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About

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) was designated by the U.S. Register of Copyrights in July 2019 pursuant to the Music Modernization Act of 2018. The MLC is responsible for administering the new blanket compulsory license for the use of musical works by digital music services. As of January 2021, ...

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Emily Morrone
646-921-0440

Current News

  • 04/30/202404/30/2024

The MLC Seeking Suggestions for Board of Directors and Advisory Committee Candidates

NASHVILLE, TN – The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) is accepting suggestions of Publisher candidates for its Board of Directors and Unclaimed Royalties Oversight, Dispute Resolution and Operations Advisory committees. Under the Music Modernization Act (MMA), certain governance positions at The MLC are reserved for representatives of Publishers. The terms of several Publisher seats on the Board and the organization’s advisory committees are slated to end later this...

Press

  • Bloomberg, Feature story, 05/16/2024, Spotify Accused in Suit of Cheating Songwriters Out of Royalties Text
  • TIME Magazine, Feature story, 05/17/2024, A New Lawsuit Accuses Spotify of Cheating Songwriters Out of Royalties Text
  • Reuters, Feature story, 05/17/2024, Spotify sued over millions in allegedly unpaid music royalties Text
  • Bloomberg Law, Feature story, 05/17/2024, Spotify Hit With Royalties Lawsuit From Licensing Collective Text
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News

04/30/2024, The MLC Seeking Suggestions for Board of Directors and Advisory Committee Candidates
04/30/202404/30/2024, The MLC Seeking Suggestions for Board of Directors and Advisory Committee Candidates
Announcement
04/30/2024
Announcement
04/30/2024
The MLC is accepting suggestions of Publisher candidates for its Board of Directors, Unclaimed Royalties Oversight Committee, Dispute Resolution Committee and Operations Advisory Committee. MORE» More»

NASHVILLE, TN – The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) is accepting suggestions of Publisher candidates for its Board of Directors and Unclaimed Royalties Oversight, Dispute Resolution and Operations Advisory committees. Under the Music Modernization Act (MMA), certain governance positions at The MLC are reserved for representatives of Publishers. The terms of several Publisher seats on the Board and the organization’s advisory committees are slated to end later this year.  

 

Elections to determine who will fill the open Board seats will be held this summer. Board and committee members sit for three-year terms and may be re-elected. Seats are filled pursuant to The MLC’s Bylaws.

 

There are openings on the Board of Directors for two (2) Publisher representatives. Under The MLC’s Bylaws, a “Publisher” means a music publisher to which songwriters have assigned exclusive rights of reproduction and distribution of musical works with respect to Covered Activities. “Covered Activities” means the making of digital phonorecord deliveries of musical works, including in the form of permanent downloads, limited downloads, or interactive streams, where such activity qualifies for a compulsory license under Section 115 of the U.S. Copyright Act.

 

The openings on The MLC’s advisory committees are as follows:

 

  • Two (2) Publisher seats on the Unclaimed Royalties Oversight Committee, which recommends policies and procedures to The MLC’s Board related to the distribution of unclaimed accrued royalties; 

  • Two (2) Publisher seats on the Dispute Resolution Committee, which recommends policies and procedures to the Board for the processing of royalties related to works that are subject to disputes over ownership; and 

  • Two (2) Publisher seats on the Operations Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the Board concerning the operations of The MLC, including the efficient investment in and deployment of information technology and data resources. 

The MLC’s Board of Directors and committees meet regularly, and all meetings allow for virtual participation such that travel is not generally required. Members are expected to devote sufficient time to prepare for and participate fully in all meetings. More information on The MLC’s Board of Directors and advisory committees can be found here.

Suggestions should be made no later than May 31, 2024. To suggest a candidate for a Publisher representative seat to The MLC’s Board or committees, please complete the suggestion form available here. 

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About the Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC)       

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) was designated by the U.S. Register of Copyrights in July 2019 pursuant to the Music Modernization Act of 2018. The MLC is responsible for administering the blanket compulsory license for the use of musical works by digital music services. Since January 2021, The MLC has achieved total royalties distributed of more than $2 billion, at no cost to songwriters or music publishers.    

