Independents’ music agency Merlin and YouTube today announced a global deal that will license repertoire from hundreds of labels to the YouTube service, effective immediately. The agreement covers thousands of acts, including Yeasayer, Antony and the Johnsons (pictured), Aphex Twin, Prodigy and Grizzly Bear.

The deal is the culmination of lengthy negotiations, which Merlin and YouTube said underscores YouTube’s commitment to the independent music sector as well as Merlin’s determination to secure competitive terms on behalf of its members. Among the independent labels involved in this deal are Earache, Secretly Canadian, Ninja Tune, Cooking Vinyl, Warp, Phonofile, Pschent, Morr Music, !K7 and Inertia.

“We’re continually looking for new ways to connect independent artists with their fans and we’re thrilled to have struck a deal with Merlin that will help us do just that, while compensating them for their efforts at the same time” Chris Maxcy, head of Global Music Partnerships at YouTube, said in a statement.

The agreement generates revenues to Merlin’s member labels whenever their official releases, or user-generated videos featuring their repertoire, are played via the YouTube service.

“We are very pleased to reach an agreement which will allow YouTube’s users to enjoy access to the many amazing artists that our labels represent,” Merlin chief operating officer Charles Caldas said in a statement.

Merlin has existing deals with a number of digital services including Rdio, Spotify, MySpace Music, Catch Media, Simfy, and Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity.

Related links: