Spotify and Merlin agree multi-year license deal

Spotify and Merlin agree multi-year license deal

Spotify and digital rights agency Merlin agree new multi-year global licensing agreement.

The new deal will allow Merlin members labels to participate in Spotify's recently announced "flexible release" or "windowing" policy. The agreement is also said to be "structured to reflect and promote the value of Merlin's collective offering of its members' repertoire, while offering improved marketing and advertising opportunities and enhanced access to data".

(Some would say it didn't have a real choice in the matter anymore.) Now, it seems that two-week window is going to become the standard when new music hits Spotify.

But what about the "fourth major" - independent labels, as represented by licensing agency Merlin?

Charles Caldas, CEO, Merlin said: "Merlin was a launch partner to Spotify back in 2008, and our partnership has thrived ever since". Following a recent partnership with Universal Music Group that allows the service to offer an exclusive two-week embargo on select releases, the streaming platform will now allow Merlin's 20,000 independent labels a similar option to restrict new albums to the site's paying subscribers for the same two-week window. The agreement lets Spotify keep a sizable portion of indie artists streamable on the service.

With new deals set for Universal and Merlin, it's likely we'll see Sony Music and Warner Music Group also ink new contracts in the coming months.

In a joint statement, the two companies claimed the deal would "advance their partnership to ensure that streaming realises its full transformational potential for artists, labels and fans by delivering a comprehensive range of music experiences". Next stop: Sony and Warner?

The move to limited exclusives was inevitable, as reports previously hinted Spotify had trouble keeping its library equally accessible to both paid and free listeners, following increasing pressure from major music labels.