Merlin Unveils 2024 Board, Prioritizes ‘Meaningful, Sustainable and Value-Driven Member Growth’

Merlin Unveils 2024 Board, Prioritizes ‘Meaningful, Sustainable and Value-Driven Member Growth’

Music

Merlin, the global digital licensing agency for the independent music industry, has unveiled its new board – one that doesn’t feature co-founders Martin Mills and Michel Lambot.

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The new board comprises leaders from the indie sector in 12 different countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and Oceania, and includes six new faces.

Exclusively revealed by Billboard today (Jan. 10), Merlin welcomes new board members Golda Bitterli, VP of sales, Revelator (Israel); Jeffrey Chiang, director of global business, Fluxus (South Korea); Fer Isella, founder and CEO, limbo music (Spain); Irina Lipczyk-Kolakovska, digital distribution lead, e-muzyka (Poland); Simon Wheeler, director of global commercial strategy, Beggars (U.K.); and Megan Jasper, CEO, Sub Pop (U.S.).

They join returning Merlin board members Pascal Bittard, founder and CEO, IDOL (France); Marie Clausen, managing director North America, Ninja Tune (U.S.); Tom Deakin, head of EMEA, AudioSalad (U.K.); Chris Maund, COO, Mushroom Music (Australia); Carlos Mills, founder, Mills Records (Brazil); Louis Posen, president & executive director, Hopeless Records (U.S.); Michael Ugwu, CEO, Freeme Digital (Nigeria); Darius Van Arman, co-CEO, Secretly (U.S.); Horst Weidenmueller, CEO & Owner, !K7 (Germany); and Justin West, president & CEO, Secret City (Canada).

Van Arman is reappointed as chairperson for a second term, having first joined the board in 2015, and playing an “instrumental” role in guiding the organization’s strategic direction, reads a statement.

Additionally, Jennifer Newman Sharpe, general counsel, Exceleration, and Dorothee Imhoff, CCO, FUGA, are appointed board advisors this year.

Merlin’s board is elected from and by its membership, which represents tens of thousands of independent record labels, distributors, and rightsholders, including K7!, Because Music, Beggars Group, Better Noise, CD Baby and Downtown Music (including FUGA), Exceleration, and many others.

In the upcoming year, explains Merlin CEO Jeremy Sirota in a statement to Billboard, the organization “is committed to fostering meaningful, sustainable and value-driven member growth.”

Its mission, “to support labels and distributors who invest in artists and their unique cultural contributions. By associating with members who invest in high-quality music around the world, Merlin aims to strengthen its network, while offering unparalleled access and benefits to our members, and enriching the global music landscape.”

Sirota and Merlin also pay tribute to outgoing board members Martin Mills (Beggars), Merlin co-founder, board member and former chairperson, and Michel Lambot ([PIAS]), Merlin co-founder and board member, two giants of the independent music community whose “long-standing leadership” helped members “around the world own their independence.”

Also, Sirota points to the completion last year of the initial build of a Data Warehouse, which should enable Merlin to make “significant strides in data, analytics, and insights to further advance our mission and our members.” In 2024, “we will now start to provide actionable insights derived from our collective data,” he adds. Part of that plan includes expanding Merlin’s data and insights team, which in time should “deliver insights that help our members make informed decisions and foster growth.”

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