The Music Modernization Act (MMA), historic legislation designed to bring music copyright law into the digital age, was enacted into law in October 2018. Upon being enacted, the MMA directed the Register of Copyrights to designate an entity to administer the new blanket license created by the MMA, and to develop and maintain a comprehensive, publicly available database of musical works and sound recordings.
In 2019, after soliciting stakeholder input and proposals from organizations seeking to be designated as the entity responsible for administering the new blanket license, the Register of Copyrights officially designated The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) as the entity responsible for administering the new blanket license for digital uses of musical compositions.
The MLC’s mission is to ensure that songwriters, composers, lyricists, and music publishers receive accurate and timely mechanical license royalty payments from streaming and download services across the U.S. To fulfill this goal, the MLC built a publicly accessible musical works database, along with a portal that creators and music publishers can use to submit and maintain their musical works data. It also developed a number of other related tools to ensure that the process of registering with the MLC (and tracking royalties through it) is a smooth and seamless process.
On January 1, 2021, the MLC began issuing blanket licenses to eligible digital service providers. The MLC has begun receiving blanket license royalty payments and will then match and distribute those royalties to copyright owners. The MLC anticipates sending out its first royalty payments and statements in April 2021.
To assist music creators, as well as all other relevant stakeholders, to better understand the MLC, how it works, and why it exists, we’ve have compiled the following information and links:
Tools and Resources
- How Songwriters, Composers and Performers Get Paid (U.S. Copyright Office)
- The MLC Public Work Search Database (A publicly available musical works database created by the MLC)
- Music Industry Terminology (A list of definitions to assist users in understanding industry language)
- The MMA and the MLC (U.S. Copyright Office)
- MLC FAQs (Designed to assist self-administered songwriters and music publishers learn more about the MLC)
- Mechanical Licensing Collective: 5 Things to Know About The MLC (Recording Academy)
- MLC Contact Information, Boards of Directors and Committees (U.S. Copyright Office)
Educational Videos and Webinars
- What is the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC)
- The MLC & You: A Conversation with IMPF (IMPF)
- The MLC Portal: How to Sign Up (MLC)
- Mechanical Licensing Collective Webinar (Recording Academy)
- The Music Modernization Act and MLC in Two Minutes (U.S. Copyright Office)
- The Mechanical Licensing Collective: Collect Licensing Income for Digital Streams (MLC and the International Bluegrass Music Association)
- Getting Your Mechanical Royalties: Interview with MLC’s Kris Ahrend (Break the Business)
Blogs and Articles
- MLC Collects $40M for January, Makes First Rights Holders Payments (Billboard)
- The MLC License Availability Date Was January 1, 2021. What This Means (Copyright Alliance)
- NSAI Executive Director Bart Herbison Explains Why He Joined the MLC Board (MLC)
- Who Are the Powerhouse Music Execs on the Mechanical Licensing Collective? (Variety)
- Music Modernization Act, Recognizing the Value of Music Creators (Copyright Alliance)
- 6 Things to Know About the Music Modernization Act, S. 2823 (Copyright Alliance)
- The Mechanical Licensing Collective Begins Full Operations as Envisioned by The Music Modernization Act Of 2018 (Broadway World)
- [The MLC] Is Streamlining Mechanical Royalties for Artists, Songwriters, and More on Digital Music Services (Route Note)
- MLC to Be Headquartered in Nashville (Music Row)