A confidential report forwarded to Evolver.fm indicates that independent labels saw a major boost in revenue from the Spotify unlimited music subscription service in the first quarter of 2012.
Merlin calls itself “the virtual fifth major label” for the way it represents many of the world’s leading independent record labels. It’s one of the “good guys,” as I noticed when it stood up first to MySpace and then to Apple iCloud to try to attempt to extract for indies the same treatment afforded the majors.
Basically, if you’re talking about independent music in the traditional sense — as in not coming from a major label (as opposed to the musical style known as “indie,” which can come from anywhere) — you’re probably talking about Merlin. Its members include Rough Trade, Warp Records, Epitaph, Naïve, Domino, Tommy Boy, One Little Indian, Yep Roc/Red Eye, Kontor New Media, Naxos, XL Recordings, Beggars Group, Merge, Sub Pop, The Mushroom Group, !K7, [PIAS], Domino, Koch/E1, and thousands more.
In the report sent to its members, Merlin touted strong revenue growth from Spotify. The consistent nature of these increases indicates that overall Spotify subscriber and usage growth is also responsible — and that is a good sign not only for the indies but for major labels too, not to mention Spotify and the industry at large.
As much as some artists complain about low payouts from Spotify — whose co-founder says is still in its early days – things appear to be moving in the right direction where independent labels are concerned.