Nearly $700m has been paid to songwriters and publishers by the MLC to date

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) has distributed nearly $700 million in blanket royalties to its members in the year and a half since launching full operations.

The MLC reports that rightsholders have received more than $800 million to date, including nearly $700 million in blanket royalties paid directly by the MLC, plus nearly $120 million in royalties processed by The MLC but paid by DSPs

The MLC was established by the Register of Copyrights in July 2019 pursuant to the Music Modernization Act that was signed into law in 2018.

It administers a blanket compulsory license for the use of musical works by digital music services. From January 2021, The MLC started processing and paying out “mechanical royalties” at no cost to songwriters or music publishers.

The group disclosed the $700 million milestone on Friday (October 21) following its second annual membership meeting in which it announced that Kara DioGuardi, Tim Cohan and Scott Cutler were reelected to the board of directors.

The board that governs the MLC is comprised of songwriters and representatives of music publishers.

DioGuardi is a Grammy-nominated songwriter and a former “American Idol” judge, producer, music executive and publisher. She has collaborated with artists like P!nk, Katy Perry, Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Miley Cyrus, Jason Derulo, Demi Lovato and Gwen Stefani.

Meanwhile, Cohan is the Chief Counsel for independent music publishing company peermusic. Cohan and his staff provide centralized legal and business affairs support to peermusic’s 34 offices across 30 countries.

The other reelected director, Cutler, is an award-winning songwriter, musician, and producer. He is the CEO and founding partner of PULSE Music Group.

Cutler collaborated with Madonna, Beyoncé, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, among others, in his songwriting and producing career. He co-wrote Grammy-nominated Song of the Year “Piano in the Dark” with Brenda Russell, and won the Critic’s Choice Award for “Best Song” for Beyoncé’s “Listen” from the motion picture “Dreamgirls.”

Cohan and Cutler were elected for a second three-year term as directors, while DioGuardi will serve a second three-year term as a songwriter director on the board.

The MLC also revealed some other milestones achieved by the organization since its launch, including:

  • Collecting almost $1 billion in mechanical royalties;
  • Adding more than 6,000 members in 2022 to reach 22,000 members;
  • Receiving more than 17 million works registrations and processing more than 98% of the total;
  • Completing 19 monthly royalty distributions to date.

Added Ahrend: “While there is still more work to do, we are pleased with our progress and are deeply appreciative of all the support we have received from our Members and from the broader industry at large.”

Kris Ahrend, MLC

The MLC CEO Kris Ahrend said: “We are incredibly proud of these accomplishments. Our team has worked hard to build robust data processing systems that allow us to distribute royalties accurately and on time.

“We have also released a suite of tools for our Members that enable them to manage their catalog data effectively and correct any missing or inaccurate data they find.”

Added Ahrend: “While there is still more work to do, we are pleased with our progress and are deeply appreciative of all the support we have received from our members and from the broader industry at large.”

The MLC also disclosed that the makeup of its Class C members will not change through 2023. Sony Music Publishing recently appointed Michael Abitbol to fill their Director seat after the position was left vacant by Peter Brodsky.

In December 2021, Ahrend said: “The MLC’s mission is to ensure that every rightsholder who is entitled to digital audio mechanical royalties for the use of their music by U.S.-based DSPs receives their royalties on time and in full.”Music Business Worldwide

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