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Mechanical Licensing Collective Selects Leadership, Partners for Copyright Database

ConsenSys and Harry Fox Agency will support the database, with Richard Thompson overseeing its development and launch as CIO.

Two weeks ago, the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) secured crucial funding to create a central database of music copyright information to distribute royalties to songwriters and copyright owners. The creation of the MLC and its database are mandates of the Music Modernization Act, passed in October 2018.

Now, the MLC is announcing some of the partners that will help support the database — and filling a leadership post key to its launch.

Richard Thompson, the former chair of international data standards-setting org Digital Data Exchange, has been formally named the MLC’s chief information officer, responsible for overseeing the development and launch of the database. Thompson, who also helped build the technology platform behind Kobalt’s publishing, distribution and label businesses, had been serving as chief information officer in an interim capacity since February.


“Richard’s impressive experience in building the technology behind Kobalt, as well as his past role as chair of DDEX and his participation in the international music metadata standards group for nearly a decade, make him the ideal person to drive the development of the MLC’s platform,” said MLC Board chair Alisa Coleman in a statement. 

Technology company ConsenSys and mechanical licensing administrator Harry Fox Agency have been selected to manage the matching of data uses to musical works on the database; distributing mechanical royalties; and onboarding songwriters, composers, lyricists and music publishers and their catalogs.

Those partners were chosen from more than a dozen technology companies that participated in the initial request for information that began in November 2018, where they were asked to detail their U.S. businesses, user platforms, matching, administration and royalty distribution processes and technological capabilities. ConsenSys and Harry Fox Agency were approved unanimously by the MLC Board.


In accordance with the Music Modernization Act, the database must go live on January 1, 2021.

“After completing a rigorous evaluation process, HFA in collaboration with ConsenSys is the clear choice to ensure that the MLC has a solid platform to deliver on its mission,” said Thompson in a statement. “These vendors will successfully help the MLC deliver not only what is required under the MMA, but also improve the overall mechanical licensing process in the United States.”

Global consulting firm Prophet will create the portal’s user interface, with the goal of making it as accessible and easy-to-use as possible. The MLC is also working with the Digital Data Exchange to design interfaces to access the data.