Apple Pays $163.34 Million in Licensing Fees for Songwriters and Publishers

The Mechanical Licensing Collective today announced (via Variety) that Apple and other digital service providers have paid a total of $424,384,787 in historical unmatched royalty fees.

apple music
Of that total, Apple paid $163,338,890 which was the highest fee paid out. Spotify paid $152,226,039, which marked the second highest payment. After that, Amazon paid $42,741,507, and Google paid $32,855,222. Other streaming services like Pandora, iHeart Media, SoundCloud, and Deezer paid smaller amounts.

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) that collected the funding is a nonprofit organization that was created in 2019 by the Music Modernization Act and designated by the U.S. Copyright office.

Starting in January 2021, the MLC began providing blanket licenses to eligible streaming and download services in the United States. It collects royalties due under those licenses and then pays them out to songwriters, music publishers, and others to make sure creators are receiving the proper funds for their work. Prior to now, song-by-song licensing was used, making it difficult for streaming services to deliver the proper royalties to all those involved in a song's creation.

The back fees that were paid by streaming companies in January and February are related to the Music Modernization Act's limitation on liability for past infringement. Songwriters, music publishers, composers, and others have long struggled to be paid by streaming music services, which the MLC is meant to address. Music streaming providers also sent data linking royalties to creators, and the MLC's job will be to review and analyze the data provided by the streaming music companies to find and pay the proper copyright holders.

Songwriters, composers, music publishers, and others will be able to register with the MLC to receive the payments that they're owed. The MLC will begin sending out payments in April.

A total of 20 DSPs separately transferred accrued historical unmatched royalties to The MLC as required in order for them to seek the MMA's limitation on liability for past infringement. In addition to the accrued unmatched royalties transferred to The MLC, the DSPs concerned also delivered more than 1,800 data files, which contain in excess of 1.3 terabytes and nine billion lines of data.

The transfer of these monies represents the culmination of a months-long effort on the part of The MLC and these DSPs to develop and implement the specifications for these usage reports. With these historical unmatched royalties and usage reports now in hand, The MLC can begin the process of reviewing and analyzing the data in order to find and pay the proper copyright owners.

Going forward, music providers like Apple are required to send the MLC monthly usage data on streaming content along with the corresponding royalties, which the MLC will dole out. For unmatched royalties, the MLC maintains a database that creators can search to see if they're due missing money.

Popular Stories

new best buy blue

Best Buy's Memorial Day Sale Has Record Low Prices on iPads, MacBooks, and Much More

Friday May 24, 2024 7:12 am PDT by
Best Buy today kicked off its Memorial Day weekend sale, and it has some of the best prices we've tracked in weeks on iPads and MacBooks. Specifically, you'll find record low prices on the 5th generation iPad Air, iPad mini 6, M2 MacBook Air, and M3 MacBook Pro. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
macOS 15 Feature

macOS 15 System Settings to Get Design Overhaul

Thursday May 23, 2024 12:51 pm PDT by
With the macOS 15 update that is set to debut at WWDC in June, Apple plans to rearrange "menus and app UIs," according to a report from AppleInsider. The System Settings app, which was last updated with macOS Ventura, will get one of the biggest updates. With macOS Ventura, Apple renamed the System Preferences app to System Settings, introducing a design similar to the Settings app on the...
6chatgpt mac app

5 Reasons to Use OpenAI's ChatGPT App for Mac

Thursday May 23, 2024 6:07 am PDT by
On May 13, OpenAI during its Spring Update announced that it would be releasing a desktop ChatGPT app for the Mac in the "coming weeks," and said that ahead of a wider launch it had started rolling out the app to some ChatGPT Plus subscribers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. After testing the app for a few days, we thought it was worth sharing some reasons why...
iOS 17

Apple Sheds More Light on iOS 17.5 Bug That Resurfaced Deleted Photos

Friday May 24, 2024 2:36 am PDT by
Last week, some iPhone users reported that Apple's iOS 17.5 update had introduced a bug that caused old photos that were deleted to reappear in the Photos app. Apple quickly released an iOS 17.5.1 update to fix the issue, but for many users, its explanation of "database corruption" in the release notes was all too brief, and did little to allay concerns about the privacy of their data. Apple ...

Top Rated Comments

farewelwilliams Avatar
43 months ago
Apple Music has less paying subscribers, yet paying more royalties than Spotify.

Spotify is scummy.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
technicalFoozle Avatar
43 months ago
"$163,338,890 million" That is a lot of millions!

I'm pretty sure the word "million" is redundant after the number. I say this because for a moment I was very confused at how much they paid not to grammar-shame. I referred back to the headline for clarity.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cjboffoli97 Avatar
43 months ago
Man. Imagine if companies like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest had to pay a compulsory license for all of the images that are posted to their respective sites (by third parties that don't own or have permission to use the work). Visual artists might have an improved chance at making a living instead of those companies simply profiting from the broad exploitation.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
travelsheep Avatar
43 months ago
When an artists gets a DIRECT payment from CUSTOMER TO ARTIST of e.g. $ 100 after processing fees and taxes she can be lucky to net $ 60 or $ 70. For these umbrella deals with the big managers and houses and management fees and what not I guess that crumbles down to merely a few dollars after taxes, even for the biggest musicians.

We customers are getting screwed over too. When I send money to an artist I want my hard earned cash to go to the artist, not to some ultra-rich man-in-the-middle attackers.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hoodafoo Avatar
43 months ago
I'm guessing $163 million translates to a couple extra quarters in artists royalty checks next month?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
genovelle Avatar
43 months ago

It's fine. I don't see any reason that because someone is a musician they are entitled to more money than the rest of us.
What are you creating that adds value to the world? If you have intellectual property you also deserve to be compensated accordingly.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)