The American Music Licensing Collective’s (AMLC) proposed plans to run the new Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) created by the Music Modernization Act were revealed on Friday (March 22), when all applications and comments were made public. The organization named its board of directors and various committees, along with an early outline of technology solutions for the proposed MLC operation and an estimated budget for nearly $44 million five-year budget.
The AMLC’s finalized board of directors includes John Barker of Clearbox Rights, lawyer and publisher Henry Gradstien, Brownlee Ferguson of Bluewater Music Corp., Optic Noize’s Lisa Klein Moberly, Union Music Group’s Ricardo Ordonez, Audiam’s Jeff Price, Eversongs’ Joerg Evers and Mayimba Music’s Mati Cuevas, as well as songwriter Rick Carnes. Other previously undisclosed board members include music publisher Ishe Music founder Wally Badarou and songwriters Imogen Heap, Zoe Keeting and Mariia. The observer seats are filled by David Wolfert from Music Answers and the Digital Licensing Coordinator and a representative of the NMPA.
Of those board members, Ferguson and Price will serve on the AMLC’s operation advisory committee, as well as Killphonic Music’s Caleb Shreve and Carnival Music’s Frank Liddell.
The proposed unclaimed royalties committee includes Ordonez, Evers, Carnes and Keating, along with American Music Partners West’s Gian Caterine, Mayimba Music’s Carolos Martin Carle and entertainment lawyer Al Staehely. Copyright owners David Bander, Juan y Nelson Entertainment’s Juan Hidalgo and songwriters Stewart Copeland, Anna Rose Menken and Helene Muddiman are also listed.
The dispute resolution committee consists of Badarou and Heap, as well as songwriter Jon Siebels, copyright owner Jonathan Segal, Boogie Shack Music Group’s Hakim Draper and Bluewater’s Peter Rosellis.
The AMLC says it also plans to establish an audit and finance committee, an education and outreach committee, a technology and security committee and an international committee. It names some of the members to each of those.
While the industry consensus group competing to run the MLC has the support of many off music’s biggest companies and agencies, the AMLC touted its own endorsements representing “hundreds of thousands of separate and unique music publishers” whose music is distributed by digital streaming services in the U.S. Those are from International Council of Music Creators, the Asia-Pacific Music Creators Alliance, Australia’s APRA, the Songwriters Guild of America, the Alianza Latinoamericana de Compositores y Autores de Música, the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance, Music Creators of North America; the Society de Authors y Composers de Columbia, the Pan-African Composer’s and Songwriters Alliance, the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, Music Answers, the American Composers Forum and the Alliance of Latin American Creators, Associação Brasileira de Música e Artes and Alianza Latinoamericana de Compositores y Autores De Musica.
The AMLC has so far been using services created by Audiam chief technology officer David Willen on a pro bono basis to design and implement technology solutions for the proposed MLC operation. According to its application, the organization initially plans to engage Music Reports Inc. and DataClef (a unit of Canadian performing rights organization SOCAN) for its technology, stating using already existing systems will “guarantee continuity of accurate payments” and allow the entity to begin with “a risk-free foundation of services.” The application also notes that the foundations of a musical database already exists, such as the 81 million works in CISNET.
From there, the AMLC says it plans to develop and rollout future iterations to improve the ability to match songs with composition and give them scalability. This would be accomplished in collaboration with the Digital Media Association, its digital services and other technology providers such as IBM. The AMLC says other technology companies have agreed to collaborate on these technology issue “but they aren’t named in the application due to their concern of damaging political or business ramification.”
Furthermore, the AMLC says it will leverage DataClef to allow for a public “claiming portal” for songwriters to search a database of unmatched or partially matched ownership. That database will include a 30 second sound preview to allow claimants to further confirm the veracity of the match.
In projecting ability to match songs, the AMLC anticipates there will be 400 million recordings and 161 million compositions by 2025. Of those, it expects to match 94 percent or 151.3 million of those compositions.
Breaking down the nearly $44 million budget for five years, the AMLC projects about $7 million in start-up costs and $9 million in salaries for a staff of 11, including top executive officers.
Finally, it says it doesn’t expect to use debt to finance the operation; nor will it use songwriter and publisher royalties because it “believes it is inappropriate to apply … [such] royalties to cover operating costs of the MLC.”