Reuters: MLC CEO Kris Ahrend on connecting copyright owners with streaming royalties

(Reuters) - The landmark Music Modernization Act changed the landscape of the music industry in myriad ways, including by creating the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC), a government-designated nonprofit led by representatives of music publishers and songwriters that distributes royalties from digital music services to composition copyright owners.

Chief Executive Kris Ahrend was appointed to head the Nashville-based MLC last year. Ahrend has a long history as an attorney and executive in the music industry, most recently leading the development and launch of Warner Music's Center of Excellence for Shared Services -- a group of 15 different teams providing administrative, financial, and legal services for the label.

Reuters spoke with Ahrend recently about the collective, which began its work at the beginning of this year and has already distributed more than $106 million in royalties.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

REUTERS: For our readers who may not be familiar, what exactly is the Music Modernization Act?

AHREND: The MMA addressed a number of different areas relevant to the music business, but one of the titles specifically sought to modernize the way that mechanical licensing works, as it relates to the use of songs or musical compositions on digital audio services.

REUTERS: And what is the Mechanical Licensing Collective and its role in this?

AHREND: The MMA established a blanket compulsory license available to digital audio services, which allows them to use any song in the world that exists. It effectively shifted the process of clearing rights in songs away from one that required digital services to clear those rights on not only a song-by-song basis, but a share-by-share basis.

Click here to read the full story.