Merlin, the global digital rights agency for the world’s independent label sector, has today announced its new CEO.

Jeremy Sirota comes from Facebook’s Music Team, where he led the company’s efforts to license and acquire recorded music rights from independent record labels and distributors. This enabled social music features across Facebook, Instagram, Oculus and Messenger.

Before Facebook, Sirota was SVP and Head of Business & Legal Affairs for both Warner-Elektra-Atlantic (WEA), Warner’s artist and label services division, and Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA), Warner’s indie distribution arm.

During his time at ADA, Jeremy Sirota worked with indie partners like Beggars Group, BMG, Dim Mak, Domino, Dualtone, Epitaph, Merge, Nettwerk, Partisan, Polyvinyl, Sub Pop, Tommy Boy and Triple Crown.

Sirota also helped to establish Level Music, WMG’s distribution platform for self-releasing artists.

Prior to his work at Facebook and Warner Music Group, Sirota was an Associate at Morrison & Forster, LLP, New York, in their Technology Transactions Group. He is currently a mentor to the TechStars Music Accelerator Program.

Jeremy Sirota, CEO, Merlin, said:

“I am honoured by this opportunity to lead Merlin and serve independents throughout the world. Merlin’s team of executives and employees are widely respected throughout the music and DSP communities, and I look forward to working closely with them to write the next chapter. With the digital music market potentially on the brink of another wave of transformative change, it’s vital that independents continue to have an organization that represents their interests, ensures the value of their repertoire is respected, and keeps pace with innovation.”

Last June, as reported by TIO, Australian-born expat Charles Caldas announced he was stepping down as CEO of Merlin at the end of 2019. Caldas served as Merlin’s CEO since the agency’s founding in 2007.

With Caldas in the drivers’ seat, Merlin forged landmark deals with the likes of Spotify, YouTube, Deezer, SoundCloud, Pandora and Facebook, and inked strategic non-exclusive licensing partnerships in China with NetEase Cloud Music, Ali Music Group and Tencent Music Entertainment.

Merlin’s senior management team is completed by Charlie Lexton (CCO) and Helen Alexander (CFO), both based in the UK, and Jim Mahoney (VP Global Operations) in the US. In addition to Sirota’s appointment, Dave Hansen will move into a new role as Executive Chairperson.

Hansen, former GM, Epitaph Records, said:

“Having committed to an incredibly rigorous and wide-reaching search, Merlin has found an exceptional individual to lead the organisation forward. In addition to his experience at Facebook, Jeremy brings a deep-seated knowledge of independent music and a reputation for embracing new, exciting and transformational technologies. We believe he can build on the groundbreaking work of Charles Caldas and ensure Merlin’s membership continues to thrive in a global digital music market.”

Martin Mills, Merlin board member and Beggars Group chairman, said:

“I’m delighted that we’ve found in Jeremy an executive with deep experience in both the tech and music worlds to build upon Charles Caldas’ exceptional work. He has all the credentials to help write Merlin’s next chapter. With our new CEO, the right executive team, and a strong, newly-elected board, Merlin will continue to thrive and empower independents in this new decade.”

Merlin is also announcing today the results of its biennial board elections, with eight new executives joining the organisation’s 15-member board.

Merlin’s board is divided into three territorial blocs with equal representation given to North America, Europe and ROW.

In first name alphabetical order, the full Merlin board is as follows:

North America

Alexandria Hock, Better Noise Music (US)
Darius Van Arman, Secretly Group (US)
Justin West, Secret City Records (Canada)
Katie Alberts, Reach Records (US)
Marie Clausen, Ninja Tune (US)
Europe

Emmanuel De Buretel, Because Group (France)
Horst Weidenmueller, !K7 Records (Germany)
Martin Mills, Beggars Group (UK)
Michel Lambot, PIAS Group (Belgium)
Pieter van Rijn, FUGA (Netherlands)

ROW

Carlos Mills, Mills Records (Brazil)
Chan Kim, FLUXUS (South Korea)
Masahiro “Jack” Oishi, Danger Crue (Japan)
Merida Sussex, Stolen Recordings (Australia)
Michael Ugwu, Freeme Digital (Nigeria)

Merlin’s Advisory Board is:

Chris Maund (Mushroom Group)
Jason Peterson (Cinq Music)
Nando Luaces (Altafonte Network)
Paul Hitchman (AWAL)