London, 7th October 2013

Merlin, the global rights agency for the independent label sector, has hired former Warner Music Group executive Roger Gold.

Engaged on an advisory basis, Gold’s expertise will be used to bolster Merlin’s commercial and licensing activities in the USA alongside CEO Charles Caldas and Head of Business Affairs Charlie Lexton. In addition to this advisory role, Gold will continue to pursue other business interests outside of Merlin.

 The basket of recorded rights represented by Merlin, which belong to the world’s most important and commercially successful independent labels, currently account for more than a 10% share of the US digital music market.

Having recently departing WMG after 17 years of service, Gold brings with him a wealth of commercial experience. 

Following his first decade at the major where, as senior member of the legal and business affairs team he handled many of the company’s biggest deals, Gold transitioned into operations and management. In partnership with Recorded Music Chairman & CEO Lyor Cohen he pioneered Warner’s move into the 360 and D2C businesses.

From here, under Cohen’s leadership, Gold established the Independent Label Group (ILG) as part of a strategic move to partner more effectively with independent labels. Among ILG’s many successes was Warner’s original deal with John Janick’s Fueled by Ramen label (Paramore, Panic! At The Disco, Fun). Prior to his departure from WMG, global digital and physical distribution, catalog, licensing and 360 strategy all reported to Gold.

Charles Caldas, Merlin CEO said: “For Merlin this is a really significant appointment. As an executive, deal-maker and entrepreneur, Roger combines an extensive knowledge of the US market with a successful track record working with independent labels. With so much of our activity focused on the emergence of new US-based platforms, Roger’s experience will be a hugely valuable asset for Merlin and its members.”

Roger Gold added: “I am honored by this opportunity to work with Charles and Charlie to  help support Merlin and its independent label membership.  Historically, independent labels have represented the best examples of entrepreneurialism and have been the greatest early champions of musical artistry.  This has never been more true than today and one need only look at the charts to see that this is the era of the independents. ”

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)
  • Prince, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Pet Shop Boys (Kobalt Label Services)
  • 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.

A list of Merlin’s board members and further information on Merlin is available at:

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

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

+32 2 503 31 38