Licensing Solution Enables Immediate Availability of Live Concert Recordings

December 6, 2004 

The Harry Fox Agency, Inc. (HFA), the premier U.S. mechanical rights organization, announced today that it is now offering mechanical licensing for “Express Live” CDs and permanent digital downloads (DPDs). This license is targeted at companies that enable music fans to purchase recordings or downloads of concerts almost immediately after the last note is played, either at the venue or from a web site after the concert.

“The licensing agreement we have created for Express Live takes into consideration the unique aspects of this kind of recording and distribution – its immediacy and unpredictability – and provides a flexible framework that allows the services to deliver their product while ensuring proper compensation for the publishing community,” said Michael Simon, Senior Vice President of Licensing and the Chief of Strategic Development and Marketing for HFA.

“It’s an exciting opportunity that can transform the bootleg market into a recorded concert business.”

“As a music and media licensing company with a history of servicing live recordings for immediate distribution projects we recognize the importance of having a licensing solution that accommodates the spontaneity of this situation,” said Stephanie Scarpulla, Director of Licensing, Diamond Time, Ltd. “HFA’s Express Live licensing really helps to support artistic creativity while providing a practical solution for obtaining licenses for songs that are played, recorded and distributed on the spot. The new language gives artists the freedom they need while at the same time providing an efficient licensing solution that respects the rights of the publishers and songwriters.” 

There are several differences between an Express Live and a standard mechanical license. For a standard license, the licensee must obtain the mechanical license for their recording prior to the creation of the release; and the license must also obtain a separate mechanical license for each use of the song by the same recording artist, for example, one for the initial recording and another for the “Greatest Hits” package.

The HFA Express Live license accommodates the special needs of this new type of recording, making the format’s quick turnaround possible. Distinct from the standard mechanical license, Express Live licenses are limited to product sold directly by the licensee to consumers, either at the concert venue or through mail delivery (if the licensee wishes to distribute Express Live CD or DPDs via a third-party online, terrestrial wholesale, or retail distribution channel, they must obtain a standard mechanical license before distribution).

While Express Live licensees are required to license the songs from the artist’s anticipated set list at least 15 days prior to the concert, there is a short “grace period” which allows Express Live recordings to be sold immediately after the event, with any unanticipated songs to be licensed by the close of the next business day. The license is also “reusable,” in that one license will cover all recordings of the song by a particular artist in the Express Live context, but will be differentiated when the licensee submits its regular quarterly licensing report and payment.

Express Live licenses are offered at the same statutory royalty rate as a standard compulsory mechanical license, which is currently 8.5¢ for recordings five minutes or less, or 1.65¢ per minute of playing time for songs over five minutes, rounded up to the nearest minute. First use, reduced rate, and other song restrictions will require the normal publisher approval prior to the issuance of licenses by HFA.

About The Harry Fox Agency

Established in 1927 by the National Music Publishers Association, HFA represents over 27,000 U.S. music publishers for their mechanical licensing needs, issuing licenses and collecting and distributing royalties. HFA also provides collection and monitoring services to its U.S. publisher clients for music distributed and sold in over 75 territories around the world.

For more information about HFA, or to become an affiliate publisher or a licensee, see www.harryfox.com.

  • nashphil

    I wonder if Kip can purchase the license for the wonderful song “Beating A Dead Horse”

  • Jon Weisberger

    I would think this is useful, if belated information for anyone wanting to fulfill his or her ethical and legal obligations while distributing concert recordings. It’s important to note, though, that the royalty rate is currently 9.1 cents for recordings 5 minutes or less – it’s gone up (by statute) since this press release first appeared.