A collective of 20 digital streaming platforms (DSPs) have transferred a total of $424.48 million in historically unmatched royalties amount to the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC). This act is a logical continuation of the Music Modernization Act signed by Donald J. Trump. 

The Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act is “The most significant piece of copyright legislation in decades and updates our current laws to reflect modern consumer preferences and technological developments in the music marketplace. The law is organized into three key titles: Title I – Musical Works Modernization Act; Title II – Classics Protection and Access Act; and Title III – Allocation for Music Producers Act.” 

In simpler terms, the act fixes issues with royalties directly caused by the current streaming era and increases copyright protections for artists. Basically, the lobbyists for the publishers, artists, and the big streaming services united and cranked out an agreement that everyone agreed upon. They then took it to congress, where the bill passed with great support. 

The list of DSPs includes Amazon, Spotify, Soundcloud, Apple Music, and others. In addition to paying the royalties, they also delivered approximately 1,800 data files. These files contained nine billion lines and 1.3 terabytes of data.

Of the entire $424.38m, $42.7m was received from Amazon, $152.2m from Spotify, $163.3m from Apple, and $32.8m from Google. You can see the rest of the payout in the picture below. 

The MLC stated, “These monies represent the culmination of a months-long effort on the part of the MLC and these DSPs to develop and implement the specifications for these usage reports.” 

Now that the usage reports and unmatched royalties are available for the MLC, the process of analyzing and reviewing data for proper payouts to respective copyright holders can begin. The MMA requires that the MLC publicizes all transfers made by a DSP.

The MLC is a nonprofit established by the Music Modernization Act (MMA) appointed by the United States Copyright Office to administer and develop a licensing system launched on January 1, 2021. 

The Music Licencing Collective is solely responsible for distributing and collecting royalties, which should be paid to copyright owners and songwriters by various music services, and for the creation of a never-before-seen public database that will hold all critical copyright information on every single work of music. 

The MLC is directly backed by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), Songwriters of North America, and the Nashville Songwriters Association International. David Israelite from NMPA stated, “This significant amount proves just how broken the system was, how much the MMA was needed, and how much songwriters have to benefit from the protections it has put in place.” He continued, “Songwriters and music publishers have for years fought to ensure they were paid accurately and fully by digital streaming services.” 

This achievement is an excellent step towards achieving justice for underpaid musicians, a turning point in the entire music industry. For more information on what’s going in the world of music, follow our Music Blog, and don’t forget to check out our Instagram page as well.