What is the MLC? Mechanical Licensing Collective explained

Image credit: The MLC

This new organisation is streamlining mechanical royalties for artists, songwriters, and more on digital music services.

The Mechanical Licensing Collective are a new Mechanical Rights Organisation aiding artists with their music online. The U.S.-based organisation has been designated by the U.S. Copyright Office to administer mechanical licenses that apply to streaming services and digital download stores in the United States.

Beginning in January 2021, the MLC will be able to collect royalties on digital services in the U.S. for songwriters, composers, lyricists, and music publishers. They intend to streamline the process of collecting mechanical royalties in the age of digital music which many artists find difficult to collect.

Mechanical Licenses apply to the copyright of the composition, therefore it is not just when a song is being covered that they apply but when an artist’s own work is being streamed or downloaded. That is what the MLC will cover to ensure that the royalties sent from the Digital Service Provider go to the correct publishers, labels, artists, and songwriters.

The MLC are making a commitment to transparency so that artists, songwriters, and their representatives are able to view the MLC database. Registered users can then explore the unclaimed works and claim their own content if they discover it in The MLC Portal. 

It’s important to note that the Mechanical Licensing Collective will only apply to digital music on streaming services and download stores for music. Mechanical licenses will still be necessary for physical recreations of music and mechanical royalties for physical uses of music will not be managed by the MLC.

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