Songfile FAQ


1. What is the current statutory mechanical rate for physical product (ex. CDs, Cassettes and Vinyl), PDDs, and ringtones? How is it calculated?

2. HFA’s Songfile rates for interactive streaming.

3. What can be licensed through HFA Songfile?

4. The HFA licensing percentage is not 100%. Why? What does that mean?

5. What are HFA's Songfile Licensing Terms?

6. How do I obtain print rights for sheet music?

7. How do I obtain performance rights?

8. How do I obtain master use rights?

9. How do I license a recording with samples?

10. How do I license at a reduced rate?

11. Do I need a license for less than 25 CDs, ringtones or PDDs?

12. Do I need a license for less than 100 interactive streams?

13. Do I still need a license for recordings if I'm not selling them?

14. What is "Fair Use"?

15. How do I license for digital uses other than single PDDs (full, permanentdigital downloads), ringtones, or interactive streams?

16. How do I pay my mechanical royalties to HFA?

17. How do I license a new arrangement of a copyright-protected song, or a medley?

18. Does HFA license karaoke?

19. Does HFA license multi-session recordings (DVD-A, SACD,DualDisc)?

20. Does HFA license recordings imported from other countries?

21. What is a UPC code and how can I obtain one?

22. What is an ISRC and how can I obtain one?

23. How can I license more than 2,500 units of physical or digital product?

24. How can I license more than 10,000 interactive streams?

25. Does HFA license internet radio?

26. Can I license Express Live CDs and PDDs through HFA Songfile?

27. Why can I find a song in the public search, but not when I search to license it through Songfile? Why can I license a song for some formats, but not others?

28. How can I license a song longer than 30 minutes?

29. How do I use the License Reorder Option?

30. What is an HFA Song Code?

31. How do I save a cart?

32. I added multiple songs. Why is there only one song in my saved cart?

33. How do I add multiple songs to one cart?

34. When I click on "View My Cart", my order is missing.

35. When I click on the View Cart icon on the top right of my Songfile page, I am unable to view my existing orders.

36. Can I add songs to a completed order?

37. Does a Songfile license apply outside the U.S.?


What is the current statutory mechanical rate for physical product (ex. CDs, Cassettes and Vinyl), PDDs, and ringtones? How is it calculated?

The current statutory mechanical royalty rate is $.091 (9.1 cents) per song per unit for recordings of compositions up to five minutes (5:00) in length.

For example, if one were to make a recording of a song that is less than five minutes in length (e.g. 4:07) and then manufacture and distribute 500 units of the recording, the total amount of royalties due would be $45.50. ($0.091 X 500 (units) = $45.50).

For songs over five minutes in length, the rate is based upon $.0175 (1.75 cents) per minute or fraction thereof as demonstrated below:

5:01 to 6:00 = $0.105 (6 X $.0175)

6:01 to 7:00 = $0.1225 (7 X $.0175)

7:01 to 8:00 = $0.14 (8 X $.0175)

For example, if one were to make a recording of a song that is six minutes and thirty-eight seconds in length (6:38) and then manufacture and distribute 500 units, the total amount of royalties due is $56.25. ($0.1225 X 500 (units) = $61.25).

The current statutory rate for ringtones is $0.24 (24 cents) per song per unit.

2. HFA’s Songfile rates for interactive streaming.

(Rates for interactive streaming in limited quantities of between 100 and 10,000 streams)

The royalty rate for interactive streams through Songfile is $0.01 per stream.

For example, the royalty rate for 500 interactive streams is $5.00.

The royalty rate for 5,000 interactive streams is $50.00.

For quantities over 10,000 streams, licenses for interactive streaming can be obtained through our bulk licensing process. If you are interested in obtaining such licenses, please contact newmedia@harryfox.com. Please note that in order to satisfy your obligations pursuant to the bulk licensing process for the distribution of interactive streams, you must be able to report information such as service revenue, subscriber information, content costs, and applicable performance royalty expenses. Information on the rates for bulk licensing can be found here (statutory rate/calculation link)

3. What can be licensed through HFA Songfile?

Songfile is a simple and fast way to obtain mechanical licenses for a limited number of physical recordings (CDs, cassettes and vinyl only) made and distributed in the U.S., as well as Ringtones, Permanent Digital Downloads ("PDDs") of singles, and Interactive Streams (often referred to as "on demand streams").

Songfile may be used to license up to 2,500 units (copies) of a song, for physical recordings, ringtones, and Permanent Digital Downloads (“PDDs”). If you are distributing more than 2,500 units of physical product or downloads, please set up an HFA Licensing Account. Information on how to do this can be found here.

