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Charles Caldas to step down as Merlin CEO at the end of 2019




In an unprecedented move, Charles Caldas has announced that he will step down as CEO of Merlin at the end of 2019. Charles has been at the helm of the global digital rights agency for the last 12 years.

Merlin is the digital rights agency for the world’s independent music label sector. The agencies members command in excess of 12% of the digital recorded music market. It embodies more than 20,000 independent record labels and distributors from 63 countries.

Charles took over as the CEO in 2007. He was responsible for the construction of the organisation prior to its opening for business in May 2008.

“Having the chance to contribute to taking Merlin from a raw idea hatched by a few indie visionaries to the fast-growing global enterprise it is today has truly been a privilege. What we have all achieved over the past 12 years is remarkable. The revenues we are now generating were unthinkable back in 2007,” said Charles.

Merlin under Charles Caldas

Under Charles, Merlin struck monumental deals with the world’s leading digital music platforms. These platforms include including Spotify, YouTube, Deezer, SoundCloud, Pandora and Facebook. Merlin also secured strategic non-exclusive licensing partnerships in China with NetEase Cloud Music, Ali Music Group and Tencent Music Entertainment. Merlin has in addition returned significant revenues to the independent sector via several successful copyright infringement actions, the Warner Music/Parlophone divestment agreement and the sale of Merlin’s shares in Spotify.

“Charles has built a great foundation with an amazing team and Merlin will continue to be strong in the future. We wish Charles great success and happiness as he moves onto his next chapter at the end of this year,” said Dave Hansen, Merlin Chairman.

During his tenure, Charles has developed of Merlin into the globally recognised entity it is today. It has an exceptionally experienced management team based in offices in Amsterdam, London, New York and Tokyo.

Martin Mills, Merlin Chairman 2010-2017 said, “Merlin and the whole independent community owe Charles  Caldas a huge debt of thanks for what he has achieved. Without which we would have a slippery slope instead of a level playing field.”

Continuing his current duties until then, Charles is working with the Merlin board to ensure a smooth transition for the organisation.

“This has easily been the most rewarding work of my life. I thank our members, our board, and especially my incredible team for their support and am extremely proud to have represented them. I am confident that Merlin’s dynamic, market-leading membership of true independents face a very bright future,” said Charles.


Charles Caldas received IMPALA’s annual outstanding contribution award in 2013. He was named in the Billboard Magazine International Power List in 2014 and 2017. Charles was included in the Billboard Power 100 in 2018 and 2019. He also featured in the Variety Magazine International Music Leaders lists in 2018 and 2019.



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