Music Business

‘Songwriters have been shorted nearly 1/2 billion dollars by streaming services in last decade’

Musicians and the music industry have been reacting to the news that the Mechanical Licensing Collective has received and will distribute more than $424 million in unmatched “black box’ streaming royalties.

No one is blaming the MLC, whose job it is to now find the rightful recipient of the $424 million.

Rather Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and the other DSPs are being called out for the enormity of the unpaid funds and the poor matching and reporting practices that led to it.

“Let me translate this for you.: Songwriters have been shorted nearly 1/2 billion dollars by streaming services in last decade,” tweeted musician and industry critic David Lowery.

20 DSPs (see list) transferred $424 million in accrued historical unmatched royalties to The MLC as required by law in order for them to seek the MMA’s limitation on liability for past infringement. 

“This significant amount proves just how broken the system was.”

“Songwriters and music publishers have for years fought to ensure they were paid accurately and fully by digital streaming services. ‘Unmatched money’ has plagued the industry and today, thanks to the Music Modernization Act (MMA), we know that it amounts to just under $425 million – not including money previously paid out in multiple million dollar settlements,” wrote National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) president & CEO David Israelite “This significant amount proves just how broken the system was, how much the MMA was needed, and how much songwriters have to benefit from the protections it has put in place. At long last, that money can make its way to its rightful owners. This is a massive win for music creators and the streaming services themselves. The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) obtaining this historically unmatched money, doing the research to find its owners, and giving copyright owners a transparent process to claim what is theirs is exciting progress that paves the way for the future growth of streaming that will benefit the entire industry.”

MORE: MLC Has $424M In Unmatched Streaming Royalties To Pay Out

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  1. Is this the streaming services fault who just can’t keep accurate records or was the info never given to them in a complete and proper way? I mean are we to believe that 20 Streaming services were just lazy and at fault with all of this missing info? This is a problem that goes WAY WAY beyond the streaming services. I’ve been hearing these types of stories from TOP SONGWRITERS about their own publishing companies for years – missing data, missing co-writers, wrong %’s, complete songs that are missing from their systems, etc. etc. AND THAT’S FROM THEIR OWN PUBLISHERS. BEFORE the MMA, no one would have gotten this $ – Thank God, there’s a mechanism in place to capture these dollars. I think a loss of $424,000,000 over 10 years should be a major wake up call on the importance of proper data management.

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