Chances are you’ve never heard of Charles Caldas, but he’s pretty much as important as Taylor Swift when it comes to streaming music. Bloomberg explains why.
Taylor Swift celebrated her victory over Apple on Thursday by saying she would add her newest album, 1989, to the company’s streaming music service. To the general listening public, Swift has become the primary voice of artist discontent with the brutal economics of digital music. Her ability to make the world’s most valuable company cower before her was a testament to her unique position in the music industry, and to the power of social media.
But Swift isn’t the only one punching above her weight in the music industry. This week, Apple also quietly negotiated for peace with Merlin, an organization that manages streaming rights for about 20,000 independent record labels covering bands including Vampire Weekend and Alabama Shakes. The Merlin deal is as much a lesson in the shifting power in the music industry in the age of streaming as Swift’s coup. And while Swift has loudly decried the ways that artists lose out in the digital marketplace, Merlin’s chief executive, Charles Caldas, sings a much different tune. He thinks the little guys are actually winning.