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SESAC Expands Presence in Nashville as Music Companies Leave City

When many music companies are leaving or have left for less-expensive office space, one company has doubled down on its Music Row footprint in Nashville. In December SESAC will move to its new offices in the heart of Music Row, a brand new 42,000-sq.-ft., five-story building, which it will share with the Country Music Assn.

SESAC is the smallest of the three major performing rights organizations in the U.S. (the other two are ASCAP and BMI), and the only one that is a for-profit entity. Founded in 1930, SESAC has been based in Nashville since 1985, and according to its chairman and CEO John Josephson, the building is a statement that the city will be home to the org for many years to come.

Recently SESAC stirred up a lot of interest by purchasing the venerable Harry Fox Agency, the gold standard over nearly a century of collecting and distributing mechanical royalties — funds received from sales of musical product such as records, CDs and downloads — for songwriters and publishers. In the past, the performing rights organizations all concentrated on collecting and distributing performance royalties only. In addition to Harry Fox, SESAC acquired Rumblefish, a pioneer in the field of music micro-licensing.

SESAC’s roster of writer affiliates includes Mariah Carey, Zac Brown, Green Day, Kesha, Charli XCX, Nikki Sixx, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond and Lady Antebellum.

“We intend to look at music rights holistically,” Josephson says. “We want to begin by aggregating performance and mechanical rights and eventually be able to license across multiple territories.”

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