SESAC Holdings, SUISA Create Transatlantic Licensing Venture


U.S. music rights organization SESAC Holdings and Swiss collecting society SUISA are forming Mint Digital Licensing, the first transatlantic alliance between organizations that represent musical works on behalf of music publishers, songwriters and composers.

Starting in January 2017, the two companies will work closely together to license and administer the rights to use musical compositions in online music services under a joint venture. The collaboration aims to strengthen the competitive position and value of the music entrusted to SUISA and SESAC Performing Rights by copyright owners in the international online music market.

John Josephson, Chairman and CEO of SESAC Holdings said, “Mint Digital Licensing represents the first step in SESAC Holdings’ plan to build a multi-regional licensing platform at scale. The key to our success will be an unrelenting focus on our customer’s needs, access to the most comprehensive and accurate data available in the market and a best of breed technology solution. Like SESAC, SUISA is a leader in technology as well as a dependable and experienced partner. Together, we will significantly improve online licensing for creators, copyright owners and DSPs.”

Andreas Wegelin, SUISA CEO, added, “This partnership allows SUISA to expand its position in the online arena and remain autonomous in the long term in this competitive market. Furthermore, we will benefit from significant economies of scale in terms of data and IT infrastructure. In recent years, SUISA has invested heavily in updat-ing its IT infrastructure to be better positioned for the challenges of copyright licensing for the distribution of online music.”

Mint Digital Licensing will offer digital music services single source licenses for reproduction, distribution and performance rights for both SUISA’s and SESAC Performing Rights’ repertoires as well as the repertoires of music publishers seeking to license their catalogs across Europe and beyond.

It intends to provide licenses to online service providers such as YouTube, Apple, Spotify and others as well as administer licenses negotiated directly between music publishers and digital music services.

The integration of SUISA’s and SESAC Holdings’ expertise, data assets and technology allows a variety of improvements in multi-territorial licensing:

• Increased Song Matching: Continuous matching improvements and increased matching rates ensure that rights holders will be identified and properly paid in a timely manner.

• Greater Transparency: Easy access for rights holders to review and manage their catalogs, licenses and royalty reports.

• Faster Payment and Reporting: Substantially reduced file processing times will allow for even faster usage processing and royalty payment to copyright owners.

The joint venture’s database will include approximately 11.5 million documented works by SESAC Holdings and 4.5 million by SUISA, over 21 million sound recordings pre-linked to musical compositions by SESAC Holdings and 4 million by SUISA and over 60 million sound recordings by SESAC Holdings and 36 million by SUISA, which will form the basis of Mint Digital Licensing’s offerings.

SUISA and SESAC believe the cooperation, combination of data and pooling of repertoires embodied by the joint venture is consistent with the European Commission’s expressed wish for cooperation among music rights organizations to enable users to negotiate licenses with as few companies as possible. This new, multi-territorial platform will maximize efficiency for music users, music publishers, songwriters, composers and other rights owners while vastly improving transactional transparency.


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Craig Shelburne is the General Manager at MusicRow.

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