“Get Going” contributions and “Carte Blanche” awarded for the first time

As part of its new funding policy, FONDATION SUISA made four “Get Going!” and one “Carte Blanche” grants for the first time. A “Get Going!” start-up funding of CHF 25,000 each is allocated to Beat Gysin, Bertrand Denzler, Michael Künstle and the Duo Eclecta. The “Carte Blanche” amounting to CHF 80,000 is bestowed to Cécile Marti. Text by FONDATION SUISA

FONDATION SUISA: “Get Going” contributions and “Carte Blanche” awarded for the first time

Composer Cécile Marti is awarded the «Carte Blanche» of FONDATION SUISA which is allocated every two years. (Photo: Ingo Höhn)

As part of its new funding policy, FONDATION SUISA intends to react quickly to the fast-changing music scene. In the “inbetween” area, i.e. away from common genre, age or project categories, creative and artistic processes take place which threaten to end up in no man’s land when it comes to the current application process.

As a consequence, four “Get Going!” contributions with CHF 25,000 each have been offered as awards in June, for the first time. “With this annual bidding process, we try to locate creative places and artistic visions which deserve to be funded” said Urs Schnell, FONDATION SUISA MD. “As a consequence, the competition is kept open deliberately.”

With more than 90 bids, the “Get Going!” contributions have had an enormous response among music creators. “The expert jury hasn’t made it too easy for itself to select four recipients from the many highly interesting bids”, Schnell adds. From the description of the artistic purposes that are now funded, it is easy to gauge what this type of start-up funding actually is all about. “At the end of the day, music is about discovering new worlds time and again, to render items audible and tangible and to fathom new perspectives” according to Schnell.

“Get Going!” contributions 2018

The composer Beat Gysin, for example, creates architectonic spaces in the course of his “Leichtbautenreihe” (series of light structures), where unusual audio situations enable the listener new ways to perceive music. Gysin thus investigates the dynamic possibilities resulting from the relationship between space, music and the recipient/listener.

“Space” is also a concept that Michael Künstle is interested in. The composer of film and concert music pairs orchestral tradition with modern innovation in terms of composition and recording in order to create a space composition which becomes accessible in the form of a three-dimensional listening experience.

Saxophonist and composer Bertrand Denzler, on the other hand, locates new compository possibilities via a deliberate non-allocation of his creations to spaces. With a “migrating residence”, he attempts an improvisatory and compository exchange with foreign cultures. The constant dialogue with ever-changing influences is intended to show the way which eventually flows into compository results.

Andrina Bollinger and Marena Whitcher, aka Duo Eclecta, are strolling through interdisciplinary terrain. The singers, performers, multi-instrumentalists, producers and composers collaborate continually with other art forms in order to create new audible, visible and sensible worlds of experience.

“Carte Blanche” to Cécile Marti

The “Carte Blanche amounting to CHF 80,000 which is not offered as part of a bidding process but directly awarded by an expert jury every other year, is intended to enable music creators to focus on their artistic progress without suffering from financial pressures.

Those who have followed the creative career of Cécile Marti over the last years know that the artist originating from Zurich is a worthy recipient of this “Carte Blanche”. Especially her orchestra cycle, “Seven Towers” in 7 parts and for 120 musicians, which had its première concert performed by the SOBS orchestra in Biel in 2016, and has since its inception also been performed by the Berne Symphony Orchestra, the Geneva Camerata and the Basel Sinfonietta, has caused a sensation.

Simultaneously, Marti graduated with a dissertation on musical time course. The “Carte Blanche” now enables her to transfer her initial research in this area into an artistic context. Explored courses of time shall be made visible with the aid of a ballet and by way of sculptures (Marti is also a stone sculptor).

www.fondation-suisa.ch

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As part of its new funding policy, FONDATION SUISA made four “Get Going!” and one “Carte Blanche” grants for the first time. A “Get Going!” start-up funding of CHF 25,000 each is allocated to Beat Gysin, Bertrand Denzler, Michael Künstle and the Duo Eclecta. The “Carte Blanche” amounting to CHF 80,000 is bestowed to Cécile Marti. Text by FONDATION SUISA

FONDATION SUISA: “Get Going” contributions and “Carte Blanche” awarded for the first time

Composer Cécile Marti is awarded the «Carte Blanche» of FONDATION SUISA which is allocated every two years. (Photo: Ingo Höhn)

As part of its new funding policy, FONDATION SUISA intends to react quickly to the fast-changing music scene. In the “inbetween” area, i.e. away from common genre, age or project categories, creative and artistic processes take place which threaten to end up in no man’s land when it comes to the current application...read more

When SUISA does politics

SUISA and the other Swiss rights administration societies have never been as actively involved in politics as in 2018. But is it really justified for SUISA to become engaged in politics? By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

When SUISA does politics

SUISA’s political work is geared to creating a favourable framework for Swiss musical creators in terms of rights management. (Photo: Trybex / Shutterstock.com)

The revision of copyright law certainly has something to do with SUISA’s political engagement. But the rights administration societies have also taken a stand on numerous other issues: the “No Billag” initiative, gambling legislation, revision of telecommunications law, various parliamentary motions and initiatives, etc. Moreover, the societies regularly respond to consultation procedures on a broad range of legislative proposals. This shows that music, and culture in general, have become ubiquitous in our society. Music and culture are multi-faceted and as such are affected by a great number of political issues.

But is it really justified for SUISA to become engaged in politics? Yes. When we act, we do so without partisan labels, motivated solely by our members’ interests. Rights management can rarely be dissociated from politics.

“Generally speaking, our political actions are always aimed at achieving a favourable legal framework for rights management.”

