One historical problem facing musicians at all levels of the industry is the lack of transparency in much accounting of sales and royalties. OTTO, by Ottomate, is one solution being taken up by indie labels and distributors for such purposes. Indie label rights agency Merlin just introduced a customized dashboard to make it easier for members to manage their business. This may sound like rather dry news to most but such efforts are really important for making sure everyone gets paid.
Merlin represents over 20,000 label members in areas such as digital music licensing and rights protection. That means they're also a major voice in negotiations with music streaming services so they play a role that goes beyond their immediate services.
Merlin turned to OTTO for business tools for its members and announced a new online dashboard, as well as a separate site and logo redesign, rolling out in time for Midem. The dashboard:
offers each member of the organisation a secure portal where they can manage all of their company information and details of their deal activity since the global rights agency launched for business in May 2008."
However such key components as royalty reporting, market analysis and financial statements" will be introduced over the course of the year.
Merlin's head of operations and member services, Tom Deakin, stated:
After all of the hard work designing this tool with OTTO, I'm excited to see the launch of the system to the labels and distributors we represent. Via this dashboard, we can significantly enhance the way we interact with our members."
While one could take this as a simple member features update the move to provide accurate and accountable reporting is worth noting. The history of the music industry is full of companies who profited from shady accounting and reports. So it's good to see Merlin efficiently opening things up.
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