Noteworthy changes to the way songwriters are paid digital royalties start January 2021 with the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s (DBEDT) Creative Industries Division and The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) partnering to host a free webinar for Hawaii’s music community to share information with local artists regarding receiving the revenue streams they are owed. All self-administered songwriters, composers, and lyricists are particularly encouraged to learn about The Future of Digital Audio Mechanical Royalties from Digital Service Providers in the United States and the game-changing efforts of The MLC on Thursday, January 28, 2021 at 11 a.m. HST. Registration is now open to the public at: https://themlc.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_2xMeYKcWS6G2e2-drZb_Xg.
“This important national initiative, which aligns with the 2018 Music Modernization Act, will provide a more substantial framework by which these artists can be compensated for any licensing of their works that are streamed, downloaded or placed in all forms of media,” said Mike McCartney, director of DBEDT.
A nonprofit organization designated by the U.S. Copyright Office following the landmark Music Modernization Act of 2018, The MLC is responsible for administering the blanket mechanical licenses for streaming and download services effective January 1, 2021—and for collecting the royalties due under those licenses to pay songwriters, composers, lyricists, and music publishers in a more efficient manner.
Georja Skinner, Chief Officer of DBEDT’s Creative Industries Division (CID), added that “Many self-administered artists in Hawaii, especially independent songwriters, have opportunities available through recent legislation and The MLC to ensure they are getting the digital audio mechanical royalties they are entitled to be compensated for their music, be able to access unclaimed royalties, and maintain control of their musical works in the digital age.”
Self-administered artists, those that have retained the right to register their own musical works and collect their own mechanical royalties directly or through a representative/agent (instead of a music publisher or administrator), must register for their free membership directly with The MLC to benefit from this new system at: https://portal.themlc.com/login
Said Amy Hanaialii, president of the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) and Hawaii’s top-selling female vocalist of all time, garnering 6 Grammy nominations and 18 Na Hoku Hanohano awards, “Thanks to the work of dedicated advocates speaking up for songwriters, and the innovative improvements made through The MLC and Music Modernization Act we can usher in a brighter and more equitable future for our artists—many of whom had faced challenges collecting all their entitled payments from these important income streams.”
In addition to the efforts of CID and Hawaii’s music industry in support of local artists, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) has been instrumental in introducing legislation to address IP protections and improvements at the U.S. Copyright Office. Hirono championed efforts to ensure that small, independent artists receive the royalties they deserve—and that they are also a key audience for The MLC’s outreach campaign to engage and educate musicians about the new licensing framework. The Senator conducted community meetings with local creatives at the Entrepreneurs Sandbox and remains a voice for the Hawaii creative community in Washington, D.C. to ensure their content and creative work is adequately compensated.
Further complementing these initiatives to better export and compensate creative works from Hawaii’s entrepreneurs, the state is developing a robust broadband infrastructure that will increase connectivity for everyone in the community. The added accessibility will help to ensure business in Hawaii is conducted in an equitable manner, and advance diversification of the local economy in the digital and broadband space.
The January 28 webinar will outline how local self-administered songwriters can join The MLC free of charge and submit their musical works data to The MLC Portal to be eligible for the first distribution of royalty payments next spring. Attendees will also get an understanding of how The MLC can further identify unclaimed songwriter and publisher royalties, and the benefits of its publicly accessible musical works database. All music publishers, administrators, self-administered songwriters, composers and lyricists will need to become Members of The MLC to access their data via The MLC Portal and receive payments. Artists that have assigned their rights to register and collect their mechanical royalties will not need to become a Member of The MLC—their publisher or administrator will handle registration and collection. Songwriters or composers should check to ensure that all their works are properly registered with The MLC.
About Creative Industries Division (CID)
CID, a division within DBEDT, is the state’s lead agency dedicated to advocating for and accelerating the growth of Hawaii’s Creative Economy. Through initiatives, program development, and strategic partnerships, the division and its branches implement activities to expand the business development, global export and investment capacity of Hawaii’s arts, culture, music, film, literary, publishing, digital and new media industries.
About The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC)
The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) was designated by the U.S. Register of Copyrights in July 2019 pursuant to the Music Modernization Act of 2018. The MLC is responsible for administering the new blanket compulsory license for the use of musical works by digital music services. For more background on The MLC and the Music Modernization At of 2018, go to www.TheMLC.com and www.copyright.gov/music-modernization.
About Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT)
DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.