Songfile may also be used to license a limited quantity minimum of 100 up to 10,000 individual interactive streams. If you are distributing more than 10,000 interactive streams please set up an HFA Licensing Account. Information on how do this can be found here.

The application for an HFA Licensing Account can be found here.

*If you are using Songfile, there is a $16 processing fee per song license; if more than 5 songs are requested in a transaction, the fee is reduced to $14 for each additional song. A digital invoice is generated before purchase.

4. The HFA licensing percentage is not 100%. Why? What does that mean?

This means that HFA does not represent 100% of the rights to this song. HFA may not represent one of the publishers that has partial ownership, or HFA may not be authorized to license this format.

If HFA licenses part of the song, you can complete your licensing transaction through Songfile for the percentage of the song that HFA represents. To obtain a license for the remaining percentage, or for a song that is not represented by HFA for this format, you will need to contact the publisher directly. It is your responsibility to obtain licenses from each publisher that owns part of the song so that you are licensed for 100% of the song. If you are not licensed for 100% of the song, you could be liable for infringement.

You can use the Songfile Public Search to find information on this publisher, or use the databases at the following websites:

http://www.ascap.com
http://www.bmi.com
http://www.sesac.com
http://www.copyright.gov/

5. What are HFA's Songfile Licensing Terms?

To view the terms of a standard license for CDs, cassettes or vinyl click here.
To view the terms of a license for permanent digital downloads (PDDs) click here.
To view the terms of a license for ringtones click here.
To view the terms of a license for interactive streams click here.

6. How do I obtain print rights for sheet music?

The Harry Fox Agency does not offer print rights; however, you may secure print rights by contacting the publisher directly. You can use the following databases to locate publisher contact information:

http://www.ascap.com
http://www.bmi.com
http://www.sesac.com
http://www.copyright.gov/

7. How do I obtain public performance rights?

The Harry Fox Agency does not handle public performance rights requests. However, a publisher may assign its public performance rights to one of the three following societies, in which case you may secure performance rights from that society:

http://www.ascap.com
http://www.bmi.com
http://www.sesac.com

8. How do I obtain sound recording or "master use" rights?

Master use rights are required for previously recorded material that you do not own or control. The Harry Fox Agency does not process licenses for master use rights. They can only be obtained from the owner of the master recording, usually a record company.

You should obtain the master use license from the owner prior to requesting a mechanical license from The Harry Fox Agency.

9. How do I license a recording with samples?

Sampling is (1) the use of pre-recorded material within another recording, which requires a master use right and/or (2) the use of a portion of a musical composition that you don't own or control within another recording, which requires permission from the owner.

The Harry Fox Agency does not process licenses for master use rights or licenses for the use of a portion of a composition. They can only be obtained, respectively, from the owner of the master recording, usually a record company, and the publisher directly.

10. How do I license at a reduced rate?

The Harry Fox Agency is not involved in negotiating royalty rates reduced from the statutory rate. A gratis license (no royalties paid) is also considered a reduced rate. Any reduced rates must be negotiated directly between you and the copyright owner, publisher, or administrator prior to obtaining the mechanical license. Reduced rate licenses are not available through Songfile. Once you obtain written permission for the reduced rate, you can obtain a license through HFA by submitting the original copy of that written permission with a standard mechanical license request.

You can obtain HFA's standard mechanical licensing form here.

11. Do I need a license for less than 25 CDs, ringtones or PDDs?

Yes, it is required under U.S. Copyright Law. This is how the publisher - and ultimately, the songwriter - gets compensated for the use of their song. HFA licenses for a minimum of 25 units of physical products (CDs, cassettes, and vinyl), or 25 ringtones or permanent digital downloads (PDDs). You can apply for these licenses quickly and easily using Songfile and pay with a credit card (MasterCard, Visa, or American Express) or from your checking account.

12. Do I need a license for less than 100 interactive streams?

Yes, it is required under U.S. Copyright Law. This is how the publisher - and ultimately, the songwriter - gets compensated for the use of their song. HFA licenses a minimum of 100 interactive streams. You can apply for these licenses quickly and easily using Songfile and pay with a credit card (MasterCard, Visa, or American Express) or from your checking account. A license for fewer interactive streams must be obtained directly from the publisher.

13. Do I still need a license for recordings if I'm not selling them?

Unless you are creating recordings that are covered under the fair use section of the U.S. Copyright Act, you need to obtain licenses for your recordings regardless of whether or not you are selling them.

