The US Copyright Office has accepted the submission for governance of the Music Modernisation Act’s Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) by the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), Songwriters Of North America (SONA) and Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI).
From 2021, the body will operate as the US collection agency for streaming royalties.
“This has been a long, deliberative process and we are pleased with the result,” said NMPA president/CEO David Israelite. “The Copyright Office set a high bar and the team behind the MLC submission was transparent, thorough and representative of the entire music publishing and songwriting community. We look forward to seeing the benefits of the Music Modernisation Act come to fruition. As we now move to the funding phase, it is critical that the digital services commit to supporting the MLC properly and become more transparent, starting with disclosing the amount of unmatched money currently at their companies.”
The funding agreement for the agency has yet to be established, although streaming services are bound be law to pay for it. If a deal cannot be reached, the Copyright Royalty Board would have to step in.
The decision on the Mechanical Licensing Collective has been welcomed by US trade bodies.
The Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) issued a joint statement from Teri Nelson-Carpenter, national chair and Los Angeles chapter president, Alisa Coleman, AIMP New York chapter president, and John Ozier, AIMP Nashville chapter president.
“The AIMP is happy to support the US Copyright Office’s decision to select the NMPA, SONA, and NSAI submission for governance of the Music Modernization Act’s (MMA) Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC),” said the statement. “We have worked closely with these organizations to provide guidance on the MLC’s Board of Directors and various committees, and are glad to see that independent music publishers will have a strong voice in the implementation of the MMA and beyond. With the majority of the 14-member MLC Board consisting of independent publishers and songwriters — including AIMP New York Chapter President Alisa Coleman (ABKCO) as MLC Board Chair, AIMP Nashville Board member Mike Molinar (Big Machine Music), and AIMP members Evelyn Paginaw (Concord Music), Tim Cohan (Peermusic), Bob Bruderman (Kobalt), and Scott Cutler (Pulse Music Group) — as well as all the AIMP members on MLC committees, we are in the best position to stand up for the rights of independent publishers, songwriters, and other rights-holders.”
Garrett Levin, CEO of the Digital Media Association (DiMA), called for a “cost-efficient” approach by the new agency.
Levin said: “As the source of the overwhelming majority of on-demand music streams and mechanical royalties paid out in the US, DiMA’s member companies have extensive experience with the challenges posed in collecting and processing the data needed to connect songwriters with their royalties. We look forward to sharing that knowledge and working collaboratively with MLC Inc to establish a comprehensive, effective and cost-efficient mechanical licensing system that is governed by specific and measurable success metrics as intended by the MMA.”
He added: “The success of the MLC is important to all of us within the music industry, and ensuring we have an effective, comprehensive and cost-efficient mechanical licensing system will benefit the entire music ecosystem. Vigilant oversight and accountability will be critical to ensuring the success of the MLC, and we look forward to continued collaboration with Congress, the Copyright Office and all stakeholders to help the MLC reach its goals.”