What is the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC)?

With the passage of the Music Modernization Act (MMA) in the United States in October 2018, the U.S. music industry is changing how it licenses digital music to make sure copyright owners (including songwriters, composers, lyricists, and publishers) get royalties. 

In January 2021, a new nonprofit organization – The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) – will begin to administer blanket mechanical licenses for eligible interactive audio streaming and download services (Digital Service Providers or DSPs) in the United States. 

Mechanical licenses give permissions to reproduce and distribute musical works that are embedded in sound recordings. The MLC will also collect the royalties due under those licenses from DSPs, including YouTube, and pay copyright owners.

YouTube and the DSP community (represented by the nonprofit Digital Licensee Coordinator or “DLC”) are committed to the success of the Music Modernization Act (MMA)’s implementation and the MLC. From fully funding the MLC’s operations to working collaboratively with the organization on data and reporting, DSPs are playing a critical role in the MMA’s implementation. The MLC and the DLC share a common goal to deliver royalties accurately and on time to copyright owners. 

With this change comes new responsibilities for everyone in the music community to make sure their copyright ownership data is organized and up-to-date. The MLC is building a database of copyright ownership info called The MLC Portal. Copyright owners are encouraged to visit the MLC site to learn how the MLC process works, see answers to frequently asked questions, sign up for updates, and more.

Digital Service Providers (DSPs) are encouraged to visit the Digital Licensee Coordinator site for more info about the DLC.


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