New York, 10th January 2024

Merlin, the independents’ digital music licensing partner, kicks off 2024 by announcing its new Board. The new Board lineup brings leaders from the independent music industry in 12 different countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and Oceania. The Merlin Board is elected from and by its membership, which represents tens of thousands of independent record labels, distributors, and rightsholders from around the world. Subject to final details to be agreed at technical level, we believe the AI Act will provide a good basis for our members to be able to engage in proper negotiations for uses of their works by AI companies.   

The Board brings a wealth of experience to guide the organization in its mission to help independents stay independent, as Merlin continues to secure premium deals with partners such as Apple, Deezer, Meta, Peloton, Snap, Spotify, TikTok, YouTube, and more. The Merlin Board brings together esteemed music rightsholders and advocates for artists and their careers, visionary entrepreneurs, and leaders who are adept at building partnerships in the digital marketplace.

The Board also offers a global perspective, bringing equal representation from the organization’s three regional blocs: All Other Countries; Europe; and North America. This election, nearly half of the Board Members have been elected or appointed for their first term, with 10 members returning to serve another term.

Newly elected to the Board are: Golda Bitterli, VP of Sales, Revelator (Israel); Jeffrey Chiang, Director of Global Business, Fluxus (South Korea); Fer Isella, Founder and CEO, limbo music (Spain); Irina Lipczyk-Kolakovska, Digital Distribution Lead, e-muzyka (Poland); Simon Wheeler, Director of Global Commercial Strategy, Beggars (UK); and Megan Jasper, CEO, Sub Pop (US).

Board Advisors appointed this year are Jennifer Newman Sharpe, General Counsel, Exceleration, and Dorothee Imhoff, CCO, FUGA.

Returning to the Merlin Board are: Pascal Bittard, Founder and CEO, IDOL (France); Marie Clausen, Managing Director North America, Ninja Tune (US); Tom Deakin, Head of EMEA, AudioSalad (UK); Chris Maund, COO, Mushroom Music (Australia); Carlos Mills, Founder, Mills Records (Brazil); Louis Posen, President & Executive Director, Hopeless Records (US); Michael Ugwu, CEO, Freeme Digital (Nigeria); Darius Van Arman, Co-CEO, Secretly (US); Horst Weidenmueller, CEO & Owner, !K7 (Germany); and Justin West, President & CEO, Secret City (Canada).

Merlin would also like to extend its appreciation to all of its outgoing Board Members. However, Merlin would like to particularly thank two of its outgoing Board Members, Martin Mills (Beggars), Merlin Co-Founder, Board Member and Former Chairperson, and Michel Lambot ([PIAS]), Merlin Co-Founder and Board Member, for their long-standing leadership in helping Merlin members around the world own their independence.

Darius Van Arman was reappointed as Chairperson by the Board for a second term. Van Arman first joined the Board in 2015 and has been instrumental in guiding the organization’s strategic direction.

“We are pleased to welcome our new Board Members, each of whom brings a vital and unique perspective to Merlin,” said Jeremy Sirota, CEO, Merlin. “As Merlin continues to grow — both in terms of our global membership and our partnerships — their collective expertise in various facets of the music industry is invaluable. Their strategic insights will be crucial to help us navigate new opportunities and challenges for music rightsholders in the ever-evolving digital music landscape.” 

About Merlin

Merlin is the independent’s digital music licensing partner. We’ve negotiated premium deals with Apple, Facebook, Spotify, TikTok, YouTube, and 40 other innovative platforms around the world. Our global membership is from 68 countries around the world, representing 15% of the recorded music market. We are independent record labels, distributors, label services companies, and other rightsholders. Merlin operates for the benefit of its members, without investors looking for an exit, and is funded entirely by our low 1.5% admin fee. Merlin helps the world’s leading independents to own their digital business through world-class deals and white-glove support.

Merlin’s membership includes independents such as !K7, Altafonte, Armada Music, AudioSalad, Because Music, Beggars Group, Better Noise, CD Baby and Downtown Music (including FUGA), Cinq Music Group, Curb Records, Domino, e-muzyka, Epitaph Records, Exceleration, Fluxus, Freeme Digital, Hopeless Records, IDOL, !K7, Kompakt, Kontor New Media, Lex Records, limbo music, Mad Decent, Mills Records, MNRK Music Group, Mushroom Music, Ninja Tune, [PIAS], Pony Canyon, Redeye, Reservoir Media, Revelator, Secret City, Secretly, Stones Throw, Symphonic Distribution, Sub Pop, Vydia, Wagram Music, Warp Records, and hundreds more.

Read the official statement on their website here 


IMPALA was established in 2000 and now represents nearly 6000 independent music companies in Europe. 99% of Europe’s music companies are small, micro and medium businesses and self-releasing artists. Known as the independents, they are world leaders in terms of innovation and discovering new music and artists – they produce more than 80% of all new releases and account for 80% of the sector’s jobs. IMPALA’s mission is to grow the independent music sector sustainably, return more value to artists, promote diversity and entrepreneurship, improve political access, inspire change, and increase access to finance. IMPALA works on a range of key issues for its members, runs various award schemes and has a programme aimed at businesses who want to develop a strategic relationship with the European independent sector – Friends of IMPALA.

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

Rue des Deux Eglises 37-39, 1000, Brussels, BELGIUM

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