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Small record labels take on industry giants and sign MySpace deal
22 Jan, 2007 07:15:23
CANNES, France, Jan 22, 2007 (AFP) - The thousands of small independent record labels around the world that promote acts such as new UK rock sensation Arctic Monkeys and Detroit minimalist rock duo The White Stripes found their own brand of magic when they agreed a global deal here to band together and take on the might of the big record labels.

Merlin, the new agency that will represent the independent music sector, also lost no time in weaving its magic when it announced Sunday that it had struck a deal with innovative San Francisco-based digital music firm SNOCAP.

This deal will allow independent labels around the world to sell digital downloads of their music on number one music website, MySpace.

The announcements were made at the music industry's influential five-day MIDEM music mart that opened in this chic Riviera seaside resort Sunday.

A one-stop, non-profit licensing shop, Merlin will negotiate on behalf of the independents, or "indies" as they are called, with the growing number of download Internet sites and mobile services.

Whilst indie labels account for around 80 percent of the world's new music releases, they only represent 30 percent of total revenues.

"We'll be the largest major company in the world if we act together," Martin Mills, who heads up influential indie group Beggars Group, emphasised at the press conference.

The new agency will make it easier to license indie releases worldwide through providing one single point of contact.

"Merlin will improve access and level the playing field with new and emerging media, rectifying the 'poor cousin' status of deals previously offered to independents, where they have been tabled at all," Merlin said in a press statement.

The deal with SNOCAP, which was founded by Napster creator Sean Fanning, is the first of its kind.

Indies in all the European countries as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and other countries have joined Merlin.

Merlin's new CEO is Charles Caldas, who previously headed Australia's largest independent music and entertainment distributor, Shock Entertainment.
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