What You Need to Know: The Music Modernization Act (MMA) passed in October 2018, reforming the process of music licensing and creating a formalized body, run by publishers, that administers the "mechanical licensing" of compositions streamed on services like Spotify and Apple Music. MMA also funds the creation of a first of its kind, comprehensive database. This legislation was the result of tremendous effort and teamwork on behalf of the entire industry.
In January 2021, the Copyright Office launched the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC), an independent body tasked with administering a new blanket licensing system for digital music providers to make and distribute music via downloads or streams. The MLC collects and distributes royalties as well as identifies musical works and their owners for payment.
MAC’s Perspective: Finding industry consensus between a majority of songwriters, publishers, and the digital service providers on MMA represents a meaningful step in bringing music licensing into the 21st century. MMA is tangible progress for the music industry and should strengthen the entire ecosystem. With the launch of the MLC, it is important to diligently safeguard the boundaries of the MLC, to make sure that it remains a mechanical licensing collective, and that the collective isn't used by licensees as a vessel to convince Congress to create regulated or compulsory regimes with regards to any other songwriter's income stream. Transparency and efficiency are key to the success of the MLC.
MAC regularly reviews Copyright office requests for comments and submit our own comments on matters that impact musical artists. MAC acts as a watchdog in connection with all developments about the MMA and the MLC, and will continually monitor the latest develops of this legislation.
“The Music Modernization Act: A Songwriter's Guide to What Matters Next,” Billboard, March 12, 2019