In February 1930 Paul Heinecke founded The Society of European Stage Authors and Composers, or SESAC, on the principle that “Music is the common denominator…a communications instrument that knows no language barrier.” At the time, it was America’s second performing rights organization with a repertory consisting primarily of works published by European firms.
In the 1950s, SESAC established its electrical transcription service. Some of the earliest transcribed artists were jazz and country performers, including Duke Ellington, Chet Atkins, and Hank Garland.
With the advent of broadcasting as both an art form and a commercial enterprise, it brought about a new era for music and for SESAC. With the growth in media and musical usage, SESAC expanded its repertoire to include hundreds of American publisher’s catalogs across every musical genre, as well as for film and television composers.
In 1992 Stephen Swid, Allen & Co, Freddie Gershon, and Ira Smith acquired SESAC and marked the beginning of a new era for the company. In September 2015, SESAC acquired The Harry Fox Agency (HFA), the leading U.S. mechanical rights organization and positioned SESAC as the only music rights organization in the United States, with the ability to offer singular licenses for the works of its affiliated writers and publishers that aggregate both performance and mechanical rights. In February 2017, SESAC was acquired by Blackstone.
Today SESAC represents thousands of music publishers and affiliates as well as the best film and television composers and hosts over 1 million songs in its repertoire. SESAC Music Group is a leader and innovator in global music licensing that administers public performance, mechanical, and other rights through its data, technology and services portfolio. SESAC Performing Rights, The Harry Fox Agency, Rumblefish, Audiam, and Mint Digital Services drive efficiency in licensing for music users and enhance value for writers, publishers, and composers by providing timely and efficient copyright administration, royalty collection and distribution. SESAC has offices in New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, London and Munich.