Apple pays USD 163.3 million in historical unmatched song royalties, largest contributor among 20 major music streaming services

A total of 20 music streaming services, including Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon Music, recently paid a total of USD 424.4 million (RM1.7 billion) in accrued historical unmatched royalties to The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC). The MLC is a body formed under the US’ Music Modernization Act, and the royalties are expected to be distributed to songwriters and publishers starting this April.

Among all the music streaming services that contributed to the MLC, Apple Music paid the highest licensing fees of USD 163.3 million (RM659 million). This was followed by USD 152.2 million (RM614.2 million) from Spotify, while Amazon and Google transferred USD 42.7 million (RM172.3 million) and USD 32.8 million (RM132.4 million) respectively. 

Source: 9to5Mac

If you are curious, what are “unmatched royalties”, they are essentially royalties earned that were unable to matched to a copyright owner by music streaming services. This normally occurs when songs aren’t registered correctly or the contact of the information of the songwriter is not available.

Variety reported that the MLC has taken the receipt of the royalty payments and corresponding data reports that identify the usage related to these royalties from the top streaming providers.

The MLC is responsible for collecting and distributing royalties payable to songwriters as well as identify musical works and their owners.

In addition to the royalties payments made to the MLC, the music streaming services concerned also delivered more than 1,800 data files, which contain more than 1.3 terabytes and 9 billion lines of data.

Going forward, the MLC said it will provide additional information about historical unmatched royalties on a newly created page on its website entitled “Historical Unmatched Royalties.” 

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Following the payment of the licensing fees to MLC, National Music Publishers Association President/CEO David Israelite said: 

This is a massive win for music creators and the streaming services themselves. 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, we know that it amounts to just under $425 million.”

To find more details about music royalty fees, visit The MLC’s official website.

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