×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

  • hdhomerun roku app

    HDHomerun App Brings Live TV to Roku Devices

    Roku users are getting another way to watch live television with the help of their favorite streaming devices: Silicondust, maker of the HDHomerun TV tuners, has released a beta version of its HDHomerun app for Roku TVs and streaming devices. “We need to start out by saying this is very much a beta product,” the [...]

  • Vox Media

    Vox Media Staff Ratifies First Union Contract, Negotiated by Writers Guild

    Staffers at Vox Media, which includes Curbed, Eater, Polygon, Recode, SB Nation, The Verge and Vox.com, have ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with more than 90% in support. The staffers are represented by the Writers Guild of America East. Vox Media’s 350-member unit began bargaining their first contract in April 2018. The campaign to [...]

  • Joslyn Davis, Lily-Marston - Shared Media

    Clevver’s Joslyn Davis, Lily Marston Launch Their Own YouTube Media Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Here’s the latest chapter in the saga of Clevver, the entertainment/lifestyle YouTube network marooned by the shuttering of former parent Defy Media and subsequently snapped up by Hearst Magazines. Two of the principal creatives behind Clevver — Joslyn Davis and Lily Marston — together with Clevver Media co-founder Jorge Maldonado have launched Shared Media, their [...]

  • Money-Diaries-Refinery29

    Refinery29 to Produce Interactive Series Funded by Eko (EXCLUSIVE)

    Refinery29 has been bitten by the “Bandersnatch” bug. The millennial-female-focused digital media and entertainment company inked a pact with Eko, an interactive-video platform developer whose backers include Walmart, to produce several “choose-your-own-adventure”-style series based on Refinery29 content properties. The companies have started development on their first project: an interactive scripted adaptation of Refinery29’s popular “Money [...]

  • Dan Howell

    YouTube Star Dan Howell Comes Out as Gay: 'It Gets So Much Better'

    It’s Pride Month, and popular YouTube vlogger Dan Howell had a message for fans that he’d been working on for a year: “Basically, I’m Gay,” he shared in a video Thursday. In the 45-minute video, Howell discussed coming to terms with his sexual orientation and his thoughts on labels that people use to define themselves [...]

  • Netflix Expands Korean Content Commitment

    Netflix Expands Korean Content Commitment as Industry Deepens

    Global streaming giant, Netflix is expanding its involvement in the Korean film and TV industries by greenlighting several new shows and renewing others. “When we started three years ago, we had a high degree of confidence that Korean drama would work well in Asia, but we had no internal metrics of our own,” Korean content [...]

  • Instagram Logo

    Instagram Outage: Facebook’s Photo Sharing Service Went Down For Multiple Hours

    Instagram faced another major outage Thursday afternoon, with users from around the world reporting that they weren’t able to access Facebook’s photo sharing service via its app and website. An Instagram spokesperson told Variety around 5pm PT that the issue had been resolved: “Earlier today, a technical issue caused some people to have trouble accessing [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content