|Key people||Stephen Swid, Chairman, CEO|
SESAC, originally the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers, is the smallest of the three performance rights organizations in the United States. SESAC was founded in 1930, making it the second-oldest performing rights organization (PRO) in the U.S. SESAC is also the fastest-growing PRO in the United States. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, SESAC deals with all aspects of the business, from creation to licensing and administration. The company also has offices in New York City, Los Angeles, London, Atlanta, and Miami.
SESAC touts its small size:
If the phrase "quality vs. quantity" ever mattered, SESAC is the place. While SESAC is the smallest of the three U.S. performing rights organizations, size is its largest advantage. SESAC prides itself on developing individual relationships with both songwriters and publishers.
Whereas ASCAP and BMI operate on a not-for-profit basis, SESAC retains some income as profit. While ASCAP and BMI distribute all income from performance royalties to their composer and publisher affiliates (less an administrative fee), SESAC retains an undisclosed amount of performance royalty income. SESAC is also unique among the U.S. performing rights organizations in that it does not offer open membership – one must be approved to join.
The Society of European Stage Authors and Composers was founded by Paul Heinecke, a German immigrant in New York. SESAC originally strove to support underrepresented European stage authors and composers with their American performance royalties, hence the original name. Heinecke continued to lead the company over the next four decades until his death in 1972.
As its original objective diminished in the 1960s, the company entered other musical genres. Since that time, the company has represented a wider range of writers and genres. SESAC's affiliates roster includes Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Robert Johnson, Bryan-Michael Cox, Nate "Danja" Hills, Rush, Coheed & Cambria, Young Love, The Faint, Rapture, and more.
In the 1930s SESAC helped broadcasters satisfy Federal Communications Commission requirements, supplying them with gospel recordings. The business began its evolution in the 1940s, and in the 1950s SESAC established its electronic transcription series.
The company moved into new headquarters in Columbus Circle in Midtown Manhattan and opened an office in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1964. Six years later, the company began representing songwriters in addition to its traditional business of representing publishers. With a focus on Christian songwriters, the company was an early player in the Contemporary Christian music format. That evolution led the company to move its headquarters to Nashville in 1985.
- Dow, Cindy (29 April 2010). "Copyright issue brings an end to music at cafe". The Standard-Times (New Bedford, Massachusetts). Retrieved 17 February 2011.
- About us. SESAC. Retrieved on 2007-07-20.
- Music in the Marketplace. Better Business Bureau. Retrieved on 2007-07-20.
- How to affiliate. SESAC. Retrieved on 2007-07-25.
- SESAC Repertory