What Is the Harry Fox Agency (HFA)?

Let’s start with what it’s not: a PRO

The Harry Fox Agency (HFA) meets the mechanical and digital licensing needs of music publishers (Songtrust included). This includes licenses for the recording and reproduction of ringtones, CDs, downloads, lyrics, and other usages. HFA also examines and distributes royalties, investigates and negotiates new business opportunities, and pursues piracy claims.

HFA is often confused with Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) like ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC despite the fact that they deal with completely separate rights types. To put the differences between the two in perspective, here are some common PRO concerns HFA is not responsible for:

  • Representing writers and publishers when a piece is placed in a film or performed by other musicians  
  • Issuing print rights that are required to revise or publish lyrics
  • Administering performance rights that permit the use of music in a public setting such as a restaurant, concert hall, radio station, or nightclub
  • Issuing master use rights that permit the use of an original recording
  • Clearing the use of samples

This diagram shows how HFA collects mechanical royalties.

Mechanical Royalty Flow Chart (1)


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