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STOMP Independent of the Year Award 2019

Dutch trade association STOMP has awarded Charles Caldas Independent of the Year 2019 to honor him for his great work for independents in his role as CEO of Merlin, the global rights agency for the independent label sector.

Kees van Weijen, president of STOMP and IMPALA: ‘Charles has played a significant role in the evolution of the record industry from physical to digital products, from the outset. Especially by defending independent label rights and striving for a same level playing field, Charles has been of great value. Led by Charles, the independent music sector now has a big market share in the digital world.”

Statement of the STOMP Board

As CEO, Charles Caldas has been a key figure for Merlin and its independent members for over a decade. Since the very beginning of the agency, Charles has been a driving force, making an immense contribution to Merlin’s success.”

During Charles’ time at Merlin, the record industry evolved to embrace music streaming as a new format. Merlin has made deals with numerous key digital services like Spotify, YouTube Music, Facebook, Deezer, Alibaba, NetEase, Tencent and many more. During his 12 years as CEO, Caldas has connected nearly 900 members, based in 66 different countries, to Merlin. The agency now embodies more than 20,000 independent record labels and distributors.

Charles has played a huge role in protecting the rights of independent record labels and creating a level playing field. Led by Charles, the independent sector now enjoys a considerable share of the digital music market. The STOMP board has no doubt that Charles Caldas is the right person to receive the STOMP Independent of the Year Award 2019.”

Merlin CEO Charles Caldas: “It’s a true honour to receive this award from STOMP, who have been such great supporters of Merlin from the very early days, and such an important force in advocating for and educating Dutch independents in this ever-changing market. Thank you!”

About the STOMP Independent of the Year Award

The STOMP board invoked the Independent of the Year Award aiming to widely recognize the work of a person or an organization in the independent music industry in the past year. The STOMP board decides on who is to be awarded.

The STOMP Independent of the Year award was awarded for the first time in 2017. Dutch independent label Rotterdam Airlines was being awarded and praised for their strong hold on the Dutch spoken hip-hop and urban music genre, challenging the majors who try to dominate the genre in the Dutch market. In 2018, Helen Smith was awarded the STOMP Independent of the Year Award for her work for independent labels in Europe as Executive Chair of IMPALA.

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