Merlin, the global digital rights agency for more than 20,000 independent labels, has opened a Japanese office. Symphonic Distribution is a member of Merlin and we credit them for the success of our YouTube and Soundcloud Monetization services.
Based in the Ebisu district of central Toyko, the move comes two years after Merlin launched its New York office.
The Tokyo HQ is being managed by Haji Taniguchi, formerly President of Avex Music Publishing Inc and one of the most experienced executives in the Japanese and Asian music business.
Japan, the world’s second largest recorded music market, stands at a crucial time in the development of its digital entertainment market.
According to MBW analysis of RIAJ stats, Japan’s total audio recorded music market was worth 113.45bn Yen ($1.12bn) in the first six months of this year.
Of that figure, 25.66bn Yen ($254m), or 22.6%, was made up of digital revenues, of which subscription streaming generated just 9.34bn Yen ($92.5m).
That subscription figure was only worth 8.2% of total revenues – but was up 85% year-on-year, and looks likely to rise following the invite-only launch of Spotify in the territory.
Haji Taniguchi, Merlin’s new General Manager, Japan added: “It is a hugely exciting time to be joining Merlin. Japan is the world’s second largest music market, with a vibrant independent sector and strong appetite for the artists that Merlin’s members represent.
“Coupled with this is the fact that the Asian market is in the midst of significant transition, with new streaming and subscription services launching and gaining traction. Having a permanent office in Japan will offer new opportunities to boost international trade, and for independent labels to grow and extend their digital business.”
Merlin’s 800-strong membership commands in excess of 12% of the global digital recorded music market across more than 20,000 labels, spanning 46 countries and all continents.
These include the likes of Beggars Group, Domino, Epitaph, Kobalt Label Services, Merge, Ninja Tune, [PIAS], Secretly Group and Warp Records.
On behalf of these members, Merlin has global licenses in place with the world’s leading new-generation music services, including Deezer, Google Play, KKBOX, Pandora, Soundcloud, Spotify and YouTube RED.
The organization has existing offices in London and New York, with a head office in Amsterdam.
Source: Music Business Worldwide