SUISA Board of Directors holds a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months

On the day before the General Meeting, the SUISA Board and its committees usually hold a physical meeting at the venue of the General Meeting. This year, it was different for the second time in a row. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

SUISA Board of Directors holds a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months

SUISA partition wall set up at a venue: The meeting of a nearly full Board of Directors took place for its regular June sessions in Muri near Berne. (Photo: Natalie Schlumpf & Wolfgang Rudigier)

While the General Meeting could only take place by postal vote due to the precautionary measures taken in the context with the corona pandemic for the second time, the Board of Directors decided to hold a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months in Muri near Berne on 24 and 25 June 2021, adhering to the prescribed protective measures.

Except for one Board member who did not want to expose itself to a heightened risk of getting infected due to imminent concert performances and therefore took part via video, all of the members of the Board of Directors joined the Executive Committee in the meeting and cherished the opportunity to be able to have an exchange outside the meetings in the evening.

Encouraging perspectives in the online licensing business

The Board of Directors received a thorough report on the annual results of the subsidiary Mint Digital Services, jointly held with SESAC, whose financial year had ended on 31 March. The result is encouraging even if the organisation needs to receive further support. Perspectives for the new financial year are looking up and are going to improve the earnings situation further. It is important to know that the bundling of the copyright of our members with the rights of large publishers and sister societies lead to a situation whereby we can act in the online licensing market with more market power and subsequently negotiate better conditions with the online providers of music.

On 1 July 2021, the Act on Collective Management Organisations entered into force in the Principality of Liechtenstein. It contains, among others, provisions to cater for transparency among collective management organisations. The EU Directive of 2014 has thus been implemented. So that SUISA can take these provisions into account, the code of conduct and the rules on the disclosure of conflicts of interest at Board level were adapted. There are also new disclosure obligations for the Executive Committee. The Board of Directors has passed the respective documents.

Amendments to the budget due to Covid-19

The Board of Directors has adapted the budget to the continuing corona situation for the current year. As early as in December 2020, a cautious budget had been passed for 2021. Nevertheless, the income side must be adjusted to reflect a minus of 1.5% which is expected compared to the original budget. Expenditure is anticipated to be 2.2% less.

Another topic at the meeting was the situation regarding the handling of the double taxation provisions between the Italian sister society SIAE and SUISA. SUISA, just like other European sister societies, is going to approach the Italian tax authorities in order to keep withholding tax deductions for SUISA rights owner members who have their residence outside of Switzerland as low as possible.

Finally, the Board of Directors approved an amendment to the distribution rules regarding the pay-out of licensing income of streaming and download platforms. For another amendment regarding the question how long SUISA can process adjustment distributions for online usages, the Board is going to wait for a more detailed report by the Executive Committee.

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On the day before the General Meeting, the SUISA Board and its committees usually hold a physical meeting at the venue of the General Meeting. This year, it was different for the second time in a row. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

SUISA Board of Directors holds a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months

SUISA partition wall set up at a venue: The meeting of a nearly full Board of Directors took place for its regular June sessions in Muri near Berne. (Photo: Natalie Schlumpf & Wolfgang Rudigier)

While the General Meeting could only take place by postal vote due to the precautionary measures taken in the context with the corona pandemic for the second time, the Board of Directors decided to hold a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months in Muri near Berne on 24 and 25...read more

The sound of the mountain

For the first time ever, the Floating Notes Festival will be held at the San Bernardino in Graubünden this year. Floating Notes is all about experimental music. In this blog, festival organisers and performers describe how the unique landscape is influencing music and the performances. SUISA is a sponsoring partner of the festival. Guest contribution by Elena Rotondi

Floating Notes Festival: The sound of the mountain

The Floating Notes Festival is going to take place from 23 to 25 July 2021 in Mesocco near the San Bernardino. (Photo: Sebastiano Piattini)

Kety Fusco, founder and programme director of the Floating Notes Festival has a rather specific idea what the heartbeat of her festival is going to be: The performers are going to engage in experimental and unpublished sound research that adapts to the place of the performance, taking into consideration their own artistic and musical backgrounds, and that will make it impossible to separate the content of the performance from the place where it has been created. As a consequence, the Floating Notes Festival is going to be completely new event because music and venue will be brought together in a unique performance. Kety Fusco will launch the opening night of the festival at the spring of the San Bernardino (GR) with her electronic harp on Friday, 23 July.

This, she tells us, shall be the manifest of the idea which stands behind the festival: the desire to unite the aesthetics and history of the San Bernardino, to revive a place which has, historically, always been a point of attraction for international travellers and which still pulls many visitors thanks to the untouched beauty you can still find in some places. All of this with a view to the future with the atmospheric, innovative and experimental music which is going to populate the environment and fill it with new meaning.

The performers appearing in the programme have been asked how the creative process was influencing their preparation for the festival and their performance on stage. Camilla Sparksss who is going to perform in the Fonte Minerale in the evening, tells us how she is experimenting with a live set specially for the Floating Notes Festival: “Sounds are created which, in my view, come rather close to the sound of the mountain and its gravitas, with its echoes and its dangers. It is going to be a performance which could be perceived as very experimental by people. But you just have to close your eyes and imagine a journey into the interior of the rocks in order to become one with the mountains.”

