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SESAC opens Latin music unit

Performing rights group SESAC has established a new Latin music branch, SESAC/Latina, the first computerized monitor specifically geared toward Spanish-language broadcasting in North America.

SESAC/Latina will use “per-play” licensing of its repertoire, monitoring broadcast outlets using a tracking system developed by Broadcast Data Inc. Outlets will be required to pay only for Latin music aired.

The other two U.S. performing rights societies, Broadcast Music Inc. and the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers, use blanket licenses that allow broadcasters and other outlets use of music for a yearly set fee that does not monitor actual usage.

The SESAC computerized tracking system will survey commercial airplay on Spanish-format radio and TV stations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The system is undergoing final field tests but is expected to be on line shortly.

Overseeing day-to-day operations at SESAC/Latina will be William Velez, an attorney who has held executive positions at ASCAP, BMI and Polygram. Velez is also founder and president of the American Latin Music Assn.

“With this system, (license fees for) Latin music can now be isolated and distributed directly to SESAC/Latina’s songwriters and publishers without being mixed in with the pool of monies generated from all other genres,” said Velez. “The result will be decreased expenditures by Spanish-language broadcasters, who feel they now overpay for rights including English-language music they do not use.”

Velez said songwriters and publishers would also benefit by more accurate reporting of song airplay.

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