Merlin: one to watch?

A RECENT development in another industry that relies on a lot of freelances could have implications for freelance journalists.

Eighty per cent of the global recorded music market is operated by four big players - Sony, Universal, EMI and Warner. The other 20 per cent is made of yet-uncounted thousands of independents, some of whom are artists running his or her own business from his or her bedroom.

Earlier this year, non-profit organisation Merlin was set up to represent independents who become members of the organisation in negotiations on uses of their work such as music downloads.

Merlin sidesteps the usual channels such as distributors and collecting societies. Such a model might also work for freelance journalists who face similar problems in getting the money due to them for the various different uses and re-uses of their work.

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