It is also interesting how Adriano Koch, a young musician, who is going to conclude the evening on Friday, 23 July, links his appearance to the place where he is going to perform: “It is always motivating to see how a place or a venue can change the energy and the artistic message of a song. As such, it is important to me to record a performance in order to preserve this special moment which will never happen again.”

This festival in Graubünden could not continue without the present of the pioneer of instrumental and sound research: The next day, Saturday 24 July, Simon Berz is going to perform a live concert with stones on the San Bernardino pass. The musician explains: “I have created my instrument TECTONIC from volcanic sound stones which I found in Iceland. The stones are now going to sound in another ‘stone room’, the one in San Bernardino.”

The Floating Notes Festival also excels by an event which connects music and body: a guided meditation by Keri Gonzato who will be accompanied with music by Federica Furlani, alias Effe Effe, played back from a sound recording. A soundscape, just made for meditation at more than 2,000 metres above sea level.

The soundtrack of the festival will be premièred on Saturday, 24 July. Ticino-based musician Chiara Dubey has been commissioned with the soundtrack. She describes the creative process of her composition as follows: “In the beginning, there was the idea that I would probably be inspired by the sounds of natural elements into which I would delve into upon my arrival at the San Bernardino. For example, the rustle of the fir trees or the lapping of the water. Since this concert is my first pre-taste of the mountains after a weird year of communal solitude and deafening silence, I decided that I would look inwards for this piece: I was listening to my thoughts and it seemed as if I was finding an old friend again after a long time. I am sure that I was not the only one who had this experience. And I hope that both for me and all attendees it will be liberating to let this song, ‘Stranger’ rumble in the night of the festival, also because our stage will be surrounded by a spectacular mountainous landscape, by a raw, natural, free beauty.”

The closing act of Saturday evening will be Peter Kernel, a well-known duo from Ticino that will be part of the festival in an unusual context and with an equally unusual performance. As such, Aris Bassetti and Barbara Lehnhoff are not going to perform as a typical rock band but prepare an exclusive DJ set which consists of music from the past and will lead us into the future so that it best resonates in the crevices of the surrounding mountains: “For us, it is a central issue to create a certain connection with the audience; we must understand each other in order to create an unforgettable experience. For Floating Notes, we decided to do something exclusive, something that we usually don’t do. We will not perform a normal concert but an experimental DJ set. We will play music which somehow fits well into the context of the mountains and fresh air and we will try to mix it in our own way.”

The Floating Notes Festival is going to take place from 23 to 25 July 2021 in Mesocco (GR) near the San Bernardino. Swiss artists Kety Fusco, Camilla Sparksss, Chiara Dubey, Leoni Leoni, Peter Kernel and Adriano Koch, Federica Furlani (Effe Effe) from Italy and the Icelandic musician Simon Berz are going to perform at the festival. There will also be a guided meditation by Keri Gonzato. Further information can be accessed at www.facebook.com/floatingnotesfestival.
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For the first time ever, the Floating Notes Festival will be held at the San Bernardino in Graubünden this year. Floating Notes is all about experimental music. In this blog, festival organisers and performers describe how the unique landscape is influencing music and the performances. SUISA is a sponsoring partner of the festival. Guest contribution by Elena Rotondi

Floating Notes Festival: The sound of the mountain

The Floating Notes Festival is going to take place from 23 to 25 July 2021 in Mesocco near the San Bernardino. (Photo: Sebastiano Piattini)

Kety Fusco, founder and programme director of the Floating Notes Festival has a rather specific idea what the heartbeat of her festival is going to be: The performers are going to engage in experimental and unpublished sound research that adapts to the place of the performance, taking into consideration their own...read more

“Get Going!” goes into the fourth round

Since 2018, “Get Going!” has been a regular feature of the support portfolio of the FONDATION SUISA. Now the kick-off financing programme which promotes innovative creative approaches outside the usual “pigeonholes”, enters its fourth round. Text by FONDATION SUISA

Fondation Suisa: “Get Going!” goes into the fourth round

Last year’s recipients of “Get Going!” (Clockwise from the top left) Isandro Ojeda-García, OY, Réka Csiszér, Pirmin Huber. (Photos: Caio Licínio; Sash Seurat Samson; Romina Kalsi; Gian Marco Castelberg)

When invitations to tender for “Get Going!” were launched for the first time, in 2018, it was “a shot in the dark”, says Urs Schnell, Director of the FONDATION SUISA. Back then, the idea was to look ahead. “Instead of patting an artist on the back after the fact by awarding them a prize, we now invest the money available to us into the future instead.”

So far, four “Get Going!” contributions of CHF 25,000 each have been allocated three times. The unabated interest in this promotion process underlines the changing conditions that music creators find themselves in with respect to many issues. Since the kick-off financing is not linked to a result, it allows musicians to work free from financial and time-related pressures. “On the one hand, the environment over the last years has become more hectic, on the other hand, the pandemic has left many in a void. You can look at it from any which angle, the time factor has become a commodity that should not be underestimated”, explains Schnell.

