The MLC Has Distributed Over $1.5 Billion in Royalties to Members — ‘We’ve Met Every Milestone Set by Congress’

The MLC Has Distributed Over $1.5 Billion in Royalties to Members, ‘Met Every Milestone Set by Congress’
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The MLC Has Distributed Over $1.5 Billion in Royalties to Members, ‘Met Every Milestone Set by Congress’
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Photo Credit: Zachary Kadolph

In its third Annual Membership Meeting last week, The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) revealed milestones and key metrics from the previous year, announcing the successful distribution of over $1.5 billion in royalties. The platform also announced the result of its Class B Board of Directors election and the selection of two Songwriter Board Members.

In an email to DMN today, The MLC revealed that it has fulfilled ‘every milestone set by Congress’ in the Music Modernization Act, leading to the successful disbursement of $1.5 billion in royalties. Moreover, the MLC relays that it has ‘also effectively illuminated the black box for digital audio mechanicals by allowing members to search all the unmatched data and propose matches for their works using the MLC Matching Tool.’

The MLC further states that its suite of member tools, including the matching tool, are as effective for the smallest creator as they are for large publishers and administrators. “The MLC has received and approved more than 1 million proposed matches submitted by members through the Matching Tool,” the release adds.

As of September’s distribution, The MLC featured direct distribution of over $1.3 billion in blanket royalties and over $160 million in royalties processed by The MLC, ‘but paid by DSPs pursuant to voluntary licenses.’

“The MLC has completed 31 monthly royalty distributions to date, every one of which has been completed on time or early,” the email states.

The MLC also highlighted its current match rate for all royalties processed through October as 90%, with more than 32,000 members, having added over 9,000 in 2023 so far. Referencing its public database, the MLC recorded more than 33 million works, alongside over 3 million new works added in 2023 so far.

Kris Ahrend, CEO of The MLC, was in a celebratory mood, ‘particularly in reaching the milestone of distributing over $1.5 billion in royalties.’ Ahrend added, “We look forward to continuing our work to fulfill our mission of ensuring songwriters, composers, lyricists , and music publishers receive their mechanical royalties from streaming & download services in the United States accurately and on time.”

Besides the various milestones discussed in the meeting, the forum also announced the result of The MLC’s recent Class B Board Seat election. For background, The MLC is governed by a Board of Directors, composed of songwriters and representatives of music publishers.

The MLC’s Class B Members re-elected Alisa Coleman to serve on org’s Board of Directors for a second three-year term. Class A Members selected Kevin Kadish to serve a second three-year term as a Songwriter Director of the Board, and Troy Verges to replace Craig Wiseman (whose initial term expired this year) as a Songwriter Director of the Board.

Furthermore, the collective announced that the makeup of the Class C Members will stay unchanged in 2024.

As a quick recap: the Mechanical Licensing Collective was designated by the U.S. Register of Copyrights in July 2019 under the Music Modernization Act of 2018. The MLC is responsible for administering the blanket compulsory license for using musical works by digital music services.