On Jan. 1, 2021, the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) will begin administering the new blanket license available to interactive streaming and download services in the United States. The MLC will then collect mechanical royalties from those services and distribute those royalties to musical works copyright holders. All of this will happen in accordance with the Music Modernization Act (MMA) that was signed into law in 2018. The MLC is unique in that it will distribute 100% of royalties collected directly to publishers and songwriters without deducting an administration fee, as digital audio services are required under the MMA to pay for The MLC’s operational costs.
The nonprofit organization, based in Nashville and led by CEO Kris Ahrend, has been preparing for the Jan. 1 start date by developing ways for songwriters, publishers, and other musical works managers of all scopes to submit their musical works data to be collected and administered, by establishing and maintaining an extensive database of accurate copyright ownership information. The MLC will allow users to view and to update the musical works data that is used to pay them via its new online user portal.
“We recognize that songwriting is a creative exercise, not a data collection exercise,” Ahrend tells MusicRow. “We sought to create a user portal that puts songwriters and publishers in a position to manage and control their data to ensure they get paid properly.”