In recent months, SUISA’s tariff negotiations have triggered two parliamentary interventions in Bern: first, in an attempt to counter our supplementary common tariff 3a, which had been confirmed by the Federal Supreme Court at the end of 2017, National Councilor Philippe Nantermod filed a parliamentary initiative demanding that licence fees be abolished for hotel rooms and the like; and second, National Councilor Martin Candinas submitted a motion proposing to disregard State subsidies to local radio stations in peripheral regions in the copyright calculation basis, although the matter has already been decided to the contrary on several occasions by the authorities responsible for approving the tariffs. In both cases, politics were the means chosen to try to defeat what we have struggled to achieve through our rights management activities.

Generally speaking, our political actions are always designed to foster a favourable legal framework for rights management. That is just as true for the revision of copyright law as it was earlier this year in our stand against the “No Billag” initiative: both were driven by the same motivation. Recently, we intervened to ensure that the revision of the telecommunications legislation would not jeopardise a balanced solution for authors’ rights with regard to replay TV.

Such political action requires major investment in terms of argumentation and persuasion. But it has proved worthwhile: on 13 June 2018, the Council of States rejected the Candinas motion (as well as the alternative proposed by the Federal Council) by 22 votes to 21. Would the outcome have been the same if the musical world had not mobilised? SUISA therefore intends to continue resolutely on this path and pursue its active political engagement, in particular against the parliamentary initiative of National Councilor Nantermod.

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SUISA and the other Swiss rights administration societies have never been as actively involved in politics as in 2018. But is it really justified for SUISA to become engaged in politics? By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

When SUISA does politics

SUISA’s political work is geared to creating a favourable framework for Swiss musical creators in terms of rights management. (Photo: Trybex / Shutterstock.com)

The revision of copyright law certainly has something to do with SUISA’s political engagement. But the rights administration societies have also taken a stand on numerous other issues: the “No Billag” initiative, gambling legislation, revision of telecommunications law, various parliamentary motions and initiatives, etc. Moreover, the societies regularly respond to consultation procedures on a broad range of legislative proposals. This shows that music, and culture in general, have become ubiquitous in our society. Music...read more

Arrangement of works in the public domain

Before you start arranging musical works that are not protected by copyright, it is worth being aware of the legal pitfalls in order to avoid costly stumbles. Text by Ernst Meier and Claudia Kempf

Arrangement of works in the public domain

An arrangement is when a new work is created using an existing work. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Seeking inspiration from others, arranging existing works for different instrumentation, incorporating all or part of existing compositions into new works … these are age-old practices.

What pitfalls have to be avoided when you undertake a musical arrangement? – In a new series of articles to be published on the SUISAblog and in SUISAinfo, we shall try to shed some light on this topic. Initially, we shall examine the arrangement of works in the public domain, i.e. works that are no longer protected by copyright since their authors have been dead for more than 70 years.

What is an arrangement?

According to the Copyright Act, an arrangement is a “derived” (in German, literally, a “second-hand”) work. For an arrangement to qualify for copyright protection, it must satisfy the same requirements as a “work”, in other words: arrangements which are deemed artistic creations of the mind of the arranger are protected by copyright in the same way as an autonomous work. In the case of an arrangement, the artistic creation consists in the recognisable transformation, changing, or extension, of the musical substance of an existing work.

An arrangement is when a new work is created using an existing work in such a way that the latter remains recognisable with its individual character. The newly created element must, however, also have an individual character. Typical examples of arrangements are works orchestrated for different instruments, or lyrics translated into another language.

SUISA’s Distribution Rules (in German) have a section (1.1.3.5) that lists a whole series of works that do not qualify as arrangements for copyright protection purposes. In practice, this list has proven itself repeatedly. The following modifications do not qualify as arrangements:

  • adding dynamic or agogic accents;
  • adding musical phrasing symbols;
  • entering finger positions (fingering);
  • registrations for organs or other keyboard instruments;
  • flourishes;
  • translating an old musical notation style into a style in use today;
  • correcting clerical mistakes in the original and similar changes;
  • transferring music into other keys or pitches (transpositions);
  • editing out individual voices;
  • exchanging or doubling voices;
  • adding purely parallel voices;
  • allocating existing voices to other instruments (simple transcription).

Arranging works in the public domain and registering them with SUISA

Musical works which are not protected by copyright can be freely arranged and altered – no consent is necessary. To register an arrangement of a work in the public domain, you must send SUISA a copy of the new work together with the existing work, so that the music department can establish copyrightability. This applies to works whose authors are unknown or have been dead for at least 70 years. This also applies to works that have been handed down by folklore and are considered traditional.

When it receives an arrangement, SUISA’s music department verifies whether it satisfies the criteria for protection by copyright. This is always done by comparing the original to the arranged version. The musical quality of the submitted piece or movement is unimportant at this stage.

What types of arrangements are there, and what is the arranger’s share of the remuneration?

In its appreciation, SUISA distinguishes between the five following types of arrangement:

(Graphics: Crafft Communication)

1. Normal arrangement

The “normal” case (representing about 90% of all applications) is an arrangement in the strict sense of the word. A popular melody is arranged by adding voices or instruments for a specific ensemble or group (e.g. mixed choir, string quartet, orchestra, Big Band, etc.). The melody or main voice is taken over exactly, only the arrangement is new.

In this case, the arranger’s share is 15% (for works with lyrics) or 20% (works without lyrics).

Normal arrangement

2. Co-composition

Here the unprotected melody is not the upper voice; it is hidden in the musical structure. In this particular case (e.g. choir and organ music), the arranger’s work is of higher value since he has to compose his own upper or main voice and the existing music has to be embedded into the piece with a contrapuntal technique.

The arranger’s share in this type of work is 50% of the composer’s share.

Co-composition

3. Reconstruction

An original work is interrupted in one or several places, or left unfinished by the composer (or lost in handing down), and is then finished by the arranger.

The arranger’s share in this case is 50% of the composer’s share.

Co-composition

4. Complex jazz versions with changing soloists

The piece starts with a short presentation of the unprotected original melody. Then, a succession of soloists or “registers” (saxophone, trumpets, piano, drums) take up the melody with improvised figurations; these make up the greater portion of the work. Visually this is illustrated by the fact that the individual soloists or “registers” stand up for their solos. At the end, the original melody is often repeated all together.

