At the Harry Fox Agency, mechanical royalty collections were down while overall collections were up for 2006. Total collections reached $379.4 million, up 2% from the prior year due primarily to the agency's royalty compliance examinations of licensees' accounting records. But mechanicals, about $349.2 million, were down 4% from 2005. HFA reports that the decrease reflects the continued decline in CD sales.

"I believe these positive returns are due in large part to our improvements in our technology and our people-driven business processes, which have allowed us to focus our resources in new ways," says Gary Churgin, HFA president/CEO. "2006 was our first full year of operations with our new integrated technology backbone, and it is satisfying that we have been able to realize immediate results for our publishers and licensees."

For 2006, royalty compliance exam collections were $29 million, an increase of 358% from the previous year. This was due in part to the conclusion of a significant exam in progress during 2005. The agency did not disclose any specifics about that exam.

Mechanical rates also increased in 2006. The U.S. statutory rate for mechanical licenses went from the greater of 8.5 cents per song or 1.65 cents per minute, to the greater of 9.1 cents per song or 1.75 cents per minute. HFA's commission in 2006 remained at 6.75% of royalties. It did not charge a commission on licenses issued through Songfile, the limited-quantity online license.

Adding 182 more publishers to its affiliations last year, HFA now represents the U.S. mechanical rights for more than 31,000 publishers worldwide. More than 1.6 million songs are available for licensing.