For the last eleven years, Merlin has been championing the independent music community in a variety of ways. During that time the organization has put over two billion dollars into the pockets of indie labels and distributors, through its negotiated deals with DSP’s like Spotify, et. al., and the organization is only continuing to grow its reach internationally. On this episode, we talk to Charles Caldas, the man at the helm of Merlin for the past eleven years, along with Jorge Brea of Symphonic Distribution and Katie Alberts of Reach Records, who both use Merlin’s services for their businesses to great advantage.
At this point, we all know that streaming royalties have become a larger and larger share of revenue within the music industry, but how those royalties are calculated by DSP’s is still somewhat of a mystery to artists, labels, and consumers. For example, why doesn’t your $9.99/mo. only go to the artists you’ve streamed that month? And, why do the per-stream rates fluctuate so much, based on time of day, the specific plan you’re on, etc.? On this episode, we talk to Vickie Nauman and Louis Posen about the “pool method” of royalty calculation (currently in use by most DSP’s), and alternatives to this method that are being proposed by some, and piloted by others.
From streaming to the inner-workings of indie labels, hear our most popular interviews of 2018 as determined by you, our listeners. In this episode, you can hear Liz Pelly speak on “The Problem with Muzak,” Rob Jones’ spiel on the history of Jealous Butcher Records, Jen Cloher’s financial advice on starting your own record label and keeping it local, and what Justin Schmidt has to say about musicians looking to work in the industry without a record label.
Called “music’s monetization mystery” by Forbes, on today’s episode we shed light on the “black box” — a complicated phenomenon in the music industry where small and large sums of money don’t make it to an artist. What happens to these unattributed royalties and how can musicians safeguard their income? We ask CD Baby CEO Tracy Maddux and CrossBorderWorks’ Vickie Nauman for insight.
What is the Music Modernization Act and how could it impact songwriters? On this episode we hear from people who have worked on this new bill and those whose livelihoods will be affected if it passes. David Israelite, President and CEO of the NMPA explains who the key players are and clears up some common misunderstandings surrounding the MMA. We also hear from RIAA President Mitch Glazier about the timeline of the act, and Blake Morgan (#IRespectMusic) shares pros and cons from an artists’ perspective.
Playlists have been a huge driver in the growth of streaming music, and platforms like Spotify are pushing their curated playlists more than ever. On this episode we hear from Garrison Snell, who built his company, Crosshair, around getting curators compensated. We’re also joined by journalist Cherie Hu, who has written about music curation models for Forbes. Walt Lilly, the curator behind the Apollo Playlist brand gives us an idea of what goes into a successful playlist.