Mechanical Licensing Collective Webinar: 5 Things To Know About The MLC
At the top of 2021, creators across the nationwide music community will begin to receive more accurate, timely and transparent royalty payments thanks to the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC), an entity in charge of administering a new blanket mechanical license for streaming and download services. Established under the groundbreaking Music Modernization Act (MMA), which celebrated its second anniversary in October, the MLC will collect mechanical royalties from the streaming services and distribute them to songwriters, composers, lyricists and music publishers.
The Recording Academy understands the importance of the MLC to creators and is here to help our members receive the songwriter royalties they are entitled to from digital streaming services.
That's why we've put together a special webinar to address questions and concerns. Taking place Monday, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m. PT/3 p.m. CT/4 p.m. ET, Mechanical Licensing Collective CEO Kris Ahrend, hit songwriter and GRAMMY nominee Tayla Parx ("Thank U, Next," "High Hopes," "Love Lies"), producer/songwriter and Recording Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO Harvey Mason jr. and the Academy's Chief Advocacy Officer Daryl Friedman will engage in an informative conversation on the MLC.
Ahead of the Mechanical Licensing Collective Webinar next week, we've put together a helpful list of the five things you need to know about the MLC.
How Was It Created?
Putting music creators first, the MLC is one of the most significant accomplishments of the MMA, the monumental bill signed into law by President Trump on Oct. 11, 2018. Since then, the MMA has ushered in a new era of fair compensation for music makers, with some of the bill's reforms already benefitting music creators.
The Recording Academy, with the help of its thousands of members, played an integral role in the creation and passage of the law.
And the Recording Academy was instrumental in guiding the designation of the MLC, filing filed comments with the U.S. Copyright Office that called for additional information regarding accurate data matching and songwriter outreach to ensure every songwriter is properly paid for their work.
The Copyright Office ultimately designated the Mechanical Licensing Collective, Inc. (MLCI) as the overseeing entity managing the new blanket mechanical license and handling the royalty collection and distribution.
In making the designation, the Copyright Office recognized the Recording Academy's helpful input throughout the decision-making process, commending the Academy's thorough analysis of both proposals and fairly recommending the best proposition to the Copyright Office.
Who Leads the Collective?
Operating as a nonprofit, the MLC is funded by the major streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and Amazon Music, among others, which collectively granted $62 million in startup capital to the collective.
With a staff of 40, the MLC is led by CEO Kris Ahrend, a highly experienced music industry executive who'll spearhead the Recording Academy's MLC webinar next week.
As a Creator, How Will I Benefit?
Starting January 1, 2021, the MLC will administer a more efficient system that will ensure that all creators will get paid fairly and timely. Under the MLC, the new payment system will better identify, match and distribute unclaimed songwriter and publisher royalties and, with the help of the Recording Academy and the Copyright Office, will assist in songwriter outreach to ensure all creators receive what they are rightfully owed.
As the Library of Congress explains, the MLC will collect and distribute statutory mechanical royalties to copyright owners "when their work is streamed on interactive streaming services like Apple Music or Spotify, or sold on downloading services like Amazon Music."
Music creators will need to register their songs with the MLC in order to get paid, while "any unclaimed royalties can start being paid to copyright owners and songwriters of matched works according to each work's market share," according to the Library of Congress.
Learn more about how you can get paid via the forthcoming MLC system at the Recording Academy's Mechanical Licensing Collective Webinar next week.
Where Do These Royalties Come From?
The official MLC website provides a very helpful visual breakdown of how their new process will work in an effective and transparent manner.
Simply put, music streaming services operating under a blanket license from the MLC will be required to send monthly usage data files and the corresponding royalties to the MLC.
The MLC will then compute the royalties due for each work based on the usage data, which reflects streaming and download figures, it receives from the streaming services.
Important: In order to receive payments from the MLC, all music publishers and self-administered songwriters, composers, and lyricists will need to register with the MLC in order to access their data via the MLC Portal, your key to getting your royalties paid.
How To Get Ready?
Ahead of the MLC Portal rollout, the MLC has launched two initiatives, the Data Quality Initiative (DQI) and the Music Data Organization Form, to help creators "Play Your Part" and "organize and prepare their musical works' data" ahead of the launch of the portal, according to the MLC website.
Music publishers, administrators, self-administered songwriters and foreign collective management organizations (CMOs) can participate in the DQI, which will "help streamline the comparison of large schedules of musical works." For self-administered songwriters, composers and lyricists, the Music Data Organization Form will help organize your musical works' data ahead of the MLC Portal rollout.
Learn more about how you can join the MLC and "Play Your Part" as we head into the new MLC era of royalty payments next year.