×

Merlin Sells All of Its Spotify Shares for an Estimated $125 Million-Plus

Merlin, the international independent label collective, is the latest recorded-music group to sell its Spotify shares — all of them, in fact, for an amount well over $100 million, according to reports in Music Week and Music Business Worldwide. The organization says it has already passed the proceeds to its members, which number more than 800 representing tens of thousands of labels and artists in 53 countries.

MBW estimated Merlin’s share as of last month to be worth between $128.2 million and $151.4 million.

“Merlin is an organization that exists solely to maximize the value of our members’ rights and keeps only the monies that it needs to operate,” CEO Charles Caldas told Music Week. “It is outside of Merlin’s remit to hold a long-term equity position in a publicly listed company where there is a liquid and transparent market for that equity. We therefore worked quickly to liquidate our interest in Spotify and have passed the proceeds to our eligible members.”

Merlin declined to say how much it earned from the sale or how it had been distributed, but Music Business Worldwide, via an extensively detailed study published Monday, revealed the shares of Merlin and the major labels (which at the time included EMI, acquired by Universal in 2012). Shortly after Spotify’s public listing last month, in which it was valued at some $25 billion, Sony revealed that it had sold around half of its shares for $750 million and Warner some 75% for approximately $400 million; only Universal has not yet cashed in and according to sources, it does not plan to any time soon.

“Merlin has a long-standing set of policies designed to ensure that the monies realized from a sale such as this (and indeed all our activities) are distributed equitably amongst eligible members,” he said. “Nearly a decade’s worth of usage data from Spotify is currently being processed and will allow us to provide a track-level apportionment to accompany those payments.”

According to a Luxembourg financial document dating from December 2008 unearthed by MBW, the major labels plus Merlin were given a total of 352,176 shares in Spotify in 2008 for €8,804.40, adding up to around 18% equity in the then-new streaming company. Sony-BMG received 6%, Universal 5%, Warner 4%, EMI 2% (which went to Universal in the sale), and Merlin 1%. The percentages changed over the years as additional investors came on board.

Using comparative deduction that you can read in full here, MBW estimates that Merlin’s stake was worth between $128.2 million and $151.4 million.

More Digital

  • YouTube TV

    YouTube TV Is Dropping Fox Regional Sports Nets, YES Network After Sinclair Standoff

    YouTube TV, Google’s internet pay-TV service, said it will drop the Fox regional sports networks and the YES Network from customer lineups this Saturday, Feb. 29 — citing an impasse in negotiations with Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns the RSNs. “We purchase rights from Sinclair to distribute content to you,” the YouTube TV account said [...]

  • Facebook F8 Conference 2019 - Mark

    Facebook Cancels F8 Developers Conference Over Coronavirus Fears

    The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has prompted Facebook to cancel this year’s F8 developers conference. The F8 2020 was scheduled for May 5-6 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif. The social giant had held the conference every year since 2007, and last year’s F8 drew more than 5,000 attendees, according to the company. [...]

  • Rachel Whitney Joins Spotify as Nashville

    Rachel Whitney Joins Spotify as Nashville Head of Editorial

    Rachel Whitney, formerly of YouTube, is joining Spotify as the Head of Editorial for Nashville, she announced in a social media post (which recently has become a method of the streaming giant announcing new employees).  A source close to the situation points out that the company now has two female executives at the helm of [...]

  • RM, V, Suga, Jin, Jimin, Jungkook,

    BTS' New Video for 'ON' Breaks YouTube Premiere Record (Watch)

    BTS have dropped their second official music video from their new album, “Map of the Soul: 7,” for the song “ON” — and within minutes of it dropping, the song became the biggest YouTube Premiere of all time, with 1.54 million concurrent viewers tuned in for the clip’s debut on YouTube Premieres. According to the [...]

  • Lisa Holme

    Discovery Hires Hulu's Lisa Holme to Lead Streaming Strategy

    Lisa Holme, a Hulu veteran who had been leading its international expansion strategy, has joined Discovery in a newly created role to oversee content and commercial strategy for the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming group. Discovery named Holme to the newly created role of group senior VP, content and commercial strategy, in Discovery’s direct-to-consumer group. She is [...]

  • Peloton

    Peloton Settles Legal Fight With Music Publishers

    Peloton settled a lawsuit filed by members of the U.S.’s music-publishing trade organization that had sought more than $300 million in damages over the interactive-fitness company’s alleged use of 2,468 unlicensed songs. The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), which represents American music publishers and songwriters, and Peloton together announced that they have “fully settled” the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content