songwriter playing guitar, keyboard, recording to a laptop for the mechanical licensing collective

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC), mandated by the Music Modernization Act of 2018 (MMA), is set to launch its online portal in January 2021. Its responsibilities will include providing a public database of copyright information on all musical works as well as collecting and distributing royalties from digital streaming services to music publishers and songwriters via a new statutory blanket license. The MLC will also update the database by matching compositions to sound recordings. Any unclaimed royalties will be held for 3 years before being distributed to music publishers based on market share. Those digital streaming services and licensees will help fund The MLC through the payment of administrative fees.

The MLC has entered into an agreement with the Harry Fox Agency (HFA) to manage data matches, distribute mechanical royalties, and onboard songwriters, music publishers and their catalogs. It also has begun working directly with a number of music publishers, software vendors, and administrators as part of the Data Quality Initiative (DQI) to streamline the comparison of metadata and subsequently improve processes for participants. Individual songwriters can also be involved via a Music Data Organization Form. Both the DQI and the Music Data Organization Form can be found on The MLC website.

In HFA, a rights holder can choose to opt into The MLC Portal by allowing the software to pre-populate contact, payment, and tax information when registering, thus saving time from having to re-enter it all in again for The MLC. If no opt-in is preferred, HFA will not transfer over any information to The MLC. Rights holders will need to register their information individually.

It is important to register your account with The MLC once it opens up to music publishers directly in order to receive digital streaming mechanical royalties in the US on your musical works. The MLC only covers this specific subset of rights. All other non-streaming digital services that have agreements with HFA and companies such as Music Reports will remain in place and not be affected. The MLC is simply an additional database, not one that is taking the place of another company or platform.

At Exploration, we are available to help answer any questions and provide more information surrounding the HFA opt-in and any services that are available to you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at

Notice: The information made available by does not provide legal or business advice and is intended to be used for general informational purposes only.

For additional information about the MLC and the MMA, please see the following links:

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