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Rumblefish, a Portland company that licenses music for online video, has been sold to SESAC

Rumblefish, Portland online music licensing firm, sold to SESAC

Rumblefish, a Portland company that licenses music for online video, has been sold to SESAC, an international music licensing company with headquarters in Nashville.

SESAC promised to invest in growing Rumblefish's business and retained the Portland company's chief executive, Paul Anthony, who co-founded the company in his University of Oregon dorm room back in 1996.

The companies announced the deal Wednesday but it was apparently complete last spring, according to a prior report from the music trade publication Billboard. SESAC also named a new chief executive Wednesday: board member John Josephson.

SESAC and Rumblefish did not disclose terms of the deal. Billboard pegged the purchase price at $15 million, but Anthony said that was inaccurate.

Rumblefish provides soundtracks for videos posted on YouTube and other streaming sites. It operates a site called Friendly Music, a partnership with YouTube which helps match videographers with appropriate songs based on mood, occasion or style.

In April, the company said people were viewing 1.4 billion online videos a month with music licensed from Rumblefish. Anthony said he had just signed a licensing deal with a major label – though it wouldn't say which one – and planned to bring more on board soon.

SESAC is the smallest of three major music rights organizations in the U.S. – the other two are ASCAP and BMI – and the only one of the three that operates on a for-profit basis.

The deal will help Rumblefish expand its music catalog, Anthony said in a written statement, and find bigger clients for its licensing services.

SESAC said the deal helps the company diversify its business.

"SESAC's objective is to offer an expanded, more efficient licensing and administration model and our acquisition and investment in Rumblefish is a bold step in that direction" Josephson said in a written statement.

Rumblefish had 20 employees in April and was planning to add another 10 this year. While the companies said Anthony will remain following the deal, neither SESAC nor Rumblefish immediately commented on the future of the rest of the Portland operation.