The MLC: History & Milestones

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

We’ve been hard at work building a new user portal that self-administered songwriters, composers, lyricists and music publishers will be able to use to submit and maintain their musical works data.

These steps will help make sure our organization is prepared to fulfill our important mission: to ensure writers and their publishing partners receive digital audio mechanical royalties they’re owed from the DSPs accurately and on time.

Take a look at our progress to-date as well as our plans for the months 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 became 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 names Kris Ahrend as Chief Executive Officer.

March 2020


  • The MLC provides progress update to Congress.
  • The MLC website goes live.
  • The MLC begins working out of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center before moving to remote work due to COVID-19.

April 2020


May 2020


Kris Ahrend joins MusicBiz LIVE webinar to offer a public update on The MLC’s progress.

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.

Q3 2020


The MLC begins to roll out the first version of The MLC Portal, which will allow music publishers, administrators, CMOs and self-administered songwriters to begin registering their musical works and checking their musical work data.

Fall/Winter 2020


The MLC will continue to enhance features to The MLC Portal as more songwriters and rightsholders register and upload their data.


January 2021


The MLC will begin issuing the new blanket license for eligible U.S. digital service providers (DSPs).

Spring 2021


  • DSPs must deliver all of their usage data and royalties for their historic unmatched activity to The MLC.
  • DSPs deliver their usage files for the month of January 2021 to The MLC. The MLC will then collect the royalties due under those licenses from the DSPs.
  • The MLC will make the first distribution of royalties to registered rightsholders.