14. What is "Fair Use"?

Some unlicensed uses of copyrighted material may be considered "fair use" under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act, which outlines factors to consider in determining fair uses of a copyrighted work. (http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107). Generally, this includes uses for educational purposes and for criticism or commentary (reviews in newspapers, for example.) "Fair use" does not include small quantity recordings for charity or religious organizations; nor does it exempt recordings that you are distributing without charge.

Unless you are sure that your usage falls under Section 107, you should obtain proper licenses for your recording.

15. How do I license for digital uses other than single PDDs (permanent digital downloads), ringtones, or interactive streams?

Licenses for full albums, single track downloads, ringtones and interactive streaming are available via HFA Songfile. Limited download ringback, lyric, tablature, digital jukebox and digital background music licensing services are also available through HFA. See more information on HFA's digital licensing options here.

16. How do I pay my mechanical royalties to HFA?

If you have obtained a limited quantity license through HFA Songfile, you have already paid the mechanical royalties, and you need make no further payment. If you wish to make additional copies beyond the number of units specified in your initial license, or your license has expired, you need to re-apply for another license. Licenses for physical goods have an indefinite term, PDD, ringtone and interactive streaming licenses are valid for only one year.

17. How do I license a new arrangement of a copyright-protected song, or a medley?

A new version or arrangement of an existing song that alters the melody or character of the song, or a medley of existing songs, is called a derivative work. You need to obtain permission from the publisher directly to create a derivative work, and include that permission when you apply for a mechanical license using HFA's regular licensing form which you can obtain here.

You can use the following databases to locate publisher information:

http://www.ascap.com
http://www.bmi.com
http://www.sesac.com
http://www.copyright.gov

18. Does HFA license karaoke?

No, HFA does not currently license karaoke recordings or downloads. You need to obtain permission from the publisher directly. You can use the following databases to locate publisher information:

http://www.ascap.com
http://www.bmi.com
http://www.sesac.com
http://www.copyright.gov

19. Does HFA license multi-session recordings (DVD-A, SACD, DualDisc)?

HFA does license multi-session recordings; however, you cannot obtain these licenses through HFA's Songfile. Please contact the HFA Licensing Department for more information at licensingservice@harryfox.com.

20. Does HFA license recordings imported from other countries?

Yes, HFA does license recordings imported into the U.S. for sale; however, you cannot obtain these licenses through HFA Songfile. You can obtain the forms for import licensing here.

Please note that you may also be responsible for mechanical licenses in the country in which the recording was initially made.

21. What is a UPC code and how can I obtain one?

The UPC (Universal Product Code or bar code) is issued by the Uniform Code Council (UCC). This is not required to complete the Songfile transaction, but a UPC code is required in most point of sale and retail environments. If you would like to obtain one, see the UCC website.

22. What is an ISRC and how can I obtain one?

The ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is the international identification system for sound recordings and music videorecordings. Each ISRC is a unique and permanent identifier for a specific recording which can be permanently encoded into a product as its digital fingerprint. You can obtain more information about ISRC at http://www.ifpi.org/content/section_resources/isrc.html.

23. How can I license more than 2,500 units of physical or digital product?

HFA Songfile is designed to facilitate limited quantity mechanical licensing. To license more than 2,500 units, please set up a Licensee Account with HFA. Information on how to do this can be found here.

24. How can I license more than 10,000 interactive streams?

HFA Songfile is designed to facilitate limited quantity mechanical licensing. To license more than 10,000 interactive streams, please set up a Licensee Account with HFA. Information on how to do this can be found here.

25. Does HFA license internet radio?

HFA does not license "internet radio" - streaming audio that is pre-programmed.

26. Can I license Express Live CDs and PDDs through HFA Songfile?

HFA offers mechanical licensing for "Express Live" CDs and PDDs, targeted at companies that enable music fans to purchase recordings or downloads of concerts right after the concert, either at the venue or from a web site. Express Live licensing is not available through HFA Songfile; to obtain this type of license contact HFA Publisher Services at 212-834-0100 or publisherservices@harryfox.com.

27. Why can I find a song in the public search, but not when I search to license it through Songfile? Why can I license a song for some formats, but not others?

Publishers may not always give HFA permission to license their catalogs for all formats. It is possible that although the song is not available for licensing through Songfile, HFA may be able to obtain that permission for you. Click here to use our Song Verification process.

28. How can I license a song longer than 30 minutes?

Songs longer than 30 minutes cannot be licensed through HFA Songfile. Please submit a standard paper HFA license request form, which can be downloaded here.

