From little things, big things grow. With a little magic dust, Merlin did just that.

Its team, and its distributions are growing. The digital rights agency for the independent music community last August announced it had paid out its billionth dollar (AUS$1.25 billion) to its members. And after striking “landmark” deals earlier this year with Chinas’s NetEase, Alibaba and Tencent, those numbers should go north.

Guided by its Australian-born CEO Charles Caldas, the not-for-profit Merlin was presented to the industry as the “virtual fifth major” in January 2007 and launched for business in May 2008.

Ten years in a tech-disrupted world is a lifetime. EMI, one of the big four music majors, is long gone. And Merlin has flourished.

Today, it represents more than 20,000 indie labels and distributors in upwards of 50 territories, who collectively account for an estimated 12 percent of the global digital music market.

The organisation has offices in London, New York and Tokyo, with a head office in Amsterdam and, in recent days, added three staff to its 21-strong team (Marta de la Hoz joins as Head of Reporting, Chaida Kapfunde as Head of Technology & Development, and Quentin Martins as Member Operations Manager).

TIO caught up with Caldas to talk Merlin as the indie organisation celebrates a milestone anniversary.