Merlin, the independent label master rights licensing agency that refers to itself as the fifth major, has reached a global licensing deal with YouTube.
Terms of the deal were not released, but the deal points have been published to its members, which have to opt in to be included under the agreement.
Merlin is a consortium of independent music labels that together represent 14000 artists including labels Merge Records, Warp Records, Epitaph, Naïve, Tommy Boy, One Little Indian, Yep Roc/Red Eye, Kontor New Media, Beggars Group, Sub-Pop, !K7, PIAS, Domino, Koch/E1 and others.
The agreement calls for Merlin's member labels to be paid out whenever their official videos or user-generated videos featuring their repertoire are played via the YouTube service, which pays royalties out of revenue generated by selling advertising. The major labels have had such deals in place for some time.
Merlin CEO Charles Caldas told Billboard.biz that YouTube is an important destination for music fans providing many promotional tools for record labels. He adds the agreement, also allows its member labels to build a premium monetization model at Youtube.