Top songwriters are taking to social media to decry what they believe is an attempt by Blackstone — the owner of SESAC and the Harry Fox Agency — to torpedo the Music Modernization Act by proposing changes they allege will doom the sweeping legislation.
The writers’ tweets and Instagram posts range from asking fellow songwriters to contact SESAC to voice their opposition to suggesting that writers resign from the professional rights organization and that non-SESAC writers not collaborate with their SESAC-signed colleagues.
The campaign comes after both the Nashville Songwriters International Assn. and the Songwriters of North America have criticized Blackstone, which acquired SESAC in 2017 for more than $1 billion, and alleged its suggested changes insert a “poison pill” into the legislation. Private equity firm Blackstone’s SESAC purchase included HFA, which SESAC bought in 2015….
SESAC’s senior VP of creative operations, Sam Kling, says SESAC has heard from a number of songwriters about the issue, adding “Unfortunately, I don’t feel like songwriters have heard a balanced story yet. What we’re seeing is a coordinated campaign against us that’s being led by two messaging centers in Nashville and Los Angeles. The message they are sending out is very specific and one-sided. The changes we’ve suggested won’t hamper songwriters in any way. We’re certainly not trying to damage the MMA. We wholeheartedly are in support of the MMA’s goals.”