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Hawaii artists explore opportunities for collecting royalties in digital music landscape

Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 5:27 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The pandemic has devastated Hawaii’s music industry, closing the curtain on major events and live shows.

But some award-winning artists want their fellow entertainers to know there’s still a way to get paid .

Amy Hanaialii and Na Leo Pilimehana’s Nalani Jenkins joined U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono on Wednesday for a panel to discuss The Mechanical Licensing Collective, an organization that collects royalties and ensures artists are properly compensated when their work is streamed, downloaded, or reused.

The MLC was created in response to the Music Modernization Act, legislation spearheaded by Hirono.

“Before the law was passed, these streaming services could just put out all your music and you’d get zero for it, for your creative work,” Hirono said.

Hanaialii recently uploaded her catalog to the MLC and says its not only critical in the current digital music environment, but is also especially useful for Hawaii’s veteran entertainers.

“We have the kupuna and the kupunas catalog of music is vast,” Hanaialii said.

“It’s huge. And if you’re digitally streaming, any of those artists, the royalties have to come to the artist. And so The MLC collects those royalties and allocates it to our artists here in Hawaii.”

Jenkins says Na Leo Pilimehana has more than 100 songs to put into the portal and it’s an ideal way to ensure every download leads to dollars.

“As musicians, we’re doing 100 different things and kind of a last thing we want to do is paperwork or in this case, digital paperwork,” said Jenkins, who is also the founder of Make Music Hawaii.

“I guess that was one of my interests in being on the panel is to encourage all the musicians out there, if you’re putting it off, go do it.”

Interested musicians can sign up at themlc.com.

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