Earlier this month, MySpace finalized deals with three of the four majors — only EMI has yet to join — to create MySpace Music. The majors will receive equity in the standalone company and will receive a share of its ad revenue.

Those deals have left many to ask what sort of deal will and should be given to indie labels. Wired, for example, put the issue to MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe in a recent interview. On the topic of giving equity to indies, De Wolfe said MySpace is open to giving equity and a share of ad revenue to indies, but admitted the systems are not in place and pointed to practical issues of issuing equity to so many partners.

So I got in touch with Charles Caldas, CEO of Merlin, a global music new media licensing agency with over 11,000 label members.

Since MySpace Music is preparing for launch, I asked Caldas if Merlin had been in contact with them. “They’re aware of who we are and what we do,” he said, adding that talks are in the “early stages of conversation” and the two parties are exploring all aspects of a deal.

Wondering how an equity deal would work for indies, I threw out a scenario to Caldas. If, hypothetically, there were to be an equity deal with indies, what role would a group like Merlin play? “We would pass benefits back to members based on usage, for example. We can do as much or little as necessary on as broad or as narrow a scope as possible.”

Aside from MySpace, Merlin is in talks with a number of other, unnamed services. In addition to looking at forward-thinking models, Merlin is looking back at past services that currently don’t pay. Caldas said there will be a couple of announcements in the coming months about the deals Merlin is working on.

“We have to come up with new licensing models.” he impressed upon me. “There are no philosophical barriers in place. Each service has to be looked at on its own merits.”


Posted by: Amy Sikkes

Source: http://www.coolfer.com/blog/archives/indies/