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Akira Nomoto appointed as General Manager, Merlin Japan

• Spotify Japan’s former Director of Licensing and Label Relations to spearhead expansion of Merlin’s activities

• Kaoruko Hill promoted to Head of Member Services and Operations for Merlin Japan Merlin, the global music rights agency representing the independent record label sector, is delighted to announce the appointment of Akira Nomoto as full-time General Manager, Merlin Japan.

Effective immediately, Akira will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the agency’s global membership in what is the world’s second largest music market.

Most recently employed at Spotify Japan, where over the course of six years he graduated from Head of Artist & Label Marketing to become Director of Licensing and Label Relations, Akira previously led Apple’s Label Relations & Music Programming initiatives in the territory.

Despite music streaming being at a comparatively early stage of adoption, the Japanese market recently passed a digital tipping point, with streaming revenues overtaking download revenues for the first time. (Source:

At the October 2018 Tokyo International Music Market (TIMM) conference, Merlin revealed that distributions to Japan-based members had increased 200% year-on-year.

Akira takes over from Haji Taniguchi who, alongside Kaoruko Hill, established Merlin’s Tokyo office in October 2016.

In recognition of her contribution to Merlin’s successful entry into the Japanese market, and her expertise in all areas of music rights and licensing, Kaoruko is today promoted to an expanded role as Head of Member Services and Operations for Merlin Japan.

Charles Caldas, CEO, Merlin, said: “I am delighted to welcome Akira to the Merlin team, and to recognise Kaoruko’s ongoing contribution to our business. Their unrivalled experience will help Merlin’s expanding Japanese membership capitalise on the continued consumer adoption of music streaming, and boost our long-term commitment to the region.

“Similarly, at a time of significant market change, their presence on the ground ensures Merlin’s global network of labels and distributors has the strongest possible representation. There is nobody who better understands the Japanese music market.

“I would also like to acknowledge the role of Haji Taniguchi in establishing Merlin’s presence in Japan. Alongside Kaoruko, Haji played a lynchpin role since October 2016. We wish him all the best for the future, and look forward to accelerated growth as the Japanese market flourishes.”

Akira Nomoto, GM, Merlin Japan, added: “For artists and labels, streaming services have made it easier to connect with audiences from all over the world. Japan is not immune to these trends, and there is now a huge opportunity for Japanese independent labels to expand their business globally as the market shifts from ownership to access.

“I am very happy to be a part of this change, and look forward to working with Merlin members to reshape and build this new era.”

Since commencing operations in May 2008, Merlin has licensed over 25 key digital services including Facebook, YouTube Music, Spotify, Deezer, Pandora, Alibaba, NetEase and Tencent, and has reached a number of high value copyright infringement settlements on behalf of its members.

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