Charles Caldas


A paradigm shifter in the global independent music industry, Charles Caldas earned his reputation fighting to ensure artists share in the profits from the digital music revolution. Charles was chosen by the sector to fire up digital rights agency, Merlin, in the UK in 2007. For over 12 years, Charles was the CEO of the global not-for-profit enterprise, allowing independents to compete with the big multinational labels. Under his watch, Merlin grew to represent 20,000 independent record labels and distributors from 66 countries, successfully empowering artists, and helping to democratise the music industry for listeners. Charles struck deals with key digital services including Spotify, YouTube and Pandora, and by the end of 2019, Merlin had paid out over $2.5Bn to its members.

Since 2020, his industry leadership has continued as a partner in Exceleration Music, a new-generation global music company investing in the future of independent labels and artists, as well as a strategic advisor to organisations navigating the next phase of the evolution of the global digital entertainment marketplace. He also serves as a member of the Supervisory Board of Edel A.G., one of Europe’s leading independent media groups, based in Hamburg, Germany. Mr Caldas was twice featured, in 2018 and 2019, in the Billboard Magazine Power 100, recognising the world’s 100 most influential music industry executives as well as the Billboard International Power List in 2014 and 2017. Other industry awards include the “Outstanding Contribution Award” by pan-European music body IMPALA, the UK Association of Independent Music “Indie Champion”, STOMP Netherlands “Independent of the Year” and the AMAEI (Associação de Músicos Artistas Editoras Independentes) Portugal “Outstanding Contribution Award”.

A long-time champion of independent music in Australia, Charles is a Monash arts graduate, and spent more than 16 years at Australia’s largest independent label Shock, including nine as CEO. He previously served on the boards of the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR) and the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) and is in demand as a speaker at conferences around the globe. Charles is fluent in Portuguese and now lives in the country of his heritage in Lisbon, Portugal.