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The CEO of Non-Profit MLC Bags 0,000 Salary In 2022 as CFO Annual Compensation Tops 0,000, Tax Disclosures Show

mechanical licensing collective

Mechanical Licensing Collective CEO Kris Ahrend earned a healthy $699,449 during 2022, according to newly surfaced tax disclosures. Photo Credit: Mackenzie Marco

Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) CEO Kris Ahrend earned just shy of $700,000 during 2022, while other higher-ups pulled down sizable salaries in their own right, according to newly released tax disclosures.

The MLC’s 2022 federal tax filings have now surfaced, shedding light on the compensation of CEO Kris Ahrend as well as CFO Ilene Weintraub, chief legal officer Kristen Johns, and chief marketing officer Ellen Truley, among others. The IRS filings were shared with Digital Music News this week, and represent the most recent disclosures from the non-profit agency.

Diving into the appropriate figures, Ahrend’s 2022 salary totaled $699,449: $664,383 in core pay from the MLC and the remaining $35,066 attributable to “other compensation from the organization and related organizations,” per the documents. Predictably, Ahrend took home more than any other MLC exec on the year.

Nevertheless, Weintraub secured a healthy $506,175 overall, the filing shows, against $398,498 for Johns and a decidedly substantial $362,861 for the marketing professional Truley. Spread across 52 weeks, Ahrend’s salary comes out to $13,451 weekly and, factoring for the identified average of 40 hours per week he turned in throughout the stretch, north of $336 per hour.

Mechanical Licensing Collective Top Salaries of 2022

  1. CEO Kris Ahrend – $699,449
  2. CFO Ilene Weintraub – $506,175
  3. Chief legal officer Kristen Johns – $398,498
  4. Chief marketing officer Ellen Truley – $362,861
  5. Head of rights management Maurice Russell – $304,300
  6. Head of analytics and automation Andrew Mitchell – $258,417
  7. Head of finance Monique Benjamin – $245,605
  8. Assistant general counsel Nathan Osher – $243,018
  9. Chief people officer Leigh McCorkle – $242,786
  10. CTO/CIO Richard Thompson – $230,290

While perhaps not completely outrageous – higher-ups at certain other government-mandated entities boast larger salaries than even Ahrend – these figures will undoubtedly elicit pushback from music industry corners.

Designated by the Copyright Office to administer the blanket license established under 2018’s Music Modernization Act (MMA), the MLC is, after all, a non-profit. And not factoring for their extremely lucrative endeavors outside of office, members of Congress make $174,000 yearly, compared to $400,000 for the president.

Furthermore, what appears the likeliest music industry response to the massive paydays won’t be helped by the MLC’s growing tranche of unmatched “black box” royalties, including (as of 2022) $415.44 million in identified “historical unmatched royalties,” $143.99 million in “blanket unmatched royalties,” $107.95 million in “blanket unclaimed royalties,” and $6.17 million in “blanket held royalties,” according to the tax disclosures.

To date, the exact status of this as-yet-unpaid capital has prompted some questions from lawmakers – with its ultimate destination (assuming it doesn’t end up reaching the rightful recipients) remaining the subject of greater controversy yet.

It’s against this backdrop that the MLC, which per the tax document attributed $15.28 million to “investment income” (with $14.59 million specifically from interest on the pile of unmatched and unclaimed royalties) for 2022, tapped several proper companies in December to form a “Supplemental Matching Network.”

The start of that effort to more effectively match royalties preceded the announcement of the first audit of the MLC, which is itself auditing digital service providers including Spotify and Apple Music. And beyond these multifaceted occurrences, the MLC is suing Pandora over alleged unpaid royalties – as the Copyright Office reviews the MLC’s aforesaid designation under the MMA.

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