The Mechanical Licensing Collective

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The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) represents the industry-wide consensus submission to the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) to create the collective required by the Music Modernization Act (MMA) to license and administer mechanical rights.

The Music Modernization Act (MMA), which became law in October 2018, makes important updates to music law and protections for songwriters and music publishers.  The law ensures that the mechanical rights of songwriters and music publishers are properly licensed and royalties fully paid by digital services, and it improves how those royalty rates are determined. It also establishes a publicly accessible mechanical rights database to ensure copyright ownership information is accurate and transparent.

The music groups instrumental in the crafting and passage of the MMA – National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), Songwriters of North America (SONA), together with the Performing Rights Organizations (PROs), and other major music organizations—have now created the MLC and will formally submit the MLC for designation on March 21. 

This MLC submission will contain input from songwriter groups, major and independent music publishers, digital services and technology vendors. The industry consensus MLC is already supported and endorsed by all major U.S. music organizations and associations, who recognize that the organizations that worked to successfully pass the consensus MMA legislation are best suited and positioned to created and run the consensus rights collective envisioned by the MMA. 

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“The Mechanical Licensing Collective submission will be comprehensive, competitive, transparent and representative of the current U.S. music copyright ownership landscape.”


The vast coalition that has come together to establish the MLC represents the same coalition that successfully worked together to negotiate and pass the MMA. This coalition has run a process that includes input from songwriters, performance rights organizations, major and independent publishers, the recording industry and the world’s largest digital companies. The goal is to create a successful, comprehensive licensing collective supported by and representing all of the music industry.

 In addition to the open and fair selection process to identify songwriter and publisher board members, the MLC has also:

  •  Engaged in a transparent RFI process to select the best technology for identifying and matching songs and distributing royalties to ensure publishers and songwriters are paid fully and fairly. 

  • Retained a leading independent business consultant firm to identify the best organizational, technological, executive and leadership structure to ensure the MLC’s success.

  • Created a technology working group of operational experts from major and independent music publishers and digital services to advise on the MLC’s creation and development.


The MLC is committed to engaging best in class executives, technology and vendors to ensure it can meet fully its statutory mandate to administer licenses, match copyright ownership and distribute mechanical royalties.  The MLC has already undertaken an industry-wide search to select the best technology vendors through a comprehensive RFI and RFP process.  From the RFI/RFP process, the most qualified vendors will be chosen and retained to work with the MLC.  An executive search firm has been retained to identify qualified and experienced candidates to run the MLC.  A working group of industry technology experts has been assembled to help develop the MLC’s operational and technology strategy.            


An open and competitive process was run to select the MLC’s music publisher and songwriter board and committee members.  The board of the MLC must be representative of the people it serves and encompass the best minds in the music publishing and songwriting industries. The process run by the MLC was created to accomplish broad representation from major and independent publishers and songwriters.  The board members were chosen by those best positioned to determine qualified candidates – music publishers by NMPA and a publisher advisory group and songwriters by representatives from all major songwriter associations.  Both processes were public, thorough and the results represent the most experienced and relevant members of the industry.    


The MMA mandates that the MLC must represent the majority of the music publisher and songwriter market. The individuals chosen to serve on the board and committees are current copyright holders who comprise the vast majority of market share in today’s music ecosystem. The Mechanical Licensing Collective submission includes representatives of the nation’s largest independent and major publishing companies as well as the most prolific songwriters and was written in concert with the major digital services who will utilize and pay for the MLC.