Applications for “Get Going!” contributions until 30 August 2021

“Get Going!” is aimed at innovative and creative projects that are in danger of falling through the cracks in any conventional application system. FONDATION SUISA intends to move towards artists with “Get Going!”, says Schnell, and adds: “We want to move free creative thinking back into the centre of interest.”

From now on, creators, authors and musicians who can prove a clear relation to current music creation in Switzerland or Liechtenstein, can apply again for “Get Going!”. Four of those kick-off financing packages of CHF 25,000 each will be granted by an expert jury again this year. The deadline to submit applications is 30 August 2021.

In order to show what “Get Going!” actually offers in terms of opportunities, we are going to publish portraits of the recipients of last year’s “Get Going!” contributions on the FONDATION SUISA website and the SUISAblog over the next few weeks.

“Get Going!” on the website of FONDATION SUISA

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Since 2018, “Get Going!” has been a regular feature of the support portfolio of the FONDATION SUISA. Now the kick-off financing programme which promotes innovative creative approaches outside the usual “pigeonholes”, enters its fourth round. Text by FONDATION SUISA

Fondation Suisa: “Get Going!” goes into the fourth round

Last year’s recipients of “Get Going!” (Clockwise from the top left) Isandro Ojeda-García, OY, Réka Csiszér, Pirmin Huber. (Photos: Caio Licínio; Sash Seurat Samson; Romina Kalsi; Gian Marco Castelberg)

When invitations to tender for “Get Going!” were launched for the first time, in 2018, it was “a shot in the dark”, says Urs Schnell, Director of the FONDATION SUISA. Back then, the idea was to look ahead. “Instead of patting an artist on the back after the fact by awarding them a prize, we now invest the money available to us into the future...read more

General Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of Directors

For the second time running, the SUISA General Meeting took place in writing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Altogether 1,486 composers, lyricists, music publishers and heirs participated in the voting process by letter and e-mail. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

General Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of Directors

The SUISA General Meeting elected National Councillor Johanna Gapany (pictured), FDP Fribourg, as a new Board member. (Photo: Luan Bardi)

Due to the current Covid-19 situation, SUISA had to renounce on a physical General Meeting this year, just like it had to in 2020. Instead, the General Meeting was held again in written form. SUISA members could vote by letter or e-mail again this year.

As usual, SUISA members decided on the statutory business of their Cooperative Society and the SUISA Group. They approved, among others, the annual financial account and exonerated the SUISA Board and auditing firm, BDO.

National Councillor Johanna Gapany new in the SUISA Board of Directors

The General Meeting elected National Councillor, Johanna Gapany, FDP Fribourg, to the Board of Directors to replace Géraldine Savary who had stepped down; her term of office is until 2023.

Johanna Gapany grew up in Gruyère and began her political career early on. Among other activities, she held the Presidency of the Jungfreisinnigen (Young Liberals) of the Canton Fribourg and also held the position of Vice President of the Jungfreisinnigen Switzerland. In 2019, Johanna Gapany was elected as the first woman from the Canton Fribourg into the National Council. She is Vice President of the Finance Committees member of the Science, Education and Culture Committees (WBK/SECC), the Social Security and Health Committees (SGK/SSHC) and the delegation at the inter-parliamentarian Union.

In her video message to the General Meeting, she mentioned that the reason for her candidacy for the SUISA Board was that “music has a special value, for me personally and for our culture and our country.” SUISA gained a committed politician to the Board with Johanna Gapany who intends to support the issues of music creators. In the video, she directed her message to musicians as follows: “I would like to support you so that your work is recognised. The career of a music creator should not be regarded as a whim, a child’s dream or a calling but as a real profession.”

Gapany succeeds former National Councillor Géraldine Savary (SP, VD), who had been a strong supporter of the interests of music creators over the ten years as a SUISA Board member. Savary’s postulate entitled “Does Switzerland need a law against illegal music downloads?” was the trigger for a copyright reform in 2010, and that the Swiss Copyright Act was adapted to the digital age.

Géraldine Savary now intends to dedicate her entire time to her new role as editor-in-chief of the French-speaking women’s magazine “Femina” and therefore decided to leave the SUISA Board.

SUISA’s investment rules now also take sustainability into consideration

Another item on the agenda was the general investment rules of SUISA. The SUISA Board of Directors moved to the General Meeting that the additional criterion “sustainability” should be added to the existing criteria “security” and “liquidity”. The sustainable investments are categorised in line with the ESG criteria: Environment, Social and Governance. These criteria will be taken into account for each new decision on investments.

Altogether 1,486 composers, lyricists, music publishers and heirs participated in the written voting and electing process. An overview of the results of the SUISA General Meeting 2021 can be found at www.suisa.ch/en/members/general-assembly.html

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For the second time running, the SUISA General Meeting took place in writing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Altogether 1,486 composers, lyricists, music publishers and heirs participated in the voting process by letter and e-mail. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

General Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of Directors

The SUISA General Meeting elected National Councillor Johanna Gapany (pictured), FDP Fribourg, as a new Board member. (Photo: Luan Bardi)

Due to the current Covid-19 situation, SUISA had to renounce on a physical General Meeting this year, just like it had to in 2020. Instead, the General Meeting was held again in written form. SUISA members could vote by letter or e-mail again this year.

