe blocs are Kris Gillespie (Domino Recording Co, USA), Darius Van Arman (Dead Oceans/Jagjaguwar/Numero Group/Secretly Canadian, USA) Emmanuel de Buretel (Because Music, France) and Oke Goettlich (Finetunes, Germany). No observers have currently been added for the ROW.

The board will sit for two years.

Commenting on the results, Charles Caldas, Merlin CEO said: “That this election attracted such strong candidate numbers, representing some of the world’s most important music companies, is testament to Merlin’s standing within the independent community. We were founded as a truly global operation, a fact reflected in the make-up and construct of our board, and I am honoured to lead an organisation that draws together such experience and expertise.”

The full Merlin board, in alphabetical order per bloc, is as follows:


  • Erik Brataas – Phonofile (Norway)
  • Michel Lambot – PIAS Group (Belgium)
  • Martin Mills – Beggars Group (UK)
  • Florian von Hoyer – Altafonte (Spain)
  • Horst Weidenmueller – K7 (Germany)

Non-voting observers:

  • Emmanuel de Buretel – Because Music (France)
  • Oke Goettlich – Finetunes (Germany)


  • Glenn Dicker – Redeye Distribution and Yep Roc Records – (USA)
  • Erik Gilbert – Essential Music and Marketing (USA)
  • Dave Hansen – Epitaph Records (USA)
  • Geoff Kulawick – IDLA (Canada)
  • Tom Silverman – Tommy Boy (USA)

Non-voting observers:

  • Kris Gillespie – Domino Recording Co (USA)
  • Darius Van Arman – Dead Oceans/Jagjaguwar/Numero Group/Secretly Canadian (USA)

Rest of World:

  • Colin Daniels – Inertia (Australia)
  • Hilton Roth – African Dope – (South Africa)
  • Luciana Pegorer – Delira Musica (Brazil)
  • Ashley Whitfield – Evolution Music (Hong Kong)
  • Alison Wenham – President of WIN – representing companies in all ROW countries not represented on the board.

About Merlin:

Merlin is the global rights agency representing the world’s most important independent music companies. The organisation acts to ensure its members have effective access to new and emerging revenue streams and that their rights are appropriately valued and protected.

Merlin’s membership embodies over 20,000 independent record labels and distributors, representing some of the world’s most important independent artists, including:

  • The xx, The National, Vampire Weekend (Beggars Group)
  • Tom Waits, Bad Religion, Wilco (Epitaph Records)
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (Kobalt)
  • Arcade Fire, She & Him (Merge)
  • DJ Khaled, Jim Jones (E1)
  • Enter Shikari, Editors, Ghostpoet, Soulwax ([PIAS])
  • Animal Collective, Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Anna Calvi (Domino)
  • Prodigy, Marilyn Manson (Cooking Vinyl)
  • DJ Antoine (Kontor) Armin van Buuren, Hardwell (Armada)
  • Chuck Prophet, Josh Rouse (Yep Roc Records)
  • Kid Koala, Amon Tobin (Ninja Tune)
  • Bob Sinclar (Tommy Boy)
  • Grizzly Bear, Boards of Canada, (Warp Records)
  • Ani Difranco (Righteous Babe)
  • Sharon van Etten, Bon Iver (Secretly Canadian)
  • Hercules and Love Affair, Space Cadets (!K7)
  • Dan Zanes, Sonny Landreth (Virtual Label)

Merlin’s members command around a 10% share of the global and US recorded music markets.

Since commencing operations in May 2008, Merlin has struck deals with a wide variety of digital services including Spotify, YouTube, Google Play, Rdio and Deezer and reached a number of high value copyright infringement settlements on behalf of its members with, amongst others, Limewire, XM Satellite Radio and Grooveshark.

In February 2013, Merlin was named among the world’s ten most innovative companies in music by Fast Company magazine. In March 2013 its chief executive, Charles Caldas, was named winner of the IMPALA Outstanding contribution award, which recognised his dedicated work launching and growing Merlin into the virtual fourth major in the digital space.

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

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