Merlin has announced the promotion of Charlie Lexton to the newly created role of chief operating officer.
Lexton now oversees a London-based team that includes Ryan McWhinnie, who has been promoted to senior director, business & legal affairs, and head of data analytics, Marta de la Hoz.
Lexton also provides management and support across Merlin’s broader global team. He will continue to lead Merlin’s licensing efforts with existing and new digital partners.
His expanded remit also includes management of Merlin’s data analytics practice, which assists in analysis for deal-making, produces pricing and benchmarking data, and explores genre, geographic and other trends.
In a statement, Merlin said that merging data analytics with business affairs will help the long-term commercial strategy and provide additional value to its indie label members.
Jeremy Sirota, CEO, Merlin, said: “Charlie is part of Merlin’s founding team and has been pivotal to Merlin’s success. His promotion to COO ensures he remains central to our future. In the current circumstances, I think that continuity is especially important, with digital revenues such a lifeline to independent music. Merlin’s commitment to paying its members quickly, accurately and efficiently is as resolute as ever, and our recent licensing partnerships with Boomplay and TikTok show how we can move fast to secure new and incremental business. Charlie’s long-standing commercial expertise will enable our members to adapt and thrive in these challenging times.”
Charlie is part of Merlin’s founding team and has been pivotal to Merlin’s success
Lexton added: “I’m delighted to confirm my move to COO. Since its first days, Merlin has provided independents with best-in-class digital licensing, providing them with the means to compete on a level playing field and better control their digital business. That mission has never been so important as it is today. I am particularly excited about expanding and developing Merlin’s data analytics practice and by merging data analytics with business affairs there is even greater potential to deliver innovative new deals, improved partnerships and business intelligence for our independent members around the world.”
Following stints at both majors (UMG, EMI) and independent labels (Dorado Records, City Rockers), Lexton joined Merlin as head of business affairs in 2008, taking on the additional role of general counsel two years later. He was elevated to chief commercial officer & general counsel in May 2018.
He has played a key role in securing licensing partnerships with Alibaba, Boomplay, Deezer, Facebook/Instagram, JioSaavn, NetEase, Pandora, SoundCloud, Spotify, Tencent, TikTok and YouTube Music.
New hires at Merlin include Shrina Patel, director, business & legal affairs, and Katie Eckett as manager, business & legal affairs. Patel, a former lawyer at the BPI, was previously at Universal Music as legal and business affairs manager, UK digital and commercial. Eckett was a senior business affairs manager at Kobalt.
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