As usual, SUISA members decided on the statutory business of their Cooperative Society and the SUISA Group. They approved, among others, the annual financial account and exonerated the SUISA Board...read more

SUISA continues to be a reliable partner, even in difficult times

Dear members, we have been stuck with the corona crisis for 15 months and have been trying, as best as we can, to be a reliable partner for you when it comes to managing your copyright, despite of corona. It is now the second time round that we must hold our General Meeting by circular procedure. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

SUISA continues to be a reliable partner, even in difficult times

SUISA continues to be a guiding light and a reliable partner in these dark times. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Executive Committee, Board of Directors and staff regret very much that there won’t be a physical General Meeting in 2021 again. The General Meeting is the highlight of the yearly cycle of your company. Only a direct encounter with you shows us whether we are on the right track and whether our services cover your needs, or what we might actually have to improve yet.

We also would have liked to discuss in more detail and in person how the financial situation of your Cooperative Society has been developing in these difficult times, now that concerts have no longer taken place and no licensing fees have been collected for them anymore.

The 2020 annual results have been reasonably acceptable (-12%). For the current year’s results, we hope that there will be a relaxation of the event bans and an opening of restaurants so that the losses remain within 10% compared to 2020.

Impact of the event bans only visible after a delay

You are probably also going to feel this decline of SUISA’s collections in the settlements. Lost licence fees for cancelled live events will only result in lower amounts in the settlements which we pay out in the course of 2021 from the 2020 collections. With the 2021 settlements it thus becomes evident with a delay how the corona measures decreed by the authorities affect the pay-out of copyright remuneration.

The same applies for measures which has led to another shutdown in the context of the second wave of the pandemic from 21 December 2020. This will impact on settlements way into the year 2022.

Corona emergency fund for SUISA members

The 2020 General Meeting had decided that an emergency fund should be created for members that have a lower SUISA income due to the corona crisis. This fund continues to exist. SUISA offers its members further possibilities to bridge financial shortages: It is also possible to get advances for future settlements. Finally, there is the option that creators who get into financial hardship situations can get a support payment from the Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers.

Expansion of online services

SUISA is therefore also your point of contact throughout the crisis. We try to be there for you, subject to keeping to a strict expenses discipline when it comes to staff costs.

This is possible, among other things, because of an increased digitisation of the business transactions between you and SUISA. Since mid-May 2021, our “business intelligence” tool, the Royalty Report, has been activated for all rightsholders. It is therefore high time that you get an online access to your SUISA account and that you benefit from the digital services as soon as possible. That way, we can continue to increase transparency and expand our services for our members despite the pandemic.

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Dear members, we have been stuck with the corona crisis for 15 months and have been trying, as best as we can, to be a reliable partner for you when it comes to managing your copyright, despite of corona. It is now the second time round that we must hold our General Meeting by circular procedure. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

SUISA continues to be a reliable partner, even in difficult times

SUISA continues to be a guiding light and a reliable partner in these dark times. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Executive Committee, Board of Directors and staff regret very much that there won’t be a physical General Meeting in 2021 again. The General Meeting is the highlight of the yearly cycle of your company. Only a direct encounter with you shows us whether we are on the right track and whether our services cover your...read more

The Royalty Report is online

News about “My account”: Thanks to user-friendly graphics, the Royalty Report provides a quick overview of how the copyright royalties developed over the last five years and allows individual analyses per mouse click. Text by Claudia Kempf

The Royalty Report is online

The user interface of the SUISA Royalty Report. The data analysis tool is available to all members via the portal under “My account”. (Photo: SUISA)

The SUISA member portal is very popular and is used a lot. More than two thirds of all members have access to “My account” and use the advantages of the portal. Since May 2021, a significant function has been added to the portal: the Royalty Report. With this newly introduced analysis tool, you can create statistical evaluations of your own SUISA income and turn them into graphics.

After all, there is a lot of information in the SUISA settlements. You can access the settlements in “My account” as navigable PDFs. An accumulated evaluation of this data required manual or, in the case of publishers receiving electronic settlements, technical efforts.

This additional effort is now a thing of the past: With the Royalty Report, all members can, simply by clicking on the right button, get answers to questions such as: Which of my works is doing really well in a specific country? Which of my works generated the highest turnover last year? In which areas was a specific work most used: Radio, online or in discotheques?

The Royalty Report is interactive

The basic setting provides an overview of all work usages of the last five years and the current financial year. It shows at first glance: How many works did it take to reach the turnover I have generated? When were the works used, and where? What are the top works and what is the turnover they generated in that time? Did I earn more as a lyricist or a composer, as an original or sub-publisher? Are my works used more on Spotify or Apple Music?

The Royalty Report is interactive. With just one click on a work or a country, for example, the entire appearance of the display is adjusted to the selected work or country. The link sign (chain symbol) in the work list leads you directly to the works database and provides details how the relevant work has been registered at SUISA.

Thanks to various filter options, the income can be shown by different criteria such as settlement date, usage period, country, distribution category, work or online music providers. In order to gain a deeper insight, the selection criteria can be combined in any way. The program also allows for an export of the filtered data to Excel. The settlements and usage periods can be specified further with a click on the arrows in front of the respective selection criteria so that an evaluation is also possible for an individual settlement.