29. How do I use the License Reorder Option?

Songfile's License Reorder option lets you create a new license request from a previous license that was issued to you. You can use this option to quickly obtain licenses for additional copies of the same recording; to obtain licenses for the same recording but for a different format; or to build a new license request using those songs for a different recording (such as a "greatest hits" or a live album).

To use the License Reorder option, log in to your Songfile account and click on the "View My Licenses" button. You will see a list of the Songfile licenses issued to you. Select which license you wish to reorder by clicking the "reorder" link in the column on the far right.

You will then see the details of your previous order, and depending on any changes you want to make, will be auto-populated into your new license request (you will have the opportunity to change the licensee and artist information when you check out). Verify the type of license (physical, ringtones or PDDs), configuration or online distribution information, and the quantity for your new license.

The Songfile system will then verify HFA's current representation of the song. Over time, HFA's representation of a song may change. It is also possible that HFA may not represent the song for the alternate format. If there are any changes, the "Song Licensing Status" screen will appear. Any changes to HFA's song representation since the time of your original license transaction are highlighted in the "% Licensable" column. If HFA now represents more of a song, the licensable percentage is highlighted in green. If HFA now represents less of a song, the licensable percentage is highlighted in yellow. If at this time HFA does not represent the song for the desired configuration, the song is highlighted in red. If a song is not represented by HFA, Songfile will not place it in your shopping cart.

Once the status is verified, you will see the Songfile Cart. If you wish, you can then remove songs from the cart, or you can add additional songs by clicking the "search again" button. Once you have entered all the songs you would like for this licensing transaction, click "license request/check out." The fields on the check out screens will be auto-populated with the licensee and artist information from the original transaction. Make any necessary changes and complete any additional fields. Please note that HFA does not retain your payment information, so you will need to enter a credit card or bank account number, depending on your payment choice.

Note: You are responsible for obtaining license authority from each publisher that owns part of the above song. If you do not obtain all required license authority, you could be liable for infringement. If HFA represents only part of the song, you can complete your licensing transaction through Songfile for the percentage of the song that HFA represents; your royalty rate will be pro-rated accordingly. To obtain a license for the remaining percentage, or for a song that is not represented by HFA, you must contact the publisher directly. For more information on this process, contact Publisher Services.

30. What is an HFA Song Code?

The HFA Song Code is a 6-character unique identifier for a song in HFA's database. You can find the song code on a previously issued HFA mechanical license. It is also included in the Songfile information for that song.

31. How do I save a cart?

To save your cart, please click on "Save Cart" at the bottom of your Songfile page. Then click on "Confirm Save and Continue Order". This will save your order for 90 days. Please note that if you do not click on "Confirm Save and Continue Order", your Songfile order will not be saved.

32. I added multiple songs. Why is there only one song in my saved cart?

The Save Cart function is designed to allow customers to save orders, rather than individual tracks. To save multiple songs as part of one order, you must add all the songs for your release to one cart. HFA cannot combine the carts for you.

33. How do I add multiple songs to one cart?

Search for your first song and click "Add to Cart" on your Songfile search results page. Next, click on "Search Again" to repeat this process and add additional songs to your cart. Once all desired songs have been added to your cart, click on "Save Cart" to save your order or "License Request/Check Out" to complete your order.

34. When I click on "View My Cart", my order is missing.

If you do not choose "Confirm Save and Continue Order" in the Songfile Cart - Confirm Save screen, your Songfile order will not be saved.

35. When I click on the View Cart icon on the top right of my Songfile page, I am unable to view my existing orders.

The View Cart icon will only display your current order. To view all saved orders, please return to the Songfile homepage and click on "View My Cart".

36. Can I add songs to a completed order?

No. When you complete an order, your Saved Cart is emptied and is no longer available through the "View My Cart" option. You must begin a new license search, or if you are licensing more songs for the same physical recording, you can use the "reorder" option and remove previous songs from the order. This will save you some steps in the check-out process.

37. Does a Songfile license apply outside the U.S.?

No. A Songfile mechanical license is only valid for CDs, cassettes, LPs, ringtones, interactive streams and permanent digital downloads manufactured and distributed in the U.S. and its territories. If you would like to distribute your release outside of the U.S., you will need to follow the mechanical licensing laws of that country. Note that if you produce your release outside of the U.S., you may also need to obtain licenses in the country of manufacture. You are solely responsible for securing any rights and obtaining any additional license or authority that may be required with respect to any other third parties.