In this type of work, the arranger’s share is 50% or 100% of the composer’s share, depending on the length and importance of the solos.

Complex jazz versions with changing soloists

5. Sets of variations

Variations on historic musical themes (e.g. Diabelli, Paganini or Gershwin variations) are typical examples of compositions where the original takes backstage to the variation. The starting theme is merely a pretext for a completely new work. It follows, therefore, that the creator of the variation is entitled to the full remuneration. For example: “Diabelli variations by Beethoven” etc.

The arranger’s share in this type of work is 100% of the composer’s share.

Sets of variations

What does public domain (“domaine public”) mean?
For further information on the protection period for works we refer you to the article “Erstmals seit 20 Jahren werden wieder Werke gemeinfrei” (article available in German, French and Italian, PDF) in the SUISAinfo edition.
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Before you start arranging musical works that are not protected by copyright, it is worth being aware of the legal pitfalls in order to avoid costly stumbles. Text by Ernst Meier and Claudia Kempf

Arrangement of works in the public domain

An arrangement is when a new work is created using an existing work. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Seeking inspiration from others, arranging existing works for different instrumentation, incorporating all or part of existing compositions into new works … these are age-old practices.

What pitfalls have to be avoided when you undertake a musical arrangement? – In a new series of articles to be published on the SUISAblog and in SUISAinfo, we shall try to shed some light on this topic. Initially, we shall examine the arrangement of works in the public domain, i.e. works that are no longer protected by copyright...read more

SUISA membership in numbers

More than 38,000 authors and publishers have instructed SUISA with the management of their rights. Where are they from, how old are they and are there more men or women who are composers? The figures and graphics below provide an insight into SUISA’s membership structure. Text by Claudia Kempf

SUISA membership in numbers

(Graphics: Crafft Communication)

Age distribution

The majority of members is between 31 and 60 years old. This is due to the fact that authors have an average age of 33 years when they join SUISA and that there has been a steep increase in new members over the last 20 years.

Age distribution

Gender

The overwhelming majority of active members are men. There is, however, a slight notable change: 45% of active female authors have joined SUISA in the last ten years.

Gender

Language composition

The language composition within SUISA roughly correspond with the linguistic distribution within Switzerland, except for the fact that French-speaking authors are represented in slightly higher numbers.

Language composition

Residence

Unfortunately, notifications on the change of address to SUISA sometimes gets forgotten. As a consequence, SUISA does not know the address of around 15% of its members. In the case where SUISA does not hold a valid correspondence address during a period of five years, the respective Rights Administration Agreement and membership lapse at the end of that year. The rights then fall back to the author and are no longer managed by SUISA.

Residence

Associate members, full members

Music creators and publishers are, first of all, accepted asassociate members. Once they have been registered for at least one year with SUISA and have reached the minimum threshold of CHF 2,000 in revenue from authors’ rights, they become full members with voting and election rights. Subsidiary publishing entities can never attain full membership status; this explains the high share of publishers that do not have voting rights.

Associate members, full members

Membership years

The graphics provide an impressive insight into the strong growth of new member numbers over the last few years, especially among authors. Compared to that, new memberships among publishers have remained constant for quite a few years now.

Membership years

All information correct as of April 2018.

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All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

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More than 38,000 authors and publishers have instructed SUISA with the management of their rights. Where are they from, how old are they and are there more men or women who are composers? The figures and graphics below provide an insight into SUISA’s membership structure. Text by Claudia Kempf

SUISA membership in numbers

(Graphics: Crafft Communication)

Age distribution

The majority of members is between 31 and 60 years old. This is due to the fact that authors have an average age of 33 years when they join SUISA and that there has been a steep increase in new members over the last 20 years.

Age distribution

Gender

The overwhelming majority of active members are men. There is, however, a slight notable change: 45% of active female authors have joined SUISA in the last ten years.

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Language composition

The language composition within SUISA roughly...read more

Personnel changes in SUISA’s Music Department

At the end of September 2018, Ernst Meier, Head of the Music Department, retired after 33 years’ work for authors and publishers. His successor is Andres Pfister. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Personnel changes in SUISA’s Music Department

Ernst Meier, in his office in the SUISA branch at the Bellariastrasse in Zurich in September 2018. The long-term head of the Music Department is now enjoying his retirement. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

Ernst Meier applied back in 1985 as a musicologist for an assistant’s position in the then Swiss music archives of SUISA, today’s “Music Department”. His passion for music was ignited early on: At the young age of 14, he began to play the organ. By studying musicology at the University of Zurich, he turned his passion consequently into his profession.

As head of the Music Department, Ernst Meier answered many specialist questions which required specific musicological knowledge. He thus examined cases where the suspicion of plagiarism arose, or checked registrations of arrangements of works that were no longer protected to establish whether the work qualified as a derived copyrighted work.

Mid 2011, the “Programmdienst” (Programme Services) team was integrated into the Music Department. Ernst Meier and his six staff members made sure that protected works were correctly identified on performance programme lists. In their work, they were supported by Ernst Meier especially regarding concert programmes of contemporary and classical music. These details form the basis for exact invoicing to the event organisers and the correct distribution of copyright remuneration based on programmes.

SUISA has had a seat on the Board of the RISM Schweiz («Répertoire International des Sources Musicales») since RISM was founded as an association. Ernst Meier represented SUISA there in his role as a musicologist and therefore was able to maintain valuable contacts regarding his field of study. He also got involved in the Schweizerische Vereinigung der Musiksammlungen (IAML, Swiss Association of Music Collections).

After 33 years in the service of authors and publishers, Ernst Meier retired at the end of September 2018. With his love for music and his enormous knowledge and instinct, especially regarding all musical matters, he has left a mark on the Music Department at SUISA over a long period. Management thanks Ernst Meier for his valuable work for SUISA and wishes him all the best for his future.