If you have questions on how to use the Royalty Report, the following functions are available:

  • Info buttons: They appear if you hover over a field with your mouse at the top right in the user interface. They contain information about the data which are shown in this area.
  • A user manual summarises the most important functions and contains tips and tricks on the use of the Royalty Report and explanations on the various displays and distribution categories.
  • A video shows the most important user tips:

The Royalty Report is available in English. The manual contains translations of all terms and info buttons which are used in the report.

The Royalty Report is based on the data analysis tool by Microsoft Office. The software developer recommends to use the application on a computer with a browser of the latest generation. Mobile end devices such as smartphones and tablets are, however, not suitable for processing large data volumes.

The member portal will be expanded in the medium term to become a central point of contact for our members so that core tasks of SUISA can be offered more quickly and cost-efficiently. The Royalty Report is an important step into the digital future. A next step is the renewal of the login process so that members can manage their online accounts completely independently.

The access to “My account” and the Royalty Report is open to all SUISA members. Order your login for a personal online user account now: www.suisa.ch/my-account

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Support for SUISA members during the corona crisisSupport for SUISA members during the corona crisis Following the federal COVID-19 ordinances, music usage plummeted depriving authors and publishers of a significant portion of their royalty revenues. SUISA offers its members financial support to bridge the loss in earnings. Read more
Are royalties subject to social security (AHV/AVS) contributions?Are royalties subject to social security (AHV/AVS) contributions? Do royalties qualify as earnings from self-employment? Swiss AHV/AVS compensation offices follow different practices. Read more
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Leave a Reply

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.

Your email address will not be published.

News about “My account”: Thanks to user-friendly graphics, the Royalty Report provides a quick overview of how the copyright royalties developed over the last five years and allows individual analyses per mouse click. Text by Claudia Kempf

The Royalty Report is online

The user interface of the SUISA Royalty Report. The data analysis tool is available to all members via the portal under “My account”. (Photo: SUISA)

The SUISA member portal is very popular and is used a lot. More than two thirds of all members have access to “My account” and use the advantages of the portal. Since May 2021, a significant function has been added to the portal: the Royalty Report. With this newly introduced analysis tool, you can create statistical evaluations of your own SUISA income and turn them into graphics.

After all, there is a...read more

Livestream licensing by SUISA

Driven by the pandemic, livestreaming of the most varied forms of events has grown in significance. Thanks to this technology, it is possible to share an event with a virtual audience despite the applicable bans and restrictions. This article outlines SUISA’s licensing practice and terms and conditions for livestreams. Text by Martin Korrodi

Livestream licensing by SUISA

A concert in your living room: organisers who air an event with music in real time over the internet must register and license the livestream with SUISA. (Photo: Scharfsinn / Shutterstock.com)

During the pandemic, dance and fitness courses, religious services, general meetings, and ever more concerts were recorded on the internet and aired as livestreams in replacement of disallowed live events. In October 2020, a virtual concert of the South Korean boy-group BTS attracted over 900,000 fans worldwide and brought in revenues of USD 44m.

These online events regularly fuel debate in the media, as well as between music creators and, naturally, the organisers of livestreaming events. More often than not, discussions revolve around the licensing terms and conditions for the necessary livestreaming rights.

What is a livestream?

A livestream is an event that is aired individually and in real time over the internet. The audience can log in at the start of the event and follow the event live – for free or for a fee. Livestreams should be distinguished from on-demand offers where spectators can choose to view the content at the time of their choice. Moreover, a livestream is not a broadcast, where contents are also transmitted in real time, but as programmes in a succession of broadcasts and not as individual events. A livestreaming licence is required for any individual event that is simultaneously recorded and streamed over the internet where the audience cannot freely choose when to view it.

Livestream licensing conditions are based on performance tariffs

Since streamed events are generally events that could just as well be staged live in the presence of an audience or performed by way of replacement for such events, the licensing terms are based on the terms and conditions of the relevant performance tariffs. Accordingly, the same percentage rate will apply to a streamed concert as that applied to a concert performed with a physical audience under Common Tariff K (CT K). Proceeding by analogy with the performance tariffs ensures that organisers of virtual and physical concerts are treated on an equal footing since their events tend to be reciprocal substitutes.

Licensing conditions distinguish between different categories: concerts, DJ sets, shows and ballet performances, and theatrical plays. The relevant rate is applied to revenues or costs as provided in the performance tariffs (CT K and CT Hb). Also in accordance with the latter, rates are adjusted proportionately with the duration of the protected music used (pro rata temporis rule). In addition to these categories, other classes of events, such as sports events, evening entertainment, seminars, religious services, events in homes and hospitals, etc. are grouped under “other events” – in this case, a flat rate of 2% of gross revenues or costs is applied.

If revenues are less than the gross cost, or if there are no revenues, the above rates are applied to total costs. As in the case of the performance tariffs, music-related gross costs are deducted. These costs consist of the following: musicians’ fees and expenses, rental of sound and recording equipment (microphones, mixing console, camera, etc.), instrument rental, and rent for the location.

