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THE MECHANICAL LICENSING COLLECTIVE IS IN EFFECT

The Music Modernization Act is now, um, active. The U.S. Copyright Office has designated the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC)—with the backing of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) and the Songwriters of North America (SONA)—to be the licensing and admin entity under the MMA.

A January 2021 launch is planned for the MLC’s operations, including the negotiation of a budget with digital streaming services that are bound by law to fund the collective. Funding will be determined voluntarily if possible, but the next resort if there’s an impasse will be for the MLC and DSPs to appear before the Copyright Royalty Board, which will assign a budget via an assessment proceeding, which we’re told is not unlike a root canal. The process will also see the MLC partner with a vendor for admin and other services and the building of a user portal for pubcos and songwriters. Check out the MLC industry-consensus proposal here.

The MLC board includes chairman Alisa Coleman (ABKCO) and directors Jeff Brabec (BMG), Peter Brodsky (Sony/ATV), Bob Bruderman (Kobalt), Tim Cohan (peermusic), Scott Cutler (Pulse Music Group), Paul Kahn (Warner Chappell Music), David Kokakis (UMPG), Mike Molinar (Big Machine Music), Evelyn Paglinawan (Concord Music), Kara DioGuardi (Songs by KDG), Oak Felder (Crow’s Tree Publishing), Kevin Kadish (We Are Made of Music), and Tim Nichols (THiS Music). Non-voting members include NMPA EVP & GC Danielle Aguirre and NSAI Executive Director Bart Herbison.

 “This has been a long, deliberative process and we are pleased with the result,” declared NMPA boss David Israelite (pictured at right), who’s been one of the key mover/motivators in the process. “The Copyright Office set a high bar and the team behind the MLC submission was transparent, thorough and representative of the entire music publishing and songwriting community. We look forward to seeing the benefits of the Music Modernization Act come to fruition. As we now move to the funding phase, it is critical that the digital services commit to supporting the MLC properly and become more transparent, starting with disclosing the amount of unmatched money currently at their companies.”

NSAI Prez Steve Bogard added, “The MLC creates a number of historic gains for songwriters including participation in the governance of a mechanical rights agency on both board and committee levels and being guaranteed an activity-based share of unclaimed funds. We have an opportunity now to work with streaming companies to significantly advance digital mechanical licensing efficiency and transparency.”

After thanking the various entities involved, SONA Exec Director Michelle Lewis proclaimed, “We intend to work with this MLC to help educate all songwriters on the importance of accurate registration and to ensure that a state of the art database be built, serving all entitled parties to receive the royalties they have rightfully earned.”

 

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