Streaming platforms hand over $424m in unmatched royalties to Mechanical Licensing Collective

Streaming platforms hand over $424m in unmatched royalties to Mechanical Licensing Collective

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) has received its first payment of unmatched royalties from streaming services.

Streaming services have collectively handed over $424,384,787 (£306m) in accrued historical unmatched royalties to the new US body, which was established following the passage of the Music Modernization Act. You can see the breakdown below, including a $152m payout from Spotify.

A total of 20 DSPs separately transferred accrued historical unmatched royalties to the MLC, in order for them to seek the MMA’s limitation on liability for past infringement.

The platforms delivered more than 1,800 data files, which contain in excess of 1.3 terabytes and nine billion lines of data.

According to a statement, the transfer 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”. 

The MLC can now begin the process of reviewing and analysing the data in order to find and pay the proper copyright owners. It will provide additional information about historical unmatched royalties on a newly-created page on its website.

The Artist Rights Alliance said: “Today’s historic transfer of almost half a billion dollars in unmatched royalties to the MLC is a great start – but there’s a lot of work still to be done to get that money to the songwriters that earned it. We are grateful to the Copyright Office team that skillfully and doggedly worked through a number of complex issues in the months leading up this transfer, including major disagreements about the proper treatment of past industry settlements.  

“In the months ahead we look forward to engaging further with the Office about efforts by publishers who have already been paid for historical usages via settlement agreements to seek double payment out of these new funds. As we have told the Office in our prior filings, the major publishers that already settled with digital services and received payment from them should not be allowed to claim a further share of the monies transferred to the MLC today.

“Today’s news is a huge step forward for songwriters – one made possible by so many stakeholders all across the music community who came together to work for passage of the Music Modernization Act and continue to work in good faith as it is implemented.”

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