The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) announced today that it has received a total of $424,384,787 in licensing fees from all music streaming services, which includes Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music. Apple was responsible for $163,338,890 — which is the largest amount paid by all companies.
The MLC calls this “accrued historical unmatched royalties from digital service providers.” For those unfamiliar, The MLC is a nonprofit organization designated by the U.S. Copyright Office pursuant to the Music Modernization Act of 2018. The royalties come from 20 different providers, which are called DSPs.
Among all the DSPs that contributed to The MLC, Apple was the company that paid the highest music licensing fee thanks to Apple Music. Spotify comes right after with $152,226,039 paid, and Amazon comes third with $42,741,507 paid. The list also includes other services such as YouTube, Pandora, and SoundCloud.
The transfer of these monies 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. With these historical unmatched royalties and usage reports now in hand, The MLC can begin the process of reviewing and analyzing the data in order to find and pay the proper copyright owners.
As explained by Variety, The MLC began administering licenses for eligible streaming services in the United States in January 2021. The organization now collects royalties from DSPs and pays songwriters, composers, and other professionals involved in the project.
On Jan. 1, the MLC officially began administering a new blanket license covering musical works available on U.S.-based digital audio services. Before the MMA made such a blanket licensing system possible (for US-based DSPs to distribute permanent downloads, limited downloads, and interactive streams), a song-by-song licensing structure was in place. With countless songs on dozens of platforms, it was virtually impossible to license every use of every song, let alone to deliver royalties to rightsholders in a timely fashion