Author Archives: Manu Leuenberger

“Us Mänsch”: Last minute hit with loads of energy | plus video

“Us Mänsch” by Bligg and Marc Sway was one of the most successful Swiss songs last year. This despite the fact that the song only made it to the Bligg album “KombiNation” last minute. Now, the song is nominated for the “Best Hit award at the “Swiss Music Awards” 2019. Musician and music university lecturer Hans Feigenwinter has analysed the composition of “Us Mänsch”. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Manu Leuenberger

Bligg and Marc Sway have already written some songs together. For the single “Us Mänsch” they took to the microphone together for the first time. Not without success: The single was awarded platinum status in 2018.

Why is the song so attractive for the audience? Hans Feigenwinter who lectures musicology at the music universities in Basel and Lucerne and is a pianist and composer himself, reckons: “There is a lot of energy, it is a very passionate rap.” In his song analysis which can be watched in the video, he recognises something solemn in the piece: “I had to think of a sermon.”

Last minute hit

Apart from Bligg and Marc Sway, Bligg’s long-term producer and co-composer, Fred Herrmann, contributed to writing “Us Mänsch”. In a written interview, Fred Herrmann described how the song was created:

““Us Mänsch” was a typical last minute hit! It was the very last song which we wrote and produced for the album “KombiNation”. Bligg said that he still had a cool idea for some lyrics with a play on words in relation to “Us Mänsch” which he was very keen to realise. Since we were already lagging behind the time schedule rather significantly, we worked simultaneously. While I worked on the composition and the production, Bligg was honing the lyrics into shape and recorded his vocals. He kept sending me new vocal tracks he had recorded which I either implemented straight away or questioned and asked for improvement. It was a real ping pong party! Somehow we had put the song together, but we found that the refrain needed to be recorded by a male singer with a raucous voice. We quickly thought of Marc Sway whom we both have known very well and for a very long time! Mister Sway came to the studio for two hours each and the refrain was ready! The beauty about composing is that every now and then, completely unpredictably, you manage to create a song where everything is just perfect.”

“Swiss Music Awards”: SUISA awards the songwriter of the “Best Hit”

“Us Mänsch” is one of the three songs that have been nominated for the “Best Hit” at the next “Swiss Music Awards” which will be awarded at the Culture and Congress Centre Lucerne (Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern KKL) on Saturday, 16 February 2019. SUISA is a “supporting partner” of the event. For the fourth time, the “Best Hit” award is also issued to composers and lyricists of the winning song on behalf of SUISA. The nominated songs are:

  • “079” by Lo & Leduc (songwriter: Lorenz Häberli, Maurice Könz, Luc Oggier)
  • «Adiós» by Loco Escrito (songwriter: Henrik Amschler, Sandro Dietrich, Nicolas Herzig, Jonathan Ruiz Mejia, Luigi Zarra)
  • «Us Mänsch» by Bligg feat. Marc Sway (songwriter: Marco Bliggensdorfer, Fred Herrmann, Marc Sway)

www.bligg.ch
www.marcsway.ch

Hans Feigenwinter comes from Basel. During his early years, he played in pop and indie rock bands. Lateron, he studied piano at the Swiss Jazz School in Berne and has since been active as a pianist and composer in various formations. In addition to solo concerts, he is currently performing in the trios Hans Feigenwinter ZINC and Feigenwinter Oester Pfammatter. He is a lecturer at the music universities in Basel and Lucerne. www.hansfeigenwinter.ch
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“Us Mänsch” by Bligg and Marc Sway was one of the most successful Swiss songs last year. This despite the fact that the song only made it to the Bligg album “KombiNation” last minute. Now, the song is nominated for the “Best Hit award at the “Swiss Music Awards” 2019. Musician and music university lecturer Hans Feigenwinter has analysed the composition of “Us Mänsch”. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Manu Leuenberger

Bligg and Marc Sway have already written some songs together. For the single “Us Mänsch” they took to the microphone together for the first time. Not without success: The single was awarded platinum status in 2018.

