Major streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, Google and others have paid over $424 million collective to accrued historical unmatched royalties to The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC). According to Music Business Worldwide, of the $424.38 million; $163.3 million came from Apple, $152.2m was paid by Spotify, Amazon’s payout was $42.7 million and Google transferred $32.8 million. Other major services such as Tidal, Pandora and Deezer were part of these payments as well, with even a small karaoke service called Recisio SAS included in the payouts.
Accrued historical unmatched royalties are royalties that cannot be matched to a copyright owner, which stems from creative works not being registered correctly or contact information missing. The MLC engages in research to find these songs, which ends up assisting recording artists. After a review process, the artists and/or copyright owners will receive payment for their accrued royalties.
This pay out was required for the services to seek the Music Modernization Act‘s (MMA) limitation on liability for past infringement. According to the MLC, this payout “represents 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.”
Established as a non-profit entity to develop and administer a mechanical licensing system at the start of this New Year, January 1, the MLC collects and distributes royalties that are payable to songwriters and copyright owners from digital music services. The organization is backed by by the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), the Nashville Songwriters Association International and the Songwriters of North America.
“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. At long last, that money can make its way to its rightful owners,” NMPA President and CEO David Israelite stated.