‘Show me the money!’ -Artists, The MLC, and the meta-data hot potato
Rubber is about to meet the road for the Mechanical Licensing Collective, and come mid-April, there is one phrase that will be rolling off the lips every of songwriter and musician.
Op-ed by Chris Castle of Music Technology Policy
Here it is: The MLC is about to hear those beautiful words. They will hear it in English. They will hear it in Spanish. They will hear it in Bantu, French, Portuguese, Pashto, Russian, Hausa, Berber and Czech.
And songwriters will say it like they mean it. They won’t want to hear about “connect to collect” they won’t want to hear about “play your part” or the ontological definition of “match.”
“Show me the money.”
They will say just one thing – show me. The MLC will hear it on the phone, in email, maybe even in person. And songwriters will want to hear everyone at MLC say those magic words. Loud. The family motto. A very personal and important thing. It should be said with conviction maybe even shouted from the rooftops.
No more hot potato. And while it may start with MLC it won’t end there. If the services think they are off the hook, there’s just one thing to say. Are you ready? You know what it is.
They got it, we want it, now show it.
But just in case it doesn’t all go swimmingly on April 15, it might be time to start thinking about drafting an affirmative obligation on your publisher to take care of any bad data in your publishing or administration agreements (or at least try–let me know how far you get). Most of what I’ve heard anecdotally about the quality of the MLC public database leads me to think that songwriters think the publisher is registering their songs correctly at the MLC. So why not put it in writing?
If you don’t, that hot potato will just keep on bouncing around if there’s not a clear place where the buck stops. The services will blame the MLC, the MLC will say you didn’t connect to collect to play your part, your publisher will blame the MLC, and round and round and round it goes.
You know what you tell them, right? The family motto.