The MLC: History & Milestones

On January 1, 2021, The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) will began 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 have helped prepare our organization 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.


October 2020


The MLC held its inaugural MLC Week in October.  More than 1,000 people attended 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 launched its Public Musical Works Database Search, accessible via a web-based search window. Click here to access.
  • The MLC provided 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 began administering the new blanket license available to eligible interactive streaming and download services operating in the United States. 




February 2021

  • ​​​​​Digital service providers (DSPs) transfer to The MLC more than $424 million in historical unmatched royalties, along with a percentage of the usage data corresponding to those royalties.  
  • DSPs operating under the new blanket mechanical license administered by The MLC begin their monthly blanket royalty reporting, delivering to The MLC all royalties and data for usage during January 2021.  


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.  


June 15, 2021


DSPs deliver to The MLC all of their remaining data pertaining to historical unmatched royalties that was not included in the initial transfer in February 2021.


Fall 2021


The MLC will launch a new “claiming portal” that gives its Members the ability to research all current blanket unmatched royalties and claim any that are attributable to them.