Independent labels rights body Merlin has cashed in on its entire equity stake in the Swedish streaming giant Spotify. The organization was reported to have acquired a 1% shareholding in Spotify back in 2009 as part of the platform’s initial run of rightsholder deals, but this original stake has been diluted over the past decade by further external investments in the company.
Confirming the news of the equity sell-off to Music Week today, Merlin CEO Charles Caldas said: “Merlin is an organization that exists solely to maximize the value of our members’ rights and keeps only the monies that it needs to operate.”
Merlin did not give details of how much money it grasped from the sale, or details as to how it has been distributed. Caldas declined to reveal the size of Merlin’s Spotify stake at sale, although it is believed to have originally held a 1% share in the company, although various deals and share options have likely changed that over time. And Caldas said that Merlin, as one of Spotify’s launch partners back in 2008, has long been prepared for this day. Merlin did not disclose the amount of money it received from the sale of its stake in Spotify, estimating it will be significantly higher than $100m.
In total, Merlin represents tens of thousands of labels in more than 50 countries. Now, Merlin has the unenviable task of distributing its earnings to the multitudes of members.
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