Events with an audience that are additionally streamed

Live events are often staged with a small physical audience and simultaneously aired over the internet to extend their reach. In such cases, the organiser will need a “normal” licence for the performance rights and an additional licence for the livestream. As a rule, this means that, in addition to the fees charged under the performance tariff, the minimum fee CHF 40 will be charged for the livestream, since the revenues or costs of the event are already taken into account in the performance licensing fee. However, if the livestream generates separate revenues, the licence fees for the livestream will be charged on that basis.

Viewing streams after the live event

Many livestream organisers leave recordings of the stream on the internet for a certain period time after the live event; these recordings can be subsequently called up and viewed by people who missed the livestream at the official time. Provided the livestream was properly declared and licensed, SUISA allows it to be stored for subsequent viewing for a flat fee of CHF 100 in the case of concerts and DJ sets – for all other types of events the flat fee is CHF 50.

What rights are covered by the licence?

For organisers established in Switzerland or Liechtenstein whose streams are primarily intended for a domestic (Switzerland and Liechtenstein) audience, SUISA can licence the rights for the world repertoire. In the case of international organisers whose streams are intended for audiences including Switzerland and Liechtenstein, SUISA can licence the world repertoire for uses in our territory; in this case, the licence fees will be calculated only on the basis of the sales realised in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

In the livestream area, SUISA only manages authors’ musical copyrights. For all other rights, e.g. neighbouring rights or synchronisation rights, users should contact the relevant rightholders.

Livestreams with music must be registered with SUISA

Please refer to our website for the licensing terms and conditions, application form, and further information about livestreams:
www.suisa.ch/en/customers/online/video/live-streams.html

To complete your application, the following information is required:

  • customer’s contact particulars
  • category of the livestream
  • livestream particulars title, duration, date, website URL, number of views
  • total revenues
  • (gross) costs
  • Will the event be recorded and stored for subsequent viewing? (yes/no)
  • list of musical works contained in the livestream

A licence is also required for livestreams produced via an external platform and embedded on your own website (e.g. Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Youtube Live or Twitch).

The rules governing current temporary exceptions in the livestream area proceeding from federal measures to combat the corona pandemic are also published on our website:
www.suisa.ch/en/suisa/measures-corona-pandemic/information-for-customers.html

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Driven by the pandemic, livestreaming of the most varied forms of events has grown in significance. Thanks to this technology, it is possible to share an event with a virtual audience despite the applicable bans and restrictions. This article outlines SUISA’s licensing practice and terms and conditions for livestreams. Text by Martin Korrodi

Livestream licensing by SUISA

A concert in your living room: organisers who air an event with music in real time over the internet must register and license the livestream with SUISA. (Photo: Scharfsinn / Shutterstock.com)

During the pandemic, dance and fitness courses, religious services, general meetings, and ever more concerts were recorded on the internet and aired as livestreams in replacement of disallowed live events. In October 2020, a virtual concert of the South Korean boy-group BTS attracted over 900,000 fans worldwide and brought...read more

Are royalties subject to social security (AHV/AVS) contributions?

Do royalties qualify as earnings from self-employment? Swiss AHV/AVS compensation offices follow different practices. Text by Michelle Moser

Are royalties subject to social security (AHV/AVS) contributions?

Saving for retirement: Swiss compensation offices do not agree on whether or not royalties are subject to social security contributions. (Photo: Nattapol Sritongcom / Shutterstock.com)

Musicians often earn their living from several different sources: fees from concerts, a teacher’s salary from the music school, fees for commissioned works, or remuneration collected by SUISA on their behalf.

The different cantonal compensation offices have no uniform position on whether the remuneration distributed by SUISA qualifies as income from gainful self-employment – which would be subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

AHV/AVS – mandatory insurance for all

All Swiss residents and persons gainfully employed in Switzerland are subject to mandatory retirement, disability, and survivors’ insurance. And all those insured (except children) are accordingly required to pay social security (AHV/AVS) contributions. The contributions are normally assessed on the income earned from gainful employment.

For persons who are gainfully self-employed, contributions are assessed on the income earned from one’s own entrepreneurial, commercial, or business activities.

In principle, the following guidelines apply: AHV/AVS contributions must be paid on the earnings declared in one’s tax return. This is not the case for income from capital investments or real property, for example, which is taxable income but is not subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

Royalties: income from employment or from capital investment?

For SVA Zurich, the social security institution, royalties basically qualify as income from self-employment and should be declared accordingly. As a result, authors must register as self-employeds.

SVA Zurich does, however, make a distinction between authors who actively exploit their works and authors who do not. Authors who actively exploit their works after creating them (e.g. as a member of a band playing its own compositions) qualify as gainfully employed. This includes collective administration by SUISA. The earnings from such gainful employment are subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

The subsequent royalties received by authors who do not actively exploit their works after creating them, on the other hand, qualify as income from capital investments, and are not subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

In summary, for SVA Zurich what is decisive is whether an author participates in the performance of the works or merely “reaps” the proceeds from his earlier compositions.

Different practice from one canton to the other

Whether AHV/AVS contributions are payable on remuneration distributed by the collecting societies is decided differently by the compensation offices depending on who is asking, and the amount involved.