SUISA Music Department from autumn 2018
Andres Pfister, 31 years old, has been working as Ernst Meier’s successor and musicologist for SUISA since 01 September 2018. He lives in Berne and has been studying musicology and social anthropology at the University of Berne. He successfully concluded his studies with a Masters Diploma in the summer of 2018. Andres Pfister already pursued many different work-related activities during his time as a student. He was active as a tutorial assistant at the Institute for Musicology at the University of Berne or worked at the Institute for Culture in the educational directorate of the Canton of Berne. He also moderated the classical music programme “Ostinato” as a radio DJ on RaBe (Radio Berne) and was responsible for the editorial management of the broadcast. He continues to sporadically work for the radio.
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All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

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At the end of September 2018, Ernst Meier, Head of the Music Department, retired after 33 years’ work for authors and publishers. His successor is Andres Pfister. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Personnel changes in SUISA’s Music Department

Ernst Meier, in his office in the SUISA branch at the Bellariastrasse in Zurich in September 2018. The long-term head of the Music Department is now enjoying his retirement. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

Ernst Meier applied back in 1985 as a musicologist for an assistant’s position in the then Swiss music archives of SUISA, today’s “Music Department”. His passion for music was ignited early on: At the young age of 14, he began to play the organ. By studying musicology at the University of Zurich, he turned his passion consequently into his profession.

As head of the Music Department, Ernst Meier answered many...read more

Introduction of a process-oriented organisation chart at SUISA

SUISA’s organisational structure changes from 01 January 2019 onwards. The Board had decided to implement the project “Horizon 2019” upon the request by General Management. Text by Andreas Wegelin

Introduction of a process-oriented organisation chart at SUISA

SUISA’s organisation chart, valid from 2019 (Status: November 2018). (Graphics: Crafft Communication)

The objective of the reviewed organisation chart is to further optimise SUISA’s internal process efficiencies. Procedural responsibilities will be aligned with the core process of our work.

SUISA’s core activities are licensing and distribution processes. Licensing fees are collected from users such as concert and event organisers, radio stations, discotheques, producers of sound recordings, online providers of music etc. The collected monies are subsequently distributed to rights owners i.e. the authors and publishers, nationally and internationally.

Core process combined in one department

This core process is increasingly supported by IT and – unlike before – practically no longer separable into pure licensing and distribution tasks. Following these developments it is sensible to unify the core process in one department, with one person in charge of it all.

The core process does, however, not work without principles and prerequisites which first have to be worked out and made available. Among these are legal regulations such as tariffs, distribution rules, user agreements and rights administration agreements. Furthermore, a comprehensive work documentation, i.e. the information on which rights owner (composer, lyricist, arranger, publisher, sub-publisher) has a share in a specific work, is also part of the basic principles which need to be made available for licensing and distribution tasks.

On top of that, our relationships with the sister societies, i.e. the organisationswhich offer copyright management services in other countries, are also part of the basic principles. We also need agreements in this area to ensure the conditions under which the relevant rights are managed in the respective territories. This is – especially with a view to the global online dissemination of SUISA repertoire – of increasing importance.

SUISA organisation chart from 2019 onwards

SUISA’s organisational structure will continue to be split into three departments. The responsibility of the core process shall rest with the new department “Operations”. The department “Regulations” for legal prerequisites and international work documentation as well as the department “Services” for all cross-sectional services, especially IT, Finance, HR and Communications.

As a consequence, there will be changes regarding the responsibility for departments and divisions with regards to the 3-person executive management team:

Irène Philipp Ziebold, previously Director of the Members and Distribution Department, will become Chief Operating Officer (COO). She heads all departments where licensing or distribution is carried out in practice, which means: where reports on music use are processed, invoices are issued and licensing fees are distributed.

Vincent Salvadé (Deputy CEO) shall become head of the Department “Regulations”. He is in charge of all regulatory affairs and SUISA’s Compliance with the respective processes. He leads the Legal Department, the Department for International Documentation as well as the subsidiary, SUISA Digital Licensing, for its online business. He is also responsible for tariffs and distribution rules.

Finally, all service departments and divisions, especially IT, Finance, HR, Communications and the responsibility for the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services with our US-partner SESAC remain under the leadership of our Chief Executive Officer (CEO, Andreas Wegelin).

The new organisation chart will thus entail shifts in the areas of responsibility at Executive level and changes in terms of departmental subordinations. What this does not mean, however, is that there will be a reduction in workplaces. On the contrary: staff numbers might even increase slightly because SUISA will take over the collection of copyright licence fees for background music and the reception of broadcasts in shops, hairdressers, hotels, restaurants and companies of any kind from Billag from 01 January 2019 onwards.

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Invoicing licence fees for background music and TV reception in businesses as of 2019Invoicing licence fees for background music and TV reception in businesses as of 2019 Businesses that play background music on their premises or show broadcasts on screens are required to pay licence fees in accordance with Common Tariff 3a. As of 2019, SUISA will once again manage all customers under this Tariff directly. Read more
A bird’s eye view of SUISA’s 2018 General AssemblyA bird’s eye view of SUISA’s 2018 General Assembly On 22 June 2018, 208 voting members streamed into the Bierhübeli in Bern. They were there to participate in shaping the destiny of their cooperative society, and to take advantage of the opportunity to network and exchange information. Members, Board members, Executive Committee members, guests from cultural and political spheres, and SUISA staff – all were attending the SUISA’s 2018 Ordinary General Assembly. Read more
Can the blockchain and the bass strike a harmonious chord?Can the blockchain and the bass strike a harmonious chord? Technological developments that affect the music industry are a constant focus of SUISA’s management committees. Blockchain technology was one of the many important topics on the agenda at the board meetings in October 2018. Read more
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SUISA’s organisational structure changes from 01 January 2019 onwards. The Board had decided to implement the project “Horizon 2019” upon the request by General Management. Text by Andreas Wegelin

Introduction of a process-oriented organisation chart at SUISA

SUISA’s organisation chart, valid from 2019 (Status: November 2018). (Graphics: Crafft Communication)

The objective of the reviewed organisation chart is to further optimise SUISA’s internal process efficiencies. Procedural responsibilities will be aligned with the core process of our work.

