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Mechanical Licensing Collective: changes to US digital mechanicals from 1 January 2021

Story Published Friday 18 December 2020

If you are earning royalties from the US, we want to ensure you are aware of important changes to digital mechanical rights in the USA effective as of 1 January 2021.

Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) launches

You may have read about or heard that there has been a change in the way digital mechanical rights will be administered in the USA.

From 1 January 2021, a newly formed collective called the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) will administer a new statutory licence that will cover the licensing of interactive streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music as well as download services.

Next steps
What does this mean for you? And, do you need to do anything?

If you're represented by a US publisher:
If you are signed to a publisher with US representation, they will take care of registration and distribution and you do not need to do anything further. This includes publishing administration agreements.

If you're unpublished and you are an AMCOS member:
If you are not published but are an AMCOS member and have opted in for overseas representation by us on your behalf, we will look after your work registrations and distribution from the MLC. We have been working hard with them to get this in place before the first distributions in the new year. You do not need to sign up with the MLC or register your works in their database. We will register, collect and pay you.

If you are an AMCOS member you may also continue to receive mechanical royalties from Harry Fox Agency (HFA) via AMCOS for all other types of mechanical rights in the US. If you are an AMCOS member you do NOT need to personally register with either HFA or the new MLC.

If you are unpublished and not an AMCOS member for overseas:
You can join the MLC directly, provided you complete the relevant tax and other forms required.  You can also discuss with one of our Writer Services Rep the options regarding collection of other lines of mechanical rights in the US and the rest of the world.

Please note that if you are published or represented by AMCOS for the US and you join and register directly with the MLC it could result in dual claims and non-payment.

If you’re unpublished and not sure if you are an AMCOS member:
You can be an APRA member and not an AMCOS member. If you are unsure about your status or if your music is earning in the US and you'd like to find out more about joining AMCOS, please contact Writer Services via email, or live chat via our website.

We will continue to keep you up to date on the MLC's launch and how we can assist you.