Digital rights agency Merlin revealed it paid a total of US$353m (AUD$468.3m) over twelve months to independent labels, landing just shy of distributing US$1m a day to indies. Luckily (for our splashy headline) we use Australian money here, so it’s well over a million as far as we are concerned.
Merlin scoops up and distributes digital earnings to over 700 indie labels around the world, claiming these companies constitute over 12% of the global market. The earnings above are for the April 2016-March 2017 period, and are up 52% ($121m) on the same time period the previous year. (I’m sure these monetary figure aren’t exactly to the million, or that would be quite special). It’s a pleasing trend, and news that maybe indie musicians have found a way to use the digital platforms to earn a decent living. Or, you know, any kinda living at all.
Adding to their reputation as the good guys of the evil, evil music industry, Merlin used news of this earnings surge to drop their own admin fees from 2% to 1.5%, passing even more money onto the labels, artists, and that guy who hangs around the studio a lot even though nobody is quite sure what he exactly does.
Here’s hoping that either this trend continues, or CDs suddenly become viable again.