Well, this was predictable: the predicted costs of the US’ new Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) are meeting resistance from the digital music services that will be paying for it. That’s according to Digital Music News, anyway, which has been talking to an executive at one of the DSPs (“easily one of the top five in terms of sheer size and subscribers”) about their thoughts on the proposed $66.25m budget to get the MLC up and running, and fund its first year of operation.
The unnamed exec described the budget as “easily three times the cost of creating a comparable organisation of this nature”, adding “We know what services spend and what it costs to do that work… it’s a big price tag without a lot of information attached to it”.
Reading between the lines, the budget itself may not be the problem as much as the transparency around how the money will be used. The prospect of wrangling over the costs of a body that should be tackling one of the thorniest problems in the US music-streaming ecosystem is disheartening, but it will be important for both sides to be comfortable with how the MLC is set up, and how transparent its running costs are to the services funding it.