Spotify earlier this month signed a licensing deal with Universal Music Group that grants artists the right to keep their new albums off the free streaming tier for a period of up to two weeks after launch.
The idea is to encourage more users to make the jump to a premium (paying) subscription and thus, put more money in the pockets of both Spotify and record labels / artists (it also puts Spotify in a better position to go public).
Now, Spotify has inked a similar agreement with Merlin, the largest rights agency representing the independent sector.
Merlin, which has been with Spotify since it launched in 2008, is the streamer’s fourth largest partner. According to TechCrunch, Merlin represents around 20,000 independent labels and accounts for about 12 percent of the global recorded music market. It may not be as large as mainstream groups like Universal, Sony or Warner but with distribution across 51 countries, it’s still a significant player.
Spotify noted in the announcement that the agreement offers improved marketing and advertising opportunities for Merlin’s members as well as enhanced access to data. Merlin member labels can also participate in Spotify’s recently announced flexible release policy.
Merlin CEO Charles Caldas said the new agreement lays the path to future sustainable growth for both parties, adding that they look forward to remaining an integral part in the service’s continued success.
Speaking of success, Spotify said on Thursday that it now has more than 100 million active users and over 50 million paying subscribers across 60 global markets.