Unlike SVA Zurich, the compensation office of the canton of Vaud, for example, holds that remuneration for the creation of works is by definition subject to AHV/AVS contributions, while the remuneration from subsequent uses distributed by the collecting societies qualifies as capital gains and is not subject to social security contributions. It follows, therefore, that none of the remuneration distributed by the collecting societies is subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

In the final analysis, the decision on these social insurance issues does not lie with the collecting societies but with the compensation offices. For this reason, the Swiss collecting societies advise their members to contact the competent compensation office to establish what exactly their AHV/AVS contribution obligations are.

The different practices of cantonal compensation offices with regard to social security contributory obligations on royalties offers no legal certainty and is unsatisfactory. The Swiss collecting societies will follow this issue closely and keep their members informed of any changes.

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  1. Ich bin erstaunt bezüglich unterschiedlicher Handhabung von Ausgleichskassen von Urheberrechten/-entschädigungen. Jede AHV-Ausgleichskasse hat die gesetzlichen Grundlagen anzuwenden und wenn etwas unklar ist, ist dies durch das BSV klarzustellen. Der unterschiedlichen Handhabung wären u.a. auch Autoren (mit oder ohne Vorlesung) ausgesetzt. Dies meine Ansicht als Eidg. Dipl. Sozialversicherungsexperte.

Leave a Reply

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.

Your email address will not be published.

Do royalties qualify as earnings from self-employment? Swiss AHV/AVS compensation offices follow different practices. Text by Michelle Moser

Are royalties subject to social security (AHV/AVS) contributions?

Saving for retirement: Swiss compensation offices do not agree on whether or not royalties are subject to social security contributions. (Photo: Nattapol Sritongcom / Shutterstock.com)

Musicians often earn their living from several different sources: fees from concerts, a teacher’s salary from the music school, fees for commissioned works, or remuneration collected by SUISA on their behalf.

The different cantonal compensation offices have no uniform position on whether the remuneration distributed by SUISA qualifies as income from gainful self-employment – which would be subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

AHV/AVS – mandatory insurance for all

All Swiss residents and persons gainfully employed in Switzerland are subject to mandatory retirement, disability, and survivors’ insurance. And all those insured (except children) are accordingly...read more

Changes to the SUISA organisation chart

In the course of the retirement of our Head of the International Documentation Department, the Executive Committee decided several modifications of SUISA’s organisation chart , taking effect from 1 March 2021. These modifications also entail changes in terms of staff responsibilities. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes to the SUISA organisation chart

Brigitte Küng (image taken during a management seminar in 2012) worked for SUISA for nearly half a century and her last position was that of Head of the International Documentation Department. (Photo: Günter Bolzern)

After more than 48 years at SUISA, Brigitte Küng took her retirement at the end of February 2021.

In 1972, she started her apprenticeship with SUISA and stayed true to SUISA for nearly half a century! Her first role included the distribution of licences for sound recordings in the then MECHANLIZENZ, from 1973 she continued her task after the merger with SUISA. She continued to work in the International Documentation and finally took over the helm of said department which she led successfully up to the date of her retirement.

Brigitte Küng was also responsible for the global database of the “Compositeurs, Auteurs and Editeurs (CAE)” which is nowadays known as IPI (Interested Party Information) and reflects all interested parties in the copyright world. She became a very highly appreciated contact for documentation queries among colleagues around the world. With regards to new collective management organisations, Brigitte Küng held courses for the build-up and maintenance of documentation data. She was travelling several continents to fulfil this task.

We thank Brigitte Küng very much for her many years of loyalty and her excellent work for SUISA!

Wolfgang Rudigier takes over the International Documentation Department

Brigitte Küng’s valuable work is continued by Wolfgang Rudigier. From 1 March 2021 onwards, he has taken over the responsibility for the International Documentation in addition to the Distribution Department. Due to his long-term experience as Head of the Distribution Department, he also holds a well-founded knowledge regarding the documentation sector. Thanks to these skills, synergies can be created, not least because documentation and distribution go hand in hand from a process perspective.

Claudia Kempf now in charge of the Domestic Settlement Inquiries team

In parallel, the group referred to as Domestic Settlement Inquiries which had been located under the Distribution Department was shifted across to the Members Department and therefore to Claudia Kempf from 01 March 2021. The Members Department can, as a consequence of this organisational change, provide a comprehensive service and support and advise SUISA members both in terms of the rights administration agreement and work registrations and distribution queries.

Hansruedi Jung looks after IPI

The IPI (Interested Party Information) was integrated into the IT Department and is now in the remit of Hansruedi Jung, Head of Systems Technology. The IPI is our international database of authors and publishers which reflects member agreements from all over the world. The technical infrastructure of the IPI belongs to SUISA. It issues an invoice to collective management organisations which are using the system for this service provided to them by SUISA each year.

New organisation team leaders

These changes in the SUISA organisation chart also led to re-organisations at team leader levels: Simon Klopfenstein holds the team Domestic Settlement Inquiries from 01 March 2021 and thus changed across to the Members Department.

Eva Bisaz continues to be in charge of the group International Distribution and Settlement Inquiries (sister societies) within the Distribution Department, but has also taken on the group Domestic Broadcasting Distribution from 01 March 2021 onwards.

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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.

Your email address will not be published.

