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Merlin slams 'short-sighted' new streaming service, questions indie representation

Merlin slams 'short-sighted' new streaming service, questions indie representation

His comments follow the announcement of the new service aimed specifically at the mass-market who want an easier way to adopt digital music

rara.com has licensing agreements and vocal backing from all four majors, while at the same time claiming to have similar partnerships with "leading independent labels"

However, Caldas said: "I'd be surprised to see who those leading independent labels are. From our understanding, none of the key UK indies are on the service and we're not on the service, so I think I'd be asking them that question.

"I doubt whether any of them would have a deal with them. Again, we don't have a deal with them so that counts out Domino, Warp, Cooking Vinyl and a whole bunch of other ones. I'm sure PIAS and Beggars don't have a deal with them either from what I know."

Giving his wider thoughts on the service and what he sees as a lack of indie agreements, the Merlin CEO expressed disappointment.

"I am truly astounded that any company could still be so absurdly arrogant and short sighted as to ask consumers to spend good money on what is an incomplete and inherently inferior product to many that are already in the market," he said.

"Despite the fact that independents represent a third of the market and that the biggest artist in the world this year is released by an independent, we still see a service launched without a deal in place with the world's key indies as represented by Merlin - meaning the service will not feature some of the most important artists in the world.

"I am sure consumers won't be hoodwinked by more smoke and mirrors, not when there are comprehensive services available to them," Caldas concluded.

Update: Rob Lewis, Chairman of rara.com, has responded to Charles Caldas' comments saying, "We are surprised at some commentary suggesting that rara.com has deliberately not included the catalogues of certain independents in the global launch of rara.com today. This is not the case. rara.com has sought and is seeking to include every significant independent in the catalogue, giving independents access to the global scale rara.com offers. We look forward to continuing and concluding all such negotiations."

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