It’s been an eventful start to 2017 for fast-growing music rights organization SESAC.
In January, the US-based company was acquired by private equity funds affiliated with the $35bn-valued Blackstone Group.
And today, it’s signed one of its biggest clients yet for performance rights representation in the US market.
R.E.M has moved its entire catalogue to SESAC, leaving behind a long-standing relationship with rival BMI.
This repertoire includes hit singles such as “Losing My Religion,” “Everybody Hurts,” “Its the End of the World as We Know It,” “Shiny Happy People,” “The One I Love,” and more.
“We are proud to represent the songs of a band that, without question, changed rock music forever.”
John Josephson, SESAC
In addition, R.E.M. band members Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe have also signed with SESAC for individual performing rights representation in the US.
“We are proud to represent the songs of a band that, without question, changed rock music forever,” said John Josephson, chairman and CEO, SESAC Holdings, Inc.
“Along with representing the rich, timeless R.E.M. catalogue, we also welcome Michael, Peter, Mike and Bill to the SESAC family.”
R.E.M’s decision to join SESAC is the latest move in a revolutionary year for the band.
The R.E.M signing is the latest scalp taken by SESAC from its more established, non-profit rivals ASCAP and BMI.
Rather than do battle with these organizations on market share, SESAC aims only to sign the most premium songwriters in the States.
Recent additions to its roster include Rosanne Cash, Kings of Leon, Randy Newman, Axl Rose, Zac Brown, Green Day, Kesha, George Clinton, REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin and Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen.
“Our objective isn’t to be the biggest. It’s to achieve the best outcomes for our affiliates, provide the highest level of service in the marketplace and to operate in a highly efficient manner. To do that, part of our strategy is to focus on the copyrights we believe have the highest value.”
John Josephson, SESAC
In an interview with MBW earlier this year, Josephson explained: “Our objective isn’t to be the biggest. It’s to achieve the best outcomes for our affiliates, provide the highest level of service in the marketplace and to operate in a highly efficient manner.
“To do that, part of our strategy is to focus on the copyrights we believe have the highest value.”
Concurrent to this strategy, SESAC is aiming to expand its multi-rights representation services – which also include sync and mechanical rights – across the globe in the coming years.
R.E.M have sold more than 85 million albums worldwide since they were formed in 1980.
The multi-Grammy-winning band’s underground fame reached mainstream levels in 1987 with the hit single “The One I Love.”
The next year, the band signed a record deal with Warner Bros., where they would record the best-known hits of their career.
In 1991 and 1992, R.E.M. achieved international stardom with the release of the band’s most commercially successful albums, Out of Time and Automatic for the People, respectively.
These two albums yielded numerous chart-topping singles, including “Losing My Religion,” “Shiny Happy People” and “Everybody Hurts.”
In 2007, in its first year of eligibility, R.E.M. were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Music Business Worldwide