Frequently Asked Questions

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The MLC has developed frequently asked questions designed to help self-administered songwriters, composers, and lyricists, music publishers, and publishing administrators learn more about our organization, our work to achieve The MLC's mission, and the tools available in The MLC Portal. Click the links below to learn more.


You’ve probably heard a lot about The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) but what exactly does it do and how is it changing the music industry? The following questions give an overview of the trailblazing organization.

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Connect to Collect

Anyone who wishes to receive digital audio mechanical royalties from The MLC will need to become a Member of The MLC. Becoming a Member of The MLC is how you will Connect to Collect these royalties. The following questions discuss who needs to Connect to Collect and other topics related to membership.

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Music Industry Terminology

Like every industry, the music industry often uses its own jargon and terminology. In this section we’ve defined some of the most frequently used terms that are important to understand as you begin the process of becoming a Member of The MLC.

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Play Your Part

Play Your Part is how we refer to the specific steps you need to take to ensure you receive all of the mechanical royalties you are owed. Once you become a Member, these steps include registering and maintaining your musical works information, and recommending matches of sound recording usage. The following questions discuss how to Play Your Part.

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Royalty Payments

The MLC distributes digital audio mechanical royalties to Members on a monthly basis. In this section, we cover how The MLC’s overall royalty distribution process works and specifically address the timing of payments, the royalty rates and terms used by The MLC, the payment options available to our Members and more.

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Historical Unmatched: Impact of Prior Settlements 

Rightsholders who have been identified by certain digital service providers (DSPs) as securing voluntary licenses or private agreements may affect the distribution of royalties for historical unmatched usages that are ultimately matched or are distributed according to market share. This section details how such voluntary licenses and private agreements can impact a rightsholder’s entitlement to such historical unmatched royalty payments and outlines the requirements outlined by the US Copyright Office to affected rightsholders who wish to contest or dispute the distribution of royalties at issue.


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Rate Periods

Did you know that mechanical royalties are calculated using different rates, based on when a song was streamed? Royalty rates and terms are determined by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) through "rate proceedings" that occur every five years. A list of rate proceedings can be viewed on the CRB website by clicking here. These questions break down the rates and rate periods.


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