SUISA’s core activities are licensing and distribution processes. Licensing fees are collected from users such as concert and event organisers, radio stations, discotheques, producers of sound recordings, online providers of music etc. The collected monies are subsequently distributed to rights owners i.e. the authors and publishers, nationally and internationally.

Core process combined in one department

This core process is increasingly supported by IT and – unlike before –...read more

Invoicing licence fees for background music and TV reception in businesses as of 2019

Businesses that play background music on their premises or show broadcasts on screens are required to pay licence fees in accordance with Common Tariff 3a. As of 2019, SUISA will once again manage all customers under this Tariff directly. Text by Martin Korrodi

Invoicing licence fees for background music and TV reception in businesses as of 2019

Under copyright law, playing background music in a shopping centre like in the above example qualifies as a use outside the private sphere. That is why businesses need a licence, which they can obtain from SUISA in accordance with Common Tariff 3a. (Photo: Unsplash, Victor Xok)

Pursuant to the Federal Copyright Act (Article 10(2)(f)), the reception of broadcasts in businesses is a use outside the private sphere and is therefore subject to a licence. As a result, in addition to paying Billag reception fees – and conversely to private households – businesses which play radio or TV sets on their premises need to licence the authors’ rights under Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a). These licences are granted by SUISA.

Hitherto, Billag AG would invoice the licence fees under CT 3a for SUISA’s account. Since Billag was also responsible for invoicing radio and TV reception fees, the cooperation generated advantageous synergies. Both invoices could be issued to customers from a single source, saving time and effort on all sides.

Meanwhile, owing to a number of developments, this cooperation cannot be continued after the end of this year: thus in 2015, the Federal Act on Radio and Television was revised and the device-based reception fee was replaced by a general levy. This levy is collected from all households – regardless whether or not they actually possess a reception device.

Uses outside the private sphere are subject to licence fees

Under the new system, only businesses with turnover in excess of CHF 500,000 have to pay the licence fee. The State estimates that about 75% of Swiss businesses will not be required to pay the licence fee even if they receive broadcasts on their premises.

The minimum turnover limit does not, however, apply to authors’ rights. All uses of works outside the private sphere are relevant in terms of copyright law. In public areas like shops and restaurants, for example, background music – whether piped in from the radio, internet or a sound recording – is subject to a fee in accordance with CT 3a. And the showing of broadcasts or videoclips, from Youtube for example, also requires a licence from SUISA. Accordingly, many small businesses that do not pay radio and TV fees will still have to pay fees under CT 3a.

In addition to the change in the radio and TV remuneration system, in March 2017 the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) decided not to renew Billag’s collection agency mandate. Henceforth, household radio and TV fees will be collected by Serafe AG. For businesses, the fees will be collected by the Federal tax authorities in the framework of the VAT collection procedure. As a result, Billag has lost its main business activity and will wind up operations at the end of 2018. This is another reason why SUISA is obliged to reorganise its CT 3a-invoicing system as of the coming year.

SUISA to manage CT 3a for businesses as of 2019

After considering a number of options, it was decided in autumn 2016 that SUISA would once again manage CT 3a for businesses starting in January 2019. SUISA already issues invoices to about 2000 companies which do not have radio and TV reception but play background music from other sources (CDs, DVDs, etc.).

As of 2019, Billag’s 106,000 business customers will be taken over by SUISA; this six-fold increase in SUISA’s active customer count – realised in a single stroke – will trigger huge growth in processing volumes. Therefore task-oriented processes and largely automated IT infrastructure solutions will be essential to ensure the smooth and proper functioning of customer relations in the CT 3a area.

The necessary steps in this regard were initiated in the current year: a project team working in close cooperation with Billag is preparing the take-over of the customer portfolio at the technical and organisational levels. A customer centre is being established with the equivalent of 12 full-time positions (17 persons overall) to provide support and guidance, in writing or by phone, to CT 3a customers.

Multilingual CT 3a customer centre

To ensure as little change as possible for customers, the customer centre will take over Billag’s existing hotline number (0844 234 234). Moreover, an online portal will be set up to secure access to all relevant services. The customer centre will cater to all users, nationwide, in four languages (English, German, French, Italian).

The new team will also be responsible for market coverage. Since there are very few spontaneous declarations from users of background music, potential customers will be contacted and questioned about their practices as regards background entertainment. SUISA plans to conduct four direct mailing campaigns per year, each designed to reach about 10,000 businesses across all economic sectors.

The customer centre team started work on 1 November 2018. By the end of the year, the team will have received appropriate training, and systems and processes will be in place and fully tested. Officially, the customer centre is to open in the new year; it will be at the disposal of 3a customers as of 7 January 2019.

