SESAC Contracts TuneSat to Track TV Music

NEW YORK and NASHVILLE: Music-rights manager SESAC has tapped the technology of a start-up to track music played on broadcast and cable TV networks. The organization today announced a deal with TuneSat, a small New York company launched in 2007 that allows subscribers to track occurrences of song titles, artists and clip lengths.

“After a decade of industry attempts to streamline the process, tracking performances on TV is still a largely manual endeavor,” said Hunter Williams, SESAC’s senior vice president of strategic development. “Cue sheets are notorious for being filed incorrectly, late, and in some cases, not at all, which adversely affects payments to songwriters and composers.”

Tunesat uses a form of “audio fingerprinting” to identify music in as few as three seconds, alone or behind other noise, sound effects or voiceovers. SESAC is the first of the bigger performance rights organizations in the United States to adopt TuneSat’s technology. The company also offers service to individual subscribers who pay 50 cents per piece of music and 20 percent of recovered fees for a 45-day trial. Recording artist Art Munson provides details at his blog.

TuneSat, described on Linkedin as having 20 employees, received $975,000 in venture capital from undisclosed sources in February. The related Securities and Exchange filling lists board members as Perkins Miller of NBC Sports and Bruce Bunner and John Hecker of Music Publishing Corp. of America.

Broadcasters have an uneasy relationship with PROs such as SESAC, ASCAP and BMI, all of which collect royalties for artist members. A consortium of broadcasters sued SESAC last November alleging price fixing. Meredith, E.W. Scripps and Hoak Media brought the class-action complaint in U.S. District Court of New York. (See “Broadcast Groups Sue Music Rights Licenser SESAC.”)
-- Deborah D. McAdams