Management reshuffle also sees ex-Epitaph GM Dave Hansen appointed executive chairperson and eight new execs added to Merlin board.
LONDON — Jeremy Sirota, a senior member of Facebook’s Music Team, has been appointed CEO of indie rights non-profit Merlin, succeeding Charles Caldas, who exited the organization Dec. 31 after more than 12 years at the helm.
Sirota takes up the post with immediate effect and will divide his time between Merlin’s offices in London and New York. Commenting on his appointment, Sirota said he was honored to “serve independents throughout the world” and write the next chapter in the global organization’s history.
The exec joins Merlin — which has distributed more than $2 billion to its almost 900 members since launching in 2008 — from Facebook Music, where he spent two years in the music business development and partnerships team as independent label lead, helping shape the company’s digital music strategy and licensing rights from indie labels and distributors around the world.
Prior to joining Facebook, Sirota spent almost nine years at Warner Music Group, rising to SVP and head of business and legal affairs for Warner-Elektra-Atlantic (WEA) and Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA).
During his time at Warner, Sirota is credited with negotiating commercial terms for some of the largest distribution deals in ADA’s history (representing $75 million in topline revenue, according to Sirota’s LinkedIn profile) and worked closely with the company’s roster of 200-plus label partners. He also helped establish Level Music, WMG’s distribution platform for self-releasing artists.
“I am committed to the importance of independents and their artists, but I carry a tech sensibility for nimbleness that will bring additional value to Merlin, our members and our partners,” Sirota tells Billboard.
“As we enter a new decade, we’ve already started to see signs that the digital ecosystem is in store for another generational shift in formats. New and different types of services are launching. Emerging markets are becoming established markets. And nascent markets are experimenting more than ever,” he goes on to say, vowing to use his experience in music rights, the indie sector and tech industry to “build new bridges between the worlds of music and technology, because I speak the language of both.”
“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,” said Beggars Group chairman and Merlin board member Martin Mills welcoming the new CEO.
Alongside Sirota’s appointment, Epitaph Records’ former general manager Dave Hansen moves into a new role as Merlin’s executive chairperson, joining the senior management team of Charlie Lexton (CCO) and Helen Alexander (CFO), both based in the U.K., and Jim Mahoney (VP Global Operations), based in the US.
The organization has also added new executives from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria, the Netherlands, North America and South Korea to its 15-member board.
The incoming board members are Alexandria Hock (Better Noise Music), Carlos Mills (Mills Records), Chan Kim (FLUXUS, Inc), Katie Alberts (Reach Records), Marie Clausen (Ninja Tune), Merida Sussex (Stolen Recordings), Michael Ugwu (Freeme Digital) and Pieter van Rijn (FUGA).
Since launching in 2008, Merlin has distributed over $2 billion to its almost 900 members, including more than 20,000 labels and distributors in over 60 countries that it says make up 12% of the global digital recorded-music market.