  

The MLC is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of songwriters and representatives of music publishers. For more background on The MLC and its Board and Committee members, go to www.themlc.com 

 
Announcement
04/30/2024

04/03/2024, The MLC Reaches Milestone of $2B in Total Royalties Distributed; Files Initial Submission for Periodic Review of Designation
04/03/202404/03/2024, The MLC Reaches Milestone of $2B in Total Royalties Distributed; Files Initial Submission for Periodic Review of Designation
Announcement
04/03/2024
Announcement
04/03/2024
As part of the Register of Copyrights’ five-year periodic review of the designation of The MLC and DLC, The MLC files a submission highlighting key accomplishments in its first three years of full operations, including more than $2 billion in total royalties distributed. MORE» More»

NASHVILLE, TN – The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) announced that its total royalties distributed have now exceeded $2 billion. The MLC reached this significant milestone in just over three years since beginning full operations. The MLC has now successfully completed 36 monthly royalty distributions to date, every one of which has been on time or early. 

The MLC also announced that it filed its initial submission to the United States Copyright Office in connection with the first periodic review of the designation of The MLC and Digital Licensee Coordinator (DLC) by the Register of Copyrights. The Music Modernization Act (MMA) of 2018 requires the Register to review the designations of The MLC and DLC once every five years. The next step in this periodic review process will be a public comment period. The deadline for members of the public to submit their initial comments is May 29, 2024. As a non-profit organization committed to serving its members, The MLC has consistently sought feedback from its members throughout the first three years of its operations. The MLC looks forward to receiving additional feedback from those individuals and organizations that choose to file comments and welcomes the participation of its stakeholders in the public comment process.     

The MLC serves as the statutory mechanical licensing collective envisioned in the MMA. The MLC is responsible for administering the blanket compulsory mechanical license available to eligible streaming and download services (DSPs) in the United States that was created according to the MMA. The Register originally designated The MLC and DLC in July of 2019. 

During the initial designation process, The MLC was the only entity that met all of the criteria established by the MMA to qualify for designation to serve as the statutory mechanical licensing collective. The MMA states that the collective must be:

  1. a nonprofit entity, not owned by any other entity, that is created by copyright owners to carry out its statutory responsibilities;

  2. endorsed by, and receive substantial support from, musical work copyright owners that together represent the majority of the market; and

  3. able to demonstrate to the Register that the entity has the administrative and technological capabilities necessary to carry out a wide array of responsibilities associated with administering the blanket license.

As part of its initial submission in the current periodic review of designation process, The MLC stated that it has once again successfully met each of these criteria in its first three years of operation. The MLC maintains its status as a nonprofit organization, which is funded entirely by DSPs at no cost to songwriters or music publishers. Additionally, The MLC has received endorsements from owners of musical copyrights representing the overwhelming majority of the market. Finally, The MLC has demonstrated that it possesses the administrative and technological capabilities necessary to carry out all of its responsibilities under the MMA, including enabling more than 50 DSPs to secure the compulsory blanket license, establishing a public database of musical works ownership data that now contains data for more than 35 million songs, conducting extensive outreach and educational activities that have enabled The MLC to enroll more than 38,000 members based throughout the United States and around the world, and building a royalty distribution process that has enabled The MLC to complete 36 on-time monthly royalty distributions and achieve total royalties distributed of more than $2 billion. 

“We welcome this periodic review of The MLC’s designation as required by the MMA and view this as yet another valuable opportunity to surface feedback from the members we serve,” says The MLC’s CEO, Kris Ahrend. “We are proud of the many milestones we have achieved since launching The MLC’s full operations, particularly the milestone of exceeding $2 billion in total royalties distributed. Our team has worked incredibly hard to realize the revolutionary vision Congress set out in the Music Modernization Act. We are committed to continuing to improve upon the successes we have achieved to date, in order to serve our members even better over the next five years.” 

 

In addition to the accomplishments highlighted above, The MLC has matched over 90% of the mechanical royalties it has received to musical works in its public database, and The MLC has effectively illuminated the “black box” for digital audio mechanicals by giving members the ability to search all of its data for the remaining unmatched royalties and propose matches of those unmatched royalties to the works they have registered using The MLC’s Matching Tool. The MLC’s public database search tool allows anyone to search the ownership data The MLC has compiled for the more than 35 million works, completely free of charge. The MLC also has a world-class support team that provides live, one-on-one support to its members and prospective members 10 hours a day, five days a week, via phone, e-mail or chat. 