Complaints procedure
The tariff for background music and TV reception, CT 3a, was negotiated with the representative user associations (Gastrosuisse, Hotelleriesuisse, the umbrella association for rights’ users DUN, the Swiss Retail Federation, inter alia) in 2015 and 2016. It proved impossible to reach a consensus, and the proposed tariff was submitted to the Federal Arbitration Commission for Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights (ESchK). The draft tariff submitted by the Swiss collecting societies proposed an average increase of 14% in the fees for Billag customers. In November 2016, the Federal Arbitration Commission decided in favour of the collecting societies and approved the proposed tariff. However, several user associations appealed the decision to the Federal Administrative Court; proceedings are still pending. The appeal does not have suspensive effect and SUISA can start collecting fees based on the new CT3a in 2019. However, the distribution of the proceeds to the entitled parties must be stayed until a definitive ruling on the tariff is handed down.
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Businesses that play background music on their premises or show broadcasts on screens are required to pay licence fees in accordance with Common Tariff 3a. As of 2019, SUISA will once again manage all customers under this Tariff directly. Text by Martin Korrodi

Invoicing licence fees for background music and TV reception in businesses as of 2019

Under copyright law, playing background music in a shopping centre like in the above example qualifies as a use outside the private sphere. That is why businesses need a licence, which they can obtain from SUISA in accordance with Common Tariff 3a. (Photo: Unsplash, Victor Xok)

Pursuant to the Federal Copyright Act (Article 10(2)(f)), the reception of broadcasts in businesses is a use outside the private sphere and is therefore subject to a licence. As a result, in addition to paying Billag reception fees – and conversely to private households...read more

Label Suisse: a showcase for Swiss music in all its diversity

The eighth edition of the Label Suisse Festival was held in Lausanne from 14 to 16 September. The biennial festival, dedicated to Swiss musicians and creators, offers the public a broad panorama of Switzerland’s current music landscape. Text and Interviews by Erika Weibel

Label Suisse: a showcase for Swiss music in all its diversity

The main stage of the Label Suisse Festival at the “Place Centrale” in Lausanne during the performance of Geneva hip-hop group Superwak Clique on Saturday 15 October 2018. (Photo: Anne Bichsel)

90,000 visitors attended the 8th edition of the Label Suisse Festival, enjoying over 60 concerts of multifarious music styles at 10 locations in the centre of Lausanne. The full range of Swiss music was showcased: from electronic music to pop-rock, from contemporary and classical music to jazz, and last but not least, new folk music. All in one festival!

Label Suisse’s programming team attaches great importance to booking both more experienced Swiss artists and promising newcomers. Admission to all concerts is free since the full cost of the festival is financed by the sponsors. SUISA has supported Label Suisse financially since 2006, and was again one of the festival’s main partners in 2018.

The members of the programming team are each in charge of a specific musical genre. After the festival, we asked them how they went about selecting their artists, what they think is particularly exciting about the festival, and about current trends in the various genres. We also asked Julien Gross, President of Label Suisse, what he considered the highlights of the 2018 edition.

Label Suisse: Julien Gross

Julien Gross (Photo: Anne Bichsel)

Julien Gross, President of the Label Suisse association

As President of the Label Suisse association, you have been working hard for several years to make the festival a success. In your opinion, what makes Label Suisse particularly attractive?
Julien Gross: Label Suisse is unique for the broad artistic spectrum of musical styles in its programming. As a result, the festival brings together all audiences across all generations for three days.
Artists from all four language regions perform for the delight of a curious, attentive, and faithful public. Radio plays an important role in broadcasting music from the festival nationwide for the three days.

The latest festival was the 8th edition of Label Suisse. The festival has been held every second year since its first edition in 2004. What changes has the festival undergone in these 14 years?
Actually, it’s mainly Swiss music that has evolved. Creative, innovative and original, Label Suisse tries to present a snapshot of all the Switzerland’s musical scenes.
We try to awaken the urge for discovery and the desire to embark upon a musical adventure. To reinforce the presence of certain styles, or propose original creations.

Groups from all over Switzerland representing a great variety of musical genres come to Lausanne to take part in the festival. Subjectively speaking, which shows did you find most exciting?
I truly love wandering around the festival grounds. I enjoy the challenge of discovering musical styles that are not usually part of my everyday life. That’s what I find most exciting.

Label Suisse: Laurence Vinclair

Laurence Vinclair (Photo: Mehdi Benkler)

Laurence Vinclair, modern music programming

What is the special interest in being responsible for the programming of a single genre for a music festival which combines so many different styles of music?
Laurence Vinclair: The interest lies in being able to showcase deserving artists for three days, artists whose development I follow all year round, sometimes over many years. And to enable a diverse public to discover styles that they might otherwise never listen to.

What criteria did you apply in selecting the artists and bands?
The criteria are quality, topicality, artistic motivation and potential.

What are the current trends in the musical genre you are responsible for programming? What effects do these trends have on the actors of the Swiss music world?
The clearest trend is hip-hop, or urban music; this style has taken the lead over all the others as you can tell by looking at the programming in clubs and festivals the last two years.

Label Suisse: Stefano Saccon

Stefano Saccon (Photo: Claude Berthelier)

Stefano Saccon, jazz programming

What is the special interest in being responsible for the programming of a single genre for a music festival which combines so many different styles of music?
Stefano Saccon: The intelligence and the strength of the festival is to employ competent people in each area in order to identify the most representative musicians. Being part of a committee of experts is a stimulating way to encourage relevant and complementary programming.

What criteria did you apply in selecting the artists and bands?
The diversity of supply in the jazz area forces you take a broad view and apply criteria which can be adapted in line with the artistic approach. In any event, the project must be original and add value to the rest of the programming; it must be in tune with the times while being clearly anchored in tradition; it must be mature and have potential for development.

What are the current trends in the musical genre you are resonsible for programming? What effects do these trends have on the actors of the Swiss music world?
There are three trends in my opinion:
a) the association of the acoustic and the electronic, the curiosity about the DJ world, and the sensitisation to new sound textures;
b) the minimalism which places the group rather than the solist at the centre of attention, in keeping with a more conventional approach;
c) the desire to develop writing on more complex rhythmic matrices.
Today, all jazz musicians possess great instrumental mastery, and a huge curiosity stimulating boundless creativity. Considering that they are faced with growing supply and increasing competition, I think musicians show tremendous humility and exemplary mutual respect.

