Music Row: The MLC Crosses The $1 Billion Milestone

Since beginning payment distribution in April of 2021, The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) has crossed the $1 billion threshold in royalties paid to music rights-holders, with a current match rate of over 89% for streaming data to a musical work in the MLC database for 2022.

“We are incredibly proud to have reached this milestone in less than two years. It shows that the technology and processes we have built and launched are working effectively,” shares CEO of The MLC, Kris Ahrend. “That said, we know there’s still more work to do, and we are excited to continue our work to ensure we are serving our members well.”

The MLC is a nonprofit organization established under the Music Modernization Act of 2018. It began paying out unmatched historical royalties last June, and to date, has paid out more than 20% of the oldest unmatched royalties for uses that took place between 2007 and 2017. The organization is focused on illuminating the “black box,” or the pool of revenue at a collection society where the songwriter and/or publisher of songs that have generated revenue cannot be located or traced.

During the first two years of operation, The MLC was able to complete every single distribution either on time or early to its 25,000 members. Ahrend and his team look forward to continuing this trend into year three.

“Membership growth remains at the forefront of our priorities,” he says. “As more rights-holders become members, and those members register their songs, the number of songs in our database increases, allowing us to match and pay out even more royalties. We are also actively working on enhancing the tools for members that we have created, to give them visibility into their data and help them manage their data more effectively.

“With the start of the Phono 4 rate period in January, as well as the continued growth in the US streaming market, we expect monthly royalty payments to continue to grow over the next twelve months,” Ahrend says. “We are hopeful that the Copyright Royalty Board will finalize the rates for the Phono 3 rate period, paving the way for us to be able to begin distributing matched historical royalties from 2018, 2019, and 2020 early next year.”

The MLC has made almost all of the remaining unmatched data available to be searched by Members in the MLC Portal. Members can check for any unmatched royalties here

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