While the blanket license The MLC administers is only available to eligible services operating in the United States, The MLC is charged with finding and paying rightsholders wherever in the world they are located. To do that, The MLC has established membership connections with more than 100 collective management organizations (CMOs) around the world that represent songwriters and publishers located in nearly 130 countries. Rightsholders based outside the United States have registered more than 10 million works in The MLC’s database, accounting for nearly one-third of the works in the database.  

The public can file comments on The MLC’s and DLC’s submissions by May 29, 2024, and can reply to other initial public comments by June 28, 2024. The MLC and DLC will have the ability to file replies to the comments by July 29, 2024.  For more information about the periodic review process or to learn how to submit comments, please click here

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About the Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC)     

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) was designated by the U.S. Register of Copyrights in July 2019 pursuant to the Music Modernization Act of 2018. The MLC is responsible for administering the blanket compulsory license for the use of musical works by digital music services. Since January 2021, The MLC has achieved total royalties distributed of more than $2 billion, at no cost to songwriters or music publishers.  

 

The MLC is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of songwriters and representatives of music publishers. For more background on The MLC and its Board and Committee members, go to www.TheMLC.com.   

 
Announcement
04/03/2024

02/22/2024, The MLC Announces Six Advisory Committee Appointments
02/22/202402/22/2024, The MLC Announces Six Advisory Committee Appointments
Announcement
02/22/2024
Announcement
02/22/2024
Songwriter David “DQ” Quiñones, Consuelo Sayago of Spirit Music Group and Matthew Skiba of Vydia appointed to Dispute Resolution Committee; Lidia Kim of Concord Music Publishing appointed to Operations Advisory Committee; Songwriter “Bruce” Waynne Nugent MORE» More»

NASHVILLE, TN – The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) announced six appointments to the organization’s advisory committees, including three appointments to the Dispute Resolution Committee, one appointment to the Operations Advisory Committee and two appointments to the Unclaimed Royalties Oversight Committee

Dispute Resolution Committee

Songwriter, David “DQ” Quiñones, has been appointed to the Dispute Resolution Committee, to fill a songwriter seat. Quiñones attended Shenandoah Conservatory for music education and opera studies before attending Berklee College of Music where he studied music production and engineering. He has an extensive studio resume in vocal production and arrangements and has written most notably for Beyoncé, BTS, Brandy, The Pussycat Dolls, Enrique Iglesias and Nicki Minaj. 

Consuelo Sayago (Industry Relations Advisor at Spirit Music Group) has been appointed to the Dispute Resolution Committee. Sayago is a seasoned music industry professional who has dedicated her career to championing the rights of creators. With a background in contract administration at BMI and EMI and most recently serving as Vice President, Global Administration at Spirit Music, she has played a pivotal role in working with CMOs worldwide to form equitable standards and alliances.

Matthew Skiba (Vice President, Rights and Content at Vydia) has been appointed to the Dispute Resolution Committee. Skiba brings a wealth of knowledge to the committee from his role at Vydia, where he’s held positions in digital rights management. Previously, Skiba worked in publishing administration and infringement claims at The Royalty Network, Inc., managing settlement agreements for mechanical and sync infringements.

The Dispute Resolution Committee makes recommendations to the Board on policies and procedures for the processing of royalties related to works that are subject to disputes over ownership and is comprised of five songwriters and five representatives of music publishers.

Operations Advisory Committee

Lidia Kim (Vice President, Legal and Business Affairs at Concord Music Publishing) has been appointed to the Operations Advisory Committee. Leveraging a rich background in the legal industry, Lidia oversees the digital business and legal affairs for Concord Music Publishing, advising company executives and internal departments on global digital and catalog matters, and managing the global digital licensing network, DSP relations and mass copyright litigation and other new media rights enforcement matters. Her expertise extends to managing business affairs as well as drafting and negotiating agreements with both emerging and established talents, including artists, songwriters and contemporary classical composers.

