The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC)

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) is a non-profit organization established by the Music Modernization Act (MMA) of 2018. It operates in the United States and serves a crucial role in the music publishing industry. The creation of the MLC represents a significant advancement in the music industry, particularly in adapting to the digital age’s challenges. By ensuring a more straightforward and transparent mechanism for the collection and distribution of mechanical royalties, the MLC helps safeguard the rights of music creators and publishers, ensuring they are compensated fairly for their creative outputs.

What is the MLC?

The MLC was created as part of the MMA’s goal to modernize copyright-related issues for the digital age. It is designed to ensure that songwriters, composers, and music publishers receive their due mechanical royalties from digital service providers (DSPs) such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.

Why Was the MLC Created? 

The MLC was established to address a significant challenge in the music industry—the difficulty in ensuring that songwriters and publishers were paid accurately and promptly for the use of their music in the digital realm. Before the MLC, the system for collecting mechanical royalties was fragmented and often led to unpaid or delayed royalties. The MLC simplifies and centralizes this process, aiming to increase efficiency and reduce overhead costs for royalty collection and distribution.

What Does the MLC do?

The primary function of the MLC is to administer blanket mechanical licenses to DSPs. These licenses allow the DSPs to stream and distribute digital music legally. Here are the key activities performed by the MLC:

  • Issuing Licenses: The MLC issues mechanical licenses to DSPs, allowing them to reproduce and distribute musical works digitally.
  • Collecting Royalties: It collects mechanical royalties due on these licenses from the DSPs.
  • Distributing Royalties: The MLC distributes the collected royalties to the rightful copyright owners—songwriters, composers, and publishers.
  • Maintaining a Public Musical Works Database: The MLC maintains a publicly accessible database that details the musical works and ownership information. This database helps ensure transparency and accuracy in royalty distribution.

Can I collect royalties from the MLC?

If you are a songwriter, you are eligible to collect mechanical royalties, including streaming mechanical royalties. If you currently have a publishing agreement or publishing administrator, they are likely already collecting from the MLC.

Does Symphonic send my songs to the MLC?

No, the MLC is not a DSP. However, if you’ve signed up for publishing administration via our partner Songtrust, Songtrust will send your songs to the MLC for registration.


For more information about the MLC, click here.

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