Label Suisse: Johannes Rühl

Johannes Rühl (Photo: Roland Zemp)

Johannes Rühl, new folk music programming

What is the special interest in being responsible for the programming of a single genre for a music festival which combines so many different styles of music?
Johannes Rühl: Very few festivals offer the stylistic breadth that Label Suisse does. That in itself is a major feat. In terms of programming, it means that each musical genre has to co-exist with the others. Moreover, the concerts can be expected to attract a highly differentiated public. This kind of festival is truly one of a kind for the curious music lover; we draw the best public we could dream of.

What criteria did you apply in selecting the artists and ensembles?
New folk is a predominantly Swiss German musical phenomenon. To lure audiences from other language regions of the country you have to make this music attractive – especially since it takes a little getting used to. That’s why we try to book groups that have a certain stylistic openness. That’s what we focus on more particularly, in addition to quality of course.

What are the current trends in the musical genre you are responsible for programming? What effects do these trends have on the actors of the Swiss music world?
New Swiss folk music is essentially the popular heritage of the last century. In those days, music was protest; today, musicians have more affinity with tradition. They bring the material to life without blinkers, creating something completely new and previously unheard. The Hochschule Luzern Musik, the School of Music in Lucerne, has been vital to this genre in the last few years, and is a breeding ground for excellent talent. This trend is far from over, and I believe that it still holds much good in store.

Label Suisse: Claire Brawand

Claire Brawand (Photo: Nathalie Langlois)

Claire Brawand, classical and contemporary music programming

What is the special interest in being responsible for the programming of a single genre for a music festival which combines so many different styles of music?
Claire Brawand: the act of programming is always set in a particular context which has to be taken into account. In the case of Label Suisse (diversity of styles with a predominance of modern music, national dimension, different locations, free admission, broad public with lots of young people), the context is quite different to the normal context for classical music (from baroque to contemporary) and its aficionados. I see it as a highly fertile field for experimentation, which makes my programming mission even more stimulating; one of the main aims is to encourage festival-goers to discover the universe of classical music through one person, one energy or a special concert format. Label Suisse’s great freedom of movement, underscored by the mixture of styles in a single place, makes this possible.

What criteria did you apply in selecting the artists and ensembles?
In the classical programming, I favoured artists – performers and composers – who are powerful and unique, and whose approach is strongly resonant with the identity of the Festival, namely: contemporary, hence topical, and exploratory. This disposition on the part of the classical artist is essential for the special context of Label Suisse. As a result, we focused on the repertoires of the 20th and 21st centuries (including creations) and, with regard to the 21st century, on Swiss composers of all generations.

What are the current trends in the musical genre you are responsible for programming? What effects do these trends have on the actors of the Swiss music world?
Increasing trans-disciplinarity between the arts (visual, sound, composition) and esthetics. A strong capacity for renewal in the approach of the young generations of cutting-edge musicians in terms of their concert programming. Today, they consider the contribution of classical music freely, unconstrained by the barriers inherited from prior generations.

www.labelsuisse.ch

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The eighth edition of the Label Suisse Festival was held in Lausanne from 14 to 16 September. The biennial festival, dedicated to Swiss musicians and creators, offers the public a broad panorama of Switzerland’s current music landscape. Text and Interviews by Erika Weibel

Label Suisse: a showcase for Swiss music in all its diversity

The main stage of the Label Suisse Festival at the “Place Centrale” in Lausanne during the performance of Geneva hip-hop group Superwak Clique on Saturday 15 October 2018. (Photo: Anne Bichsel)

90,000 visitors attended the 8th edition of the Label Suisse Festival, enjoying over 60 concerts of multifarious music styles at 10 locations in the centre of Lausanne. The full range of Swiss music was showcased: from electronic music to pop-rock, from contemporary and classical music to jazz, and last but not least, new folk music. All in one festival!

Label...read more

Minor amendments only to noise legislation

The ordinance on the federal act governing protection against non-ionising radiation and sound hazards (V-NISSG) was sent to the consultation stage in February 2018. The draft regulation provided more stringent requirements for events involving electrically amplified sound, as well as new stipulations for events without amplification. It was announced in early October that the Federal Office of Public Health would not adopt the most stringent restrictions. Text by Sarah Coopman

V-NISSG: Minor amendments only to noise legislation

Much ado about (almost) nothing: following fierce resistance from industry representatives affected by the proposed changes, the Federal Office of Public Health will refrain from major changes to noise protection legislation (including for major concerts such as the one pictured). (Photo: Marcel Grubenmann)

If you want to learn more about the limits and restrictions that currently apply to sound at events, check the Sound Levels and Laser Ordinance (SLO). It first and foremost states that events with a noise level of less than 93 dB(A) are not subject to any legal stipulations. These threshold values are determined using the average noise level during a one-hour period. According to the current SLO, the requirements for event organisers take effect when noise levels reach at least 93 dB(A) per hour for events that use electric amplification.

Current SLO regulations

The sound protection measures required differ according to the average sound level and can be divided into three categories. The first category of events comprises those with an average hourly noise level of between 93 and 96 dB(A). The organiser is required to report an event to the enforcement agency 14 days in advance. The audience must then be informed of possible damage to their hearing through signs at the event itself. Free ear protection must be provided. Finally, the SLO requires the noise level to be monitored with a decibel meter during the event. No special requirements exist for these meters.

The average hourly noise level at an event that uses electric amplification may not exceed 100 dB(A). For events with a noise level of between 96 and 100 dB(A), the same requirements apply as for events in the first category, provided the total duration of the noise does not exceed three hours. Again, event organisers are subject to the following requirements: a duty to notify the authorities of the event, a duty to inform the audience and provide earplugs, and a duty to monitor the noise level throughout the entire event.

No requirements for unamplified noise so far

However, if the duration of noise exceeds three hours stricter rules apply. In this case, the event organiser must record the noise level and create a quiet zone to compensate. The noise level may not exceed 85 dB(A) in this zone.

The maximum noise level, i.e. the loudest level of noise exposure measured at any given point, may not exceed 125 dB(A) at any time. Unamplified sound is not currently subject to any conditions. This means that symphony orchestras, opera singers or Guggenmusik bands are not subject to any of the above limits and the associated requirements. These are the regulations for events with electrically amplified sound according to the currently applicable sound regulations.

