…Then there’s the sticky problem of Harry Fox Agency itself, an organization roundly being blamed for the current royalty mess. Indeed, HFA, tasked by Spotify to handle specific mechanical licensing, may have been permanently tarred as incompetent by the current imbroglio. Those accusations have only been intensified by gaffes like $0.00 checks (see above), $0.01 checks (we’ve seen at least one), and accusations of shadiness on the part of the NMPA, whose recent sale of HFA to SESAC could be complicating by the recent issues.
Those strings may explain why HFA has been tapped by the NMPA to clean up the very mess it’s been accused of creating. Though strangely, Spotify has been tasked with creating an online interface to properly match songs with their mechanical rights (a task that seems more appropriate for the company in charge of matching — and paying — songwriters on their mechanical rights)….
Meanwhile, mega-players like Apple are starting to seriously distance themselves from HFA given the serious legal risks attached. Just recently, Apple shifted at least part of its mechanical royalty tasks to Music Reports, Inc., an HFA competitor. Others, including litigated-against services like Rhapsody, Google Play Music and Microsoft-owned Groove Music, are undoubtedly restructuring their arrangements to avoid future liabilities.