The MLC: History & Milestones

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) is a nonprofit organization committed to ensuring songwriters, composers, lyricists, and music publishers receive their mechanical royalties from streaming and download services in the U.S. accurately and on time.

On January 1, 2021, The MLC began issuing blanket mechanical licenses for interactive streaming and download services (digital service providers or DSPs) in the United States. 

Every step in our journey has helped prepare our organization to fulfill our important mission. We are proud of the progress we’ve made and are committed to the work ahead! 


October 2018


The Music Modernization Act (MMA) of 2018 is signed into law.



February 2019


The MLC announces Richard Thompson will serve as Interim Chief Information Officer. Thompson becomes The MLC’s permanent CIO in November 2019.




July 2019


The U.S. Copyright Office officially designates The Mechanical Licensing Collective, Inc., allowing The MLC to formally begin operations.




November 2019


Technology company Consensys and mechanical licensing administrator Harry Fox Agency (HFA) received unanimous approval from The MLC Board to become the primary vendors responsible for managing the matching of digital uses to musical works, distributing mechanical royalties and onboarding songwriters, composers, lyricists and music publishers and their catalogs to the portal.




December 2019


The MLC and the Digital Licensee Coordinator, Inc. (DLC) reach landmark agreement that helps deliver on promise to songwriters, including $33.5 million in funding for start-up costs to help ensure The MLC can begin operations with the resources necessary to succeed.





January 2020


The MLC’s Board of Directors announces it has hired Kris Ahrend to serve as its first Chief Executive Officer.  



March 2020

  • The MLC provides progress update to Congress.
  • The MLC launches its official website located at


April 2020



May 2020


Kris Ahrend provides the first public update on The MLC’s progress in a webinar held during the MusicBiz Conference — the first of more than 250 webinars The MLC will participate in through the end of 2021.


July 2020


The MLC rolls out its Play Your Part™ initiative which includes two new tools designed to help The MLC fulfill its mission of paying royalties accurately and on time. Both the Data Quality Initiative and the Music Data Organization Worksheet were created to help songwriters and music publishers prepare their data for The MLC Portal.


September 2020

The MLC begins inviting Members to sign up for its new Member Portal. 


October 2020


The MLC holds MLC Week, with more than 1,000 virtual attendees. People attend webinars featuring members of The MLC’s Board and Leadership Team covering topics like The MLC’s creation and purpose, The MLC Portal, The MLC’s commitment to service, and The MLC’s vision for the future. View videos from MLC Week here.


December 2020

  • The MLC launches public access to the musical works ownership database via the Public Work Search and the Bulk Database Feed. Click here to access.
  • The MLC provides a progress update to Congressional staffers, informing them that The MLC is ready to launch full operations on January 1, 2021. 



January 2021


The MLC launches full operations and begins administering the new blanket license available to eligible interactive streaming and download services operating in the United States.


February 2021

21 digital service providers (DSPs) transfer to The MLC more than $424 million in historical unmatched royalties, and the first set of the usage data corresponding to those royalties.


April 2021


The MLC completes its first-ever royalty distribution, paying out more than $24 million in matched royalties to its Members for streaming and download usage by DSPs during January 2021.  


Summer 2021


The MLC receives the second set of data related to historical unmatched royalties from DSPs — the additional data pertaining to historical unmatched royalties that was not included in the initial transfer in February 2021.


October 2021


The MLC launches its new Matching Tool for Members.


November 2021

The MLC holds its first annual membership meeting.  


December 2021

  • The MLC launches the new Public Search API.
  • The MLC completes its ninth monthly royalty distribution and closes out the year having distributed more than $280 million in royalties in its first year of operations.



February 2022

The MLC launches its new Claiming Tool for Members.


May 2022

The first set of historical unmatched royalty data is uploaded to The MLC Portal, followed by a new set of data every month — a process that will continue until all historical unmatched royalty data is uploaded to The Portal.


June 2022

  • The MLC distributes the first set of matched historical royalties alongside MLC monthly blanket royalty distributions — a process that will continue monthly moving forward.
  • MLC membership surpasses 20,000. 


July 2022

  • The MLC releases a new feature for The MLC Portal — an on-demand Catalog Export feature.
  • The MLC surpasses $500 million in distributed royalties. 


August 2022


The MLC launches a new Student Ambassador program to complement its existing Educator Ambassador program.


September 2022

The MLC launches the Distributor Unmatched Recordings Portal (DURP), a new portal for independent music distributors to view releases with unclaimed royalties for their artists. 


October 2022

The MLC holds its second annual membership meeting and the first ever Board member election.


December 2022


The MLC completes its 21st monthly royalty distribution and closes out the year having distributed nearly $840 million in blanket royalties to date.