Apple Music pays $163.3M into MLC’s black box of unmatched music royalty payments

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) announced today that it has received a total of $424,384,787 — $163,338,890 of which was paid by Apple Music — in accrued historical unmatched royalties from digital service providers (DSPs), together with corresponding data reports that identify the usage related to these royalties.

Apple Music
Apple Music

A total of 20 DSPs separately transferred accrued historical unmatched royalties to The MLC as required in order for them to seek the MMA’s limitation on liability for past infringement. In addition to the accrued unmatched royalties transferred to The MLC, the DSPs concerned also delivered more than 1,800 data files, which contain in excess of 1.3 terabytes and nine billion lines of data.

The transfer of these monies represents the culmination of a months-long effort on the part of The MLC and these DSPs to develop and implement the specifications for these usage reports. With these historical unmatched royalties and usage reports now in hand, The MLC can begin the process of reviewing and analyzing the data in order to find and pay the proper copyright owners.

Going forward, The MLC will provide additional information about historical unmatched royalties on a newly-created page on its website entitled “Historical Unmatched Royalties.” Below is an initial summary of the historical unmatched royalties separately transferred to The MLC by each DSP:

Summary of the historical unmatched royalties separately transferred to The MLC by each DSP
This table provides information on transfers of accrued unmatched royalties (“Transfers”) by DSPs to the MLC pursuant to the Music Modernization Act (“MMA”), 17 U.S.C. 115(d)(10)(B)(iv)(III)(aa). This provision of the MMA requires DSPs to transfer to the MLC by February 15, 2021 all accrued royalties for unmatched uses of musical works that occurred prior to January 1, 2021 as one of the conditions of eligibility for a specified limitation on liability for prior infringements. The MLC is required under the MMA to engage in diligent efforts to publicize any Transfers made by a DSP throughout the music industry.

MacDailyNews Take: Some songwriters and publishers will finally be receiving nice payments once the MLC reviews and analyzes the data to pay the copyright holders.

More info about H.R.1551 – Orrin G. Hatch – Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (115th Congress, 2017-2018) here.


    1. The credits are currently unmatched. This creates a fund to pay creatives as they come forward or are otherwise identified. It also frees Apple from the accusation that it is profiting from stolen property.

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