Posted on 15 Mar 2021

Historical Unmatched Royalties; Streaming Services Pay $424 Million For Songwriters and Publishers

Historical Unmatched Royalties

historical unmatched royalties

In early February, the Mechanical Licensing Collective announced that it had received $424.38 million in unmatched royalties from streaming services. This included Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and other various streaming platforms. This “black box money” was reportedly paid by the streaming services to the MLC in order to get these royalties to copyright holders, songwriters, and publishers who have applied to be MLC members.

David Isrealite

David Isrealite, National Music Publishers Association President/ CEO said in a statement after the news of this broke, “This is a massive win for music creators and streaming services themselves.”

He then spoke furthermore on the topic ““Songwriters and music publishers have for years fought to ensure they were paid accurately and fully by digital streaming services. ‘Unmatched money’ has plagued the industry and today, thanks to the Music Modernization Act, we know that it amounts to just under $425 million – not including money previously paid out in multiple million-dollar settlements. The Mechanical Licensing Collective obtaining this historically unmatched money, doing the research to find its owners, and giving copyright owners a transparent process to claim what is theirs is exciting progress that paves the way for the future growth of streaming that will benefit the entire industry.”

Moving forward, the MLC will give more information about the historical unmatched royalties in a new tab on their website titled just that “Historical Unmatched Royalties.” The MLC contains a publicly accessible database of information on musical works, and the identity and location of copyright owners. They receive reports from DSPs, collect and distribute royalties, and help identify musical works as well as their owners. If you are registered under the MLC, you will be able to submit claims for unmatched activity that relates to your musical works. If you are not registered with the MLC, get started here.

The Music Modernization Act law, dictates that the MLC must distribute unmatched royalties to the rights holders within two years. Apple Music transferred over $163 million, coming in at the highest, followed by Spotify with $152 million, Amazon with $42 million, and Google/Youtube sending $32 million.

As well as the payments, DSPs have also received over 1,800 data files totaling 1.3 terabytes of data that will all be analyzed by the MLC to pay copyright owners. Although there is still a lot of work to be done to get songwriters the money they need, according the the Artist Rights Alliance this is a huge step in the right direction.

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