As described in the Music Modernization Act of 2018, The MLC’s Operations Advisory Committee makes recommendations to the Board on policies and procedures related to the operations of the Collective, including the efficient investment in and deployment of information technology and data resources. It is comprised of six representatives of music publishers and six representatives of digital music providers.

Unclaimed Royalties Oversight Committee

Songwriter, “Bruce” Waynne Nugent, has been appointed to the Unclaimed Royalties Oversight Committee, filling one of the five songwriter seats. With over two decades of experience in the music industry, working at the intersection of entertainment and technology, Nugent brings a vast array of knowledge in music production and A&R, co-producing for artists like Frank Ocean, Justin Bieber and Nelly. 

Dale Esworthy (Executive Vice President, Worldwide Administration at Sony Music Publishing), who previously held a position on the Operations Advisory Committee has also been appointed to the Unclaimed Royalties Oversight Committee. In his position, Esworthy manages all administration operations for the company across its network of 38 offices in 24 countries, including copyright, royalty administration, tracking and other client services.

The Unclaimed Royalties Oversight Committee recommends policies and procedures to The MLC’s Board related to the distribution of unclaimed accrued royalties and is comprised of five songwriters and five representatives of music publishers.

Committee appointments are for three-year terms. Alisa Coleman, Board Chair states: “The MLC Board and its nominating committee appreciate all the submissions by writers and publishers who want to do their part by working with The MLC on these important committees. In reviewing and interviewing the many applicants, the Board has chosen those who we believe will best contribute to the diversity and knowledge of the existing committees.” 

More information on The MLC’s Board of Directors and three advisory committees can be found here.
 

# # # 

About the Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC)    

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) was designated by the U.S. Register of Copyrights in July 2019 pursuant to the Music Modernization Act of 2018. The MLC is responsible for administering the blanket compulsory license for the use of musical works by digital music services. Since January 2021, The MLC has processed and distributed mechanical royalties from streaming in the U.S. at no cost to songwriters or music publishers.    

    
The MLC is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of songwriters and representatives of music publishers. For more background on The MLC and its Board and Committee members, go to www.TheMLC.com.  

 
Announcement
02/22/2024

02/12/2024, The Mechanical Licensing Collective Brings Legal Action for Unpaid Royalties Against Pandora Media, LLC
02/12/202402/12/2024, The Mechanical Licensing Collective Brings Legal Action for Unpaid Royalties Against Pandora Media, LLC
Announcement
02/12/2024
Announcement
02/12/2024
The Mechanical Licensing Collective Brings Legal Action for Unpaid Royalties Against Pandora Media, LLC Complaint asserts Pandora has underpaid The MLC for multiple years of royalties due under the compulsory mechanical blanket license. MORE» More»

The Mechanical Licensing Collective Brings Legal Action for Unpaid Royalties Against Pandora Media, LLC

Complaint asserts Pandora has underpaid The MLC for multiple years of royalties due under the compulsory mechanical blanket license. 

 

NASHVILLE, TN – The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) announced today that it has filed a legal action against music streaming platform Pandora Media, LLC (Pandora) in the United States District Court located in Nashville. The action seeks recovery of unpaid royalties and late fees due under the compulsory mechanical blanket license obtained by Pandora to reproduce and distribute musical works in the United States via its consumer music streaming platform. 

The MLC was appointed by the Register of Copyrights to administer the blanket license and is the only entity authorized to collect and distribute the license royalties and enforce the license obligations on behalf of rightsholders. The action asserts that Pandora has underreported and underpaid mechanical royalties due in connection with the operation of its ad-supported music streaming offering marketed as “Pandora Free.” The action further explains that Pandora Free is an interactive service under the law, meaning that mechanical royalties are due for all streaming activity on the service, yet Pandora has only reported a portion of the activity on Pandora Free and refused to report and pay mechanical royalties for the rest of the activity.  

“The MLC has worked closely and tirelessly with blanket licensees to ensure their compliance with the compulsory license terms. Our team repeatedly sought to resolve this issue directly with Pandora, but Pandora has refused to correct their reporting or royalty payments,” says The MLC’s CEO, Kris Ahrend. “The MLC is the only entity that has the statutory authority under the Music Modernization Act to take legal steps to enforce the obligations of streaming services. We have brought this action to ensure that our Members receive all the mechanical royalties they are due in connection with the use of their songs by Pandora on the Pandora Free service.”

