Mechanical Licensing Collective Distributes First Royalty Payments & You Can Collect Your Share Today
The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) has completed its first-ever monthly distribution of mechanical royalties, which is a result of the new blanket license established by the Music Modernization Act of 2018 (MMA). The ball got rolling in February 2021 when digital service providers (DSPs) began reporting their streaming and download usage numbers for the previous month to the Mechanical Licensing Collective.
The organization’s first calculation of royalties, which totaled more than $53 million, includes royalties distributed to MLC creator members and rights holders, funds that have been matched to the appropriate musical work but remained unclaimed, and unmatched money. After accounting for $13 million in matched royalties covered by preexisting voluntary licensing agreements, the MLC collected $40 million in direct payments on behalf of registered songwriters and composers in January 2021, and disbursed $24 million to members. Of the $16.4 million in remaining collected funds, $11 million are unmatched funds, and $4.9 million are matched but unclaimed. The remaining $500,000 are on legal hold.
To ensure that any unclaimed and unmatched mechanical royalties end up where they belong, the Recording Academy encourages all self-administered or self-published songwriters to join The MLC as a member and register their songs, which can be done here. And all songwriters should sign up to use The MLC portal and make sure the data related to their work is accurate.
The MLC has also provided resources for songwriters and publishers to use to help ensure that it has correct data: the Data Quality Initiative (DQI) and the Music Data Organization Form. These tools are intended to help creators “organize and prepare their musical works’ data.” Through the DQI, the MLC provides reports to participants that highlight discrepancies in order to deliver more accurate and quality data in the future.
This is all in an effort to help the owners of musical works “Play Your Part” to receive their funds fairly and expediently. The portal is available to a wide range of creators—from publishers to administrators to foreign collective management organizations, or CMOs.
The Recording Academy has long been engaged in the process of establishing and launching The MLC since the passage of the MMA, and recently hosted an educational webinar with Recording Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO Harvey Mason jr., MLC CEO Kris Ahrend and songwriter Tayla Parx.
More information on when to expect future royalty distributions—and how they may be adjusted in the future—can be found here. Also worth reading is the FAQ page on the MLC website, which breaks down the details of the royalty distribution process, including information on royalty rates and terms.