SESAC acquires royalty collection platform Audiam from SOCAN

SESAC, the US-headquartered Performing Rights Organization, has majority-acquired streaming royalties collection agency Audiam.

A controlling stake in Audiam has been sold to SESAC for an undisclosed fee by Canadian licensing society SOCAN.

SOCAN itself acquired Audiam in 2016 from the company’s founder, Jeff Price. Price continued to work at Audiam following that sale, but exited the company last year.

The acquisition of Audiam by SESAC brings the former company into the same stable as the Harry Fox Agency (HFA), the rights licensing platform that was acquired by SESAC from the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) in 2015.

Audiam previously announced in November 2019 that it had collected $120 million for its clients in the prior four years.

Those clients include the likes of Metallica, Jason Mraz, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Linkin Park.

Billboard reports today that SOCAN has retained a 15% stake in Audiam as part of its majority-sale to SESAC.

“This is another brick in the wall of the strategy of finding businesses to deliver superior value to rightsholders,” says John Josephson, CEO of SESAC. “Our plan is to continue broadening the scope of services we offer.”

Josephson tells Billboard that he anticipates Audiam will move away from working with publishing rights under SESAC, instead focusing on working with artists and labels to collect recorded music royalties.

Jeff Price has today issued a quote to media criticizing SESAC’s acquisition of Audiam.

The exec – who is also the founder of TuneCore – suggests that by acquiring Audiam, SESAC is “eliminating competition” for the Harry Fox Agency.

Amongst other allegations, Price suggests that Audiam’s auditing of HFA was a trigger for the latter org to be sued for alleged copyright infringement by the indie publisher of Eminem songs, Eight Mile Style (who also co-sued Spotify) last year.

“With this acquisition HFA neutralizes the sole entity that exposes its own actions,” comments Price, who also suggests that the MLC “need[s] to move HFA publishing members from HFA and hand them over to Audiam. This creates the optic of two different companies, when in effect they are both owned by the same parent entity.”

MBW has contacted SESAC for further comment.Music Business Worldwide