In the course of the retirement of our Head of the International Documentation Department, the Executive Committee decided several modifications of SUISA’s organisation chart , taking effect from 1 March 2021. These modifications also entail changes in terms of staff responsibilities. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes to the SUISA organisation chart

Brigitte Küng (image taken during a management seminar in 2012) worked for SUISA for nearly half a century and her last position was that of Head of the International Documentation Department. (Photo: Günter Bolzern)

After more than 48 years at SUISA, Brigitte Küng took her retirement at the end of February 2021.

In 1972, she started her apprenticeship with SUISA and stayed true to SUISA for nearly half a century! Her first role included the distribution of licences for sound recordings in the then MECHANLIZENZ, from 1973 she...read more

Musikexport – quo vadis?

Covid-19, digitisation, climate crisis: Musikexport in extraordinary times. Experiences and thoughts on the subject by Marcel Kaufmann, responsible at FONDATION SUISA for its presence abroad and the export promotion.

Fondation Suisa: Musikexport – quo vadis?

Will there ever be a back to “normal” times? The Swiss joint exhibition stand at the jazzahead! Bremen 2019. (Photo: Marcel Kaufmann)

Since the internet revolution of the 90ies, the value creation on the music market shifted to a large part towards the live sector. Concerts became the most important income stream for many musicians. One of the consequences was that numerous showcase events were launched. Artists could perform in front of international experts during short live concerts. This was done in the hope that they would get bookings in bigger clubs or festivals or taken under contract by international agencies. Together with various partners, the FONDATION SUISA supports the export endeavours of the domestic creators. For many years, the foundation organises Swiss networking platforms at international conferences and events.

This well-functioning system of travel, performances and shaking hands was brought to an abrupt halt by the pandemic. It was more or less overnight that music creators lost a large portion of their income, and at the same time also their export paths.

What now? How can they bridge this period? And what would happen if the “normality” we all love so much is never to return?

FONDATION SUISA took part in many pilot projects last year, tested chat tools, supported showcase videos via streams and negotiated potential new subsidising avenues with event organisers and promoters. “An interesting experience”, “a welcome transitional solution”, but surely “no surrogate for a real live performance”: This is our verdict at the end of 2020, in conformity with a large group of music creators and event organisers.

“Networking via the internet is, to many, still a very strange concept.”

The pandemic entailed cancellations of practically all physical face-to-face music conferences and exhibitions in 2020. Some, like Midem or WOMEX tried to hold virtual events. Back then, the planning insecurity was still too high. It was impossible to even consider being able to organise concerts again in the near future. In line with this, promoters booked much less artists during such online events than for physical events with a face-to-face audience. The ambiance of a live concerts can also not be recreated on a 1:1 level. And networking via the internet is, to many, still a very strange concept.

The most recent virtually held jazzahead! in Bremen confirmed these findings to a large degree. Ok, so it was easier to establish contact among those accredited for participation via the internet than on heaving exhibition grounds. In the absence of a collective feeling, however, you soon turn into a lone fighter. The real success of the Swiss presence at the biggest jazz conference in the world this year will only emerge in a few weeks and after surveys and conversations. In the past, it was possible to draw conclusions on the last day of the conference.

The two Swiss live acts in the official showcase programme of the jazzahead! chose different approaches: The formation The True Harry Nulz performed live in Bremen in front of a handful of journalists which at least applauded after each song which could be heard in the live stream. The showcase of the Luzia von Wyl Ensemble, however, had been pre-produced without an audience in the Moods in Zurich and then streamed. The silence between the pieces and the lack of feedback leave the performers in a vacuum.

“We must constantly create new scenarios, remain open and critically assess our own impressions.”

Now that in the face of the vaccination campaigns there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel again, it would be easy to fall into a state of hopeful anticipation and do away with the online world as a pure temporary solution. In a time, however, where our entire work life is significantly changed by the digitisation, many questions arise: Is there possibly more export potential in the online world as previously assumed? Can we even afford the old “normal” in times of a global climate crisis which will survive each pandemic? A crisis which is going to have a lasting effect on generations of future music creators and take many opportunities away from them?

There are still no conclusive answers to all of these questions. The most important developments do not take place online but in our heads. And these developments take more time than the technological ones. Until then, we must constantly create new scenarios, remain open and critically assess our own impressions. The most important factor is: listen to the music creators. Because their art must find its way across the country borders, also in the future. For them, FONDATION SUISA will continue to actively monitor and influence the developments in the music export world.

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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.

Your email address will not be published.

Covid-19, digitisation, climate crisis: Musikexport in extraordinary times. Experiences and thoughts on the subject by Marcel Kaufmann, responsible at FONDATION SUISA for its presence abroad and the export promotion.

Fondation Suisa: Musikexport – quo vadis?

Will there ever be a back to “normal” times? The Swiss joint exhibition stand at the jazzahead! Bremen 2019. (Photo: Marcel Kaufmann)

Since the internet revolution of the 90ies, the value creation on the music market shifted to a large part towards the live sector. Concerts became the most important income stream for many musicians. One of the consequences was that numerous showcase events were launched. Artists could perform in front of international experts during short live concerts. This was done in the hope that they would get bookings in bigger clubs or festivals or taken under contract by international agencies. Together with various partners, the...read more