Dear MusicAnswers Supporter,
As you know, the Music Modernization Act charges the Copyright Office with designating a Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) responsible for collecting and distributing royalties from streaming services. Before it makes its decision, the Copyright Office wants to hear what you think about the candidates hoping to be designated as the MLC. And they want your comments by the end of next Wednesday, March 20!
The Copyright Office has made clear that you may endorse more than one MLC candidate. MusicAnswers is prepared to endorse ANY and ALL candidates that possess the requisite knowledge and experience to do the job, and who will commit to the following basic principles:
• Fairness of distribution
• Accuracy and transparency of accounting
• Best business and technological practices
• Identification and payment of unclaimed royalties to those who earned them
• Board members without conflicts-of-interest.
So far, only one candidate, the American Music Licensing Collective(AMLC), has committed to these principles. They've also recruited an outstanding board of directors and impressive committee members.* Therefore, MusicAnswers is strongly recommending that all music creators who support these principles endorse the AMLC by filling out the form here. Your support will be made known to the Copyright Office.
It's important to remember that the vast majority of royalties flowing through the MLC will not belong to the major publishers, most of whom will receive their royalties via direct deals with streaming services. The royalties processed by the MLC will belong to tens of thousands of independent writers and publishers. Some royalties may be unclaimed; these will wind up in the so-called “black box.” The way the MMA was written, after three years (as early as October 2022), the MLC may distribute black box royalties to publishers based on their market share. This means that the largest publishers may well receive as much as 80% of a black box estimated to be at least $1 billion, while those whose work actually earned the black box royalties will receive nothing.
This is just one of the factors we urge you to consider in assessing who will best represent the interests of independent music creators. Committing to the principles above will ensure that those interests will be protected and that the MLC and the MMA will fulfill their important goals.
The MusicAnswers Team
* As noted in previous messages, MusicAnswers has agreed to serve as Observers to the AMLC, should it be selected as the MLC.