The MLC issues royalty payments and statements approximately 75 days following the end of each calendar month. When statements are made available, Members receive a notification directing them to the Royalties section of The MLC Portal where they can access their statements. Royalty statements are made available in the following two layout formats:
The MLC Royalty Detail Statement Layout: Provides royalty data corresponding with the individual sound recordings contained in DSP usage reports. Click here to view Royalty Detail Layout.
The MLC Work Summary Statement Layout: Provides royalty data summarized at the musical work level. Click here to view Work Summary Layout.
Statements will be provided in the Tab Separated Value (.tsv) file format which is compatible with most commonly available spreadsheet software.
There are a number of reasons that royalties may be adjusted retroactively pursuant to the law. Resolution of disputes between Members, or errors in information provided by Members, may lead to adjustments where royalties are debited from one Member account and credited to another. Members should notify The MLC immediately if they discover a situation where they believe royalties are not being distributed properly. MLC Guidelines for Adjustments can be found here.
Royalty distributions may also be retroactively adjusted based on adjustments to prior usage reporting that The MLC receives from DSPs, as authorized under 37 CFR 210.27(k).
Statutory Rate Adjustments
Royalty distributions may also be retroactively adjusted based on retroactive changes to the statutory mechanical royalty rates set forth by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB).
Note: The final rates for the Phono 3 period from 2018-2022 were finalized and published by the CRB on August 10, 2023, after extended appeal and then remand proceedings. Under guidance from the U.S. Copyright Office, The MLC collected and paid out blanket royalties for 2021 and 2022 at the lower, interim rates applicable to the previous Phono 2 rate period. Now that the final determination has been made, the last step of formalizing and making those final rates effective has begun. DSPs have 6 months from the issuance of the final rate determination (until February 9, 2024) to deliver revised data and any additional royalties that may be due from 2018-2022. The MLC will continue collecting and distributing royalties at the previous Phono 2 royalty rates in an interim capacity and will make any necessary retroactive adjustments after all rate adjustments have been received.
Key Dates in The MLC’s Monthly Distribution Cycle
As explained above, eligible DSPs began operating under the new blanket license administered by The MLC as early as January 1, 2021, which is referred to in the Music Modernization Act of 2018 as the “License Availability Date.” Those DSPs electing to operate under the blanket license are required to send mechanical royalty payments and usage reports for their services on a monthly basis. For DSPs that began operating under the blanket license in January 2021, their payments and usage reports for the month ending January 31, 2021, were due to The MLC on March 17, 2021. DSPs have the option of sending their payments and usage reports within 15 days after the end of a month if they would like The MLC to send them an invoice showing the amount in royalties owed.
The MLC also accounts to our Members on a monthly basis, approximately 75 days after the end of each monthly period. For those DSPs that send The MLC usage reports and payments for January, The MLC will send royalty statements and payments to our Members in mid to late April.
Here are some key dates during The MLC’s distribution cycle that our Members may find helpful to know. The example below shows these key dates for the distribution cycle that will cover the activity reported to The MLC by DSPs for the January reporting period.