We completed our fourth monthly royalty distribution of the year on April 14, bringing us to 25 total royalty distributions since we began full operations — all of which have been on time or early. April’s distribution primarily covered newly reported usage that took place in January of 2023. The total of all royalty pools reported to The MLC for this cycle was approximately $83.6 million. Once again, we were able to match 85 percent of that amount to songs currently registered in our database. 

After deducting royalties for usage covered by voluntary licenses maintained by DSPs with rightsholders, we collected approximately $79.6 million in royalties and distributed approximately $58.7 million to our Members.

As you regularly see in our monthly newsletters, we always break down the remaining royalties that are pending distribution into the following three categories: unmatched, unclaimed and on hold. We do this to provide greater transparency into the reasons these royalties are being held and to help you understand the steps you can take to help us reduce these amounts. For a refresher on these terms and what you can do to collect your royalties, check out the Annual Royalty Recap we shared in February.

This month, the remaining royalties still pending distribution break down as follows: 

  • $12.3 million in royalties for uses we have not been able to match to registered works;
  • $7.3 million in royalties for shares of matched works that have not yet been registered (or claimed) by our Members; and
  • $1.3 million in matched royalties that are on hold.

In addition, The MLC also distributed another $4.6 million in blanket royalties from previously unmatched or unclaimed uses that we were able to match, through reprocessing, to data submitted to us after we completed the initial distribution cycle for that usage. Thanks to reprocessing, our current average match rates for each month of usage we initially processed in 2021 and 2022 now range between 88 and 91 percent.

This month, we continued to distribute our second batch of matched historical royalties for uses that took place between 2007 and 2017 (during the Phono 1 and 2 rate periods). This second batch of matched royalties relates to uses for which DSPs had previously paid out royalties to at least one rightsholder. As a result of our work on this second batch of royalties, along with our continued reprocessing of the remaining unmatched data from the first set of historical uses we began processing last year, we were able to distribute approximately $2.4 million in historical royalties this month. Most of this total represents royalties for historical uses reported by Spotify that took place in 2017 and were previously only partially paid; the remaining amounts were from our reprocessing of the remaining unmatched royalties for uses reported by other DSPs that had no previously paid royalties.  

As always, the matched historical royalties we distribute are clearly identified on the royalty statements we provide to Members, and we specify the usage month for these historical royalties just like we already do for blanket royalties.

To catch up on the progress we’ve shared about historical unmatched royalties so far, you can find all the updates here

Update on Historical Unmatched Data

As you know, when we began distributing matched historical royalties last spring, we also began making the remaining historical unmatched royalty data available to be searched by our Members in our Matching Tool. To help you understand which type of unmatched data you were seeing in your search results, we added an “H” icon to indicate that your search returned historical unmatched usage that took place before January 1, 2021, and a “B” icon to indicate that your search returned blanket unmatched usage that took place on or after January 1, 2021 (the date the blanket license The MLC administers became effective).

We have now largely completed our initial ingestion of the historical unmatched data, with only a few remaining files from Spotify left to complete. (As we’ve previously shared, working through the Spotify data has taken several months because the size of their data files is so large.) In the next few weeks, we will have completed the process of adding the remaining unmatched data from Spotify for usage that took place in the second half 2020. After this is complete, all of the remaining unmatched data for all of the historical royalties we received will be available to be searched by our Members using our Matching Tool, with one exception (the historical data we received from FanLabel, which contains issues that FanLabel has not been able to rectify).