The Harry Fox Agency has upgraded its Songfile online mechanical licensing service to accommodate requests for smaller uses.

Companies and individuals may now license compositions for as few as 25 units -- CDs, DPDs (e.g., downloads) and other formats -- rather than paying for a minimum of 150 DPDs or 250 CDs, cassettes or LPs. HFA intends the adjustment to especially help musicians who need to license cover versions of songs and plan to make and distribute no more than 2,500 units.

HFA has also added electronic checks as a Songfile payment option.

"We surveyed over 32,000 Songfile users, and a smaller transaction minimum was a top request," says Gary Churgin, HFA CEO/president. "We expect that the electronic check option will be a big help for individuals and organizations that don't have credit cards yet still wish to use the service. If you did not write the song you recorded, you need a mechanical license, and HFA wants to make that process as simple as possible."

The Songfile community secured more than 50,000 licenses in 2007. Maurice Russell, HFA VP of licensing, says that these licenses added up to more than $4.4 million in collections -- more revenue than many well-known independent labels collect.

"Publishers should also know that HFA pays to them Songfile royalties at the statutory rate without deducting a commission," adds Ed Hunt, HFA senior VP of publisher services. "They receive 100% of the mechanical royalties from their songs. They can also affiliate with HFA just for Songfile licensing."

Those who want to license through Songfile can visit the HFA Web site, create an account, search HFA's catalog of almost 1.9 million songs and complete their mechanical licensing transaction in minutes. Royalties are calculated at the statutory mechanical rate, which is currently 9.1¢ per copy for songs 5 minutes or less in length or 1.75¢ per minute per copy for songs over 5 minutes. There is also a small processing fee on each song licensed.

If a user just wants to conduct research, there is a separate Songfile public search tool on the Web site free of charge.