The MLC seeks corrected usage reporting and associated unpaid royalties and late fees for periods dating back to January 1, 2021, along with an order requiring compliance going forward. A copy of the complaint can be found here.

# # #

    

About the Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC)    

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) was designated by the U.S. Register of Copyrights in July 2019 pursuant to the Music Modernization Act of 2018. The MLC is responsible for administering the blanket compulsory license for the use of musical works by digital music services. Since January 2021, The MLC has processed and distributed mechanical royalties from streaming in the U.S. at no cost to songwriters or music publishers.    

    
The MLC is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of songwriters and representatives of music publishers. For more background on The MLC and its Board and Committee members, go to www.TheMLC.com.  

 
Announcement
02/12/2024

01/30/2024, The Register of Copyrights Begins Periodic Review of the Designation of The MLC and DLC
01/30/202401/30/2024, The Register of Copyrights Begins Periodic Review of the Designation of The MLC and DLC
Announcement
01/30/2024
Announcement
01/30/2024
The Register of Copyrights Begins Periodic Review of the Designation of The MLC and DLC In accordance with the Music Modernization Act, the Register must review the designation of The MLC and DLC every five years, beginning in 2024. MORE» More»
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd">

The Register of Copyrights Begins Periodic Review of the Designation of The MLC and DLC

In accordance with the Music Modernization Act, the Register must review the designation of The MLC and DLC every five years, beginning in 2024. 

 

NASHVILLE, TN – The Register of Copyrights has begun the periodic review of the designation of the Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) and the Digital Licensee Coordinator (DLC). The MLC serves as the statutory collective established under the Music Modernization Act (MMA) of 2018 to administer the blanket compulsory mechanical license available to eligible streaming and download services (DSPs) in the United States. The DLC, also established under the MMA, serves as the representative of DSPs in matters related to the administration of the blanket license. The Register originally designated The MLC and DLC in 2019.

 

The MMA requires the Register to initiate the periodic review of designation of The MLC and DLC by publishing a notice in the Federal Register. A notice has been published in the Federal Register and will be published every five years in January, beginning this year.

During the initial designation process in 2019, The MLC was the only entity that met all of the criteria established by the MMA to qualify for the designation. This year, in the fourth year of operations, The MLC has distributed nearly $1.7 billion in royalties since the first royalty distribution in April 2021. Since then, The MLC has continued to distribute monthly royalty distributions, all of which have been on time or early.

“We welcome the announcement of the Register of Copyrights commencing the first review of The MLC’s designation as required by the MMA,” says The MLC’s CEO, Kris Ahrend. “We are confident that this review will confirm that The MLC continues to meet all of the criteria set out in the MMA, while affording us the opportunity to highlight the many successes our team and our stakeholders have achieved since launching The MLC’s full operations.”

The Register allows The MLC and DLC to file a submission supporting the ongoing designation of each entity by April 1, 2024. The public can file comments on The MLC’s and DLC’s submissions by May 29, 2024, and can reply to other initial public comments by June 28, 2024. The MLC and DLC will have the ability to file replies to the comments by July 28, 2024.  

The Register is authorized to conduct additional proceedings as appropriate. The Register can continue the designation of The MLC or DLC or make a new designation of either entity. However, it cannot change the provisions of the MMA, the structure of governance that is set forth in the MMA, or the blanket license royalty rates or terms. After concluding the proceedings, the Register will publish a decision in the Federal Register together with the reasons for such decision.

For more information, visit www.themlc.com/designation

# # #     

    

About the Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC)    

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) was designated by the U.S. Register of Copyrights in July 2019 pursuant to the Music Modernization Act of 2018. The MLC is responsible for administering the blanket compulsory license for the use of musical works by digital music services. Since January 2021, The MLC has processed and distributed mechanical royalties from streaming in the U.S. at no cost to songwriters or music publishers.    

    
The MLC is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of songwriters and representatives of music publishers. For more background on The MLC and its Board and Committee members, go to www.TheMLC.com.  

 
Announcement
01/30/2024