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Timothy M. Crain

Performing rights organization. It represents songwriters and publishers and their right to be compensated for having their music performed in public. With headquarters in Nashville and offices in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, and London, it is the smallest of the main Performing rights societies in the United States. Unlike the not-for-profit organizations ASCAP and BMI, which distribute all income from performance royalties to their composer and publisher affiliates (minus an administrative fee), SESAC retains a certain amount of the performance royalties from its members. Moreover, membership in SESAC is selective and only granted through an application process. Once admitted, musicians and publishers are paid royalties based upon how much their music is played through monitoring by computer database information and broadcast logs.

SESAC was founded in 1930 by Paul Heinecke, a German immigrant to the United States. Heinecke lead the company until his death in 1972. The original name of the company was the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers, although it has subsequently gone simply by SESAC. The society originally strove to support under-represented European stage authors and composers with their American performance royalties. With an established base repertoire of European concert traditions, it turned its attention to American music traditions in the 1930s, including gospel and Christian music genres and eventually moved into mainstream popular musics during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Since the 1960s the company has represented an ever-growing range of writers and genres, including notables such as Bob Dylan and Neil Diamond. In ...