Rising Star is our monthly column in which we meet the industry’s brightest new talents. Here, Poppy Waring, manager, member and partner success, Merlin, talks us through her industry journey so far...
How did you get your first break in the music industry?
“At university, I dabbled in music journalism and ran our radio station, which involved securing funding for gear and mixing, scheduling and booking gigs. I started looking for ways into the industry after that and interned at the PR company Stereo Sanctity. After a few months going freelance, I interviewed at Merlin. I’ve been here for nearly six years and I’m so grateful to be in a place that allows me to be nerdy about the things I [love] and is so supportive of my learning.”
You are part of the international team working to strike deals with Merlin’s digital partners. What does your work look like day-to-day?
“My day-to-day [work] is focused on connecting the dots between our digital partners and our global members. A lot of what I spend my time trying to improve upon is getting information from our partners to our labels, as well as advocating our members’ needs. There are a lot of calls and I have regular meetings with DSP platforms where we get updates, problem solve and other things. Right now I’m also focused on building tools which make everyone’s lives a little easier – I’m getting to grips with Airtable and automations right now!”
You are also an artist yourself. How does that influence the decisions you make in your work at Merlin?
“It’s been interesting! It’s made me pay more attention to our analytics than I did before, especially when running marketing for [my band] Flirting. It’s also opened my eyes to how many sources of revenue there are and has given me a more global perspective on digital. Bringing the artist side to Merlin is fun, too – sometimes it means I have some practical experience with DSP tools, or with marketing strategies. Navigating the creative and the business sides can be strange; they can take different approaches on some issues, but I try my best to bridge the two where I can.”
In your opinion, what is the biggest area of concern for the industry right now? And what excites you?
“I’m excited by the new possibilities for incremental revenue streams and for more global scope – there are so many audiences out there. One of the challenges the industry is seeing is an increase in artificial streaming, whether that’s people generating streaming in a way that is artificial, or with artificially-generated tracks. Ensuring the rights of artists are protected, and that they are remunerated fairly, is paramount.”
With issues such as streaming remuneration and the growth of AI dominating the industry in recent years, how do you see the worlds of streaming and music licensing changing in the next five years?
“We’re already seeing a lot of discussion about ensuring that the use of AI impacting music moves forward in a way that is fair to all. And I think we are going to see more about what does or doesn’t infringe on copyright laws, as well as name and likeness licensing. I think we’ll most likely see more experimentation with different streaming models, too, and a wider expansion of platforms and sources of revenue for artists.”
POPPY’S RECOMMENDED TRACK: Yukihiro Takahashi – Extra-Ordinary