Opposition to V-NISSG draft ordinance

The draft of the new ordinance concerning the federal act governing protection against non-ionising radiation and sound hazards, V-NISSG, largely adopted and selectively amended these regulations. The draft ordinance also provided stipulations for events without amplification. And it would have expanded the obligation to record the noise level to all events with an average noise level in excess of 93 dB(A). The federal government also wanted to institute more stringent requirements for the recording devices.

During the consultation, industry representatives vehemently opposed the proposed changes. Following discussions with industry representatives in late September, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has now decided to abandon these changes and will ask the Federal Council to remove the more extensive recording requirements. This means that the status quo remains in terms of the recording requirements, with recording only required at events with an average noise level in excess of 96 dB(A) for more than three hours.

FOPH will refrain largely from tightening

The FOPH will request only that events with unamplified sound of above 93 dB(A) be subject to a duty to inform the audience and provide free ear protection. The previous obligation to notify the authorities will be removed. Minimum requirements will apply to orchestral performances, classical music concerts and similar events, provided the noise level of 93 dB(A) is reached.

The stricter requirements for decibel meters are unlikely to be implemented. Rather, the requirements for the meters and the measuring method should be defined per se based on an industry recommendation.

No major changes to noise control legislation are therefore expected in light of these developments. In particular, the current limits will remain in place. According to the FOPH, these conditions have been accepted by industry representatives and were not questioned during the course of the consultation. However, the extent to which changes may still be incorporated into the new ordinance is not fully clear at the moment. The Federal Council will decide definitively on the implementation and entry into force of the draft ordinance in early 2019.

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All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

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The ordinance on the federal act governing protection against non-ionising radiation and sound hazards (V-NISSG) was sent to the consultation stage in February 2018. The draft regulation provided more stringent requirements for events involving electrically amplified sound, as well as new stipulations for events without amplification. It was announced in early October that the Federal Office of Public Health would not adopt the most stringent restrictions. Text by Sarah Coopman

V-NISSG: Minor amendments only to noise legislation

Much ado about (almost) nothing: following fierce resistance from industry representatives affected by the proposed changes, the Federal Office of Public Health will refrain from major changes to noise protection legislation (including for major concerts such as the one pictured). (Photo: Marcel Grubenmann)

If you want to learn more about the limits and restrictions that currently apply to sound at events, check the...read more

Can the blockchain and the bass strike a harmonious chord?

Technological developments that affect the music industry are a constant focus of SUISA’s management committees. Blockchain technology was one of the many important topics on the agenda at the board meetings in October 2018. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Can the blockchain and the bass strike a harmonious chord?

To what extent is blockchain technology in harmony with the interests of music copyright holders and publishers? (Photo: Daphne.t / Shutterstock.com)

At the autumn meetings of the SUISA Board of Directors in Lausanne, musician and researcher Steffen Holly from the German Fraunhofer Institute provided a glimpse into the world of blockchain technology. He showed how blockchain was born from of a combination of existing IT possibilities, using practical examples to illustrate the theory behind the system. He also showed how the development of the music industry and technology are closely related: new instruments give rise to new music, new demand and new technical possibilities. Who would have thought it would be possible to rent music? But streaming services are now licensed by SUISA.

The scientist also recommended assessing whether blockchain is a viable solution for every business model. In other words, critically examining whether the blockchain and the bass really can strike a harmonious chord. He provided some prominent real-world examples (Airbnb, Uber, car rental) and also made reference to musicnow.eu. Launched on the basis of the EU Collective Rights Management Directive, this project aims to use blockchain technology to facilitate collaboration between authors, artists, collecting societies and content users.

Technological developments are a permanent area of focus for SUISA’s Board of Directors and management team. In the recently adopted Strategy 2020, SUISA states its intention to step up its research and development under the heading “New technologies give rise to new forms of use”. Following Steffen Holly’s presentation, the collecting society is looking to engage in dialogue with a member of the musicnow.eu project.

Status of tariff negotiations and personnel changes

In addition to addressing the forward-looking topic of blockchain, Vincent Salvadé reported on the current status of the tariff negotiations between the collecting societies and the user organisations. In recent months, the Federal Arbitration Commission has approved the VN (audio-visual media for screening, broadcasting, online use) and CT 3c (public viewing) tariffs. Approval of CT 4i (integrated digital storage media) is pending, while GT 12 (set-top boxes, virtual video recorders) was appealed by the broadcasting companies.

Other important items on the agenda related to the HR department and the 2019 board elections. Monica Hernandez took over as Head of Human Resources/Training & Development in mid-June. Thanks to her dedication, extensive expertise and wealth of experience, she has quickly settled into her new role. Her colleagues value her professionalism, service mindset and customer-oriented approach, as well as her open, positive attitude.

General board elections will be held at the 2019 Annual General Meeting. With the exception of Bertrand Liechti and Marco Zanotta, who are both stepping down after serving for the maximum period, all directors are eligible for a further term of office. The Board of Directors has appointed a Nomination Committee to look for suitable successors. Its members reported on the status of this search for candidates.

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All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

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Technological developments that affect the music industry are a constant focus of SUISA’s management committees. Blockchain technology was one of the many important topics on the agenda at the board meetings in October 2018. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Can the blockchain and the bass strike a harmonious chord?

To what extent is blockchain technology in harmony with the interests of music copyright holders and publishers? (Photo: Daphne.t / Shutterstock.com)

At the autumn meetings of the SUISA Board of Directors in Lausanne, musician and researcher Steffen Holly from the German Fraunhofer Institute provided a glimpse into the world of blockchain technology. He showed how blockchain was born from of a combination of existing IT possibilities, using practical examples to illustrate the theory behind the system. He also showed how the development of the music industry and technology are closely related: new...read more