Why is the song so attractive for the audience? Hans Feigenwinter who lectures musicology at the music universities in Basel and Lucerne and is a...read more

Income from performing rights set to rise in 2019

SUISA’s December Board meetings usually focus on the figures for the coming year. Budgets, staffing plans and cost coverage deductions for business year 2019 were thus the central discussion point. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Report from the Board: Income from performing rights set to rise in 2019

Neuchâtel Reggae band Moonraisers, shown on the main stage of the Label Suisse Festival in Lausanne in September 2018; the event is co-supported by SUISA. Regarding the income from performing rights, including concerts, SUISA expects an increase during business year 2019. (Photo: Anne Bichsel / Label Suisse)

For the second time in SUISA’s history, the Board inspected the group budget of SUISA on top of its regular inspection of the budget of SUISA, the Cooperative Society and parent company. The latter comprises the numbers of the parent company, the 100% subsidiary company SUISA Digital Licensing (SUISA Digital) and the 50% share in the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services AG. The budgets of SUISA Digital and Mint are approved by the respective administrative boards of the two companies; the relevant numbers are then incorporated into the group accounts.

Increase in income thanks to performing rights

SUISA’s budget for 2019 provides for an increase of the income from the exploitation of copyright in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, especially due to the income from performing rights (more events, higher admission charges). The decline in mechanical/reproduction rights is set to continue. In the case of compensation claims, growth is expected; the same applies to online usage income. Foreign income has been calculated analogously to 2018, secondary income has been set higher.

For business year 2019, a total turnover of CHF 166.5m has been budgeted (2018: CHF 152m). Costs are expected to rise from CHF 29.5m in the previous year to CHF 32.5m. This is due to higher staff costs required for collections regarding Tariff CT 3a (background entertainment) and additional positions in the IT department.

Cost deductions, Articles of Association, Regulations

With respect to the cost deductions, the Board sets a percentage each year in relation to the distribution of the income that is to be deducted in the following year. For 2019, the percentages of the previous year will be retained in the offline sector. Cost deductions in the online business, however, are subject to change; the reason for this is the outsourcing of licensing and partially distribution activities to the subsidiary companies.

SUISA members had agreed to various changes to the Articles of Association at the General Assembly in June 2018. The revision of the Articles of Association also took place in the context of the alignment with the Liechtenstein Collecting Societies Act and the EU Directive on Collective Rights Management (CRM Directive). As a consequence, the division of powers and the organisational policies had to be adapted, and rules of procedure for the newly created Complaints Committee had to be drawn up. The Board has ratified all of these policies.

FONDATION SUISA and Revision of the Swiss Copyright Act

The SUISA Board Committee for Organisation and Communication and the responsible parties of the FONDATION SUISA have established an “annual dialogue” which takes place at the end of the year. This time, Marc Savary, President of the Foundation Board of the FONDATION SUISA reported on the amendments in the respective Statutes and regulations/policies. He also provided an overview on the activities of SUISA’s foundation for music promotion and answered questions of the Committee members.

Furthermore, the Board was concerned about the news that the National Council intends not to adhere to the compromise by the Working Group on Copyright (AGUR12) in its deliberations on the Copyright Revision and plans to provide for an exception regarding TV reception in guest rooms in the law. As a consequence, the new law would be worse than the previous one. The Board has instructed Management to undertake measures so that the Council of States corrects the decision of the National Council.

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SUISA’s December Board meetings usually focus on the figures for the coming year. Budgets, staffing plans and cost coverage deductions for business year 2019 were thus the central discussion point. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Report from the Board: Income from performing rights set to rise in 2019

Neuchâtel Reggae band Moonraisers, shown on the main stage of the Label Suisse Festival in Lausanne in September 2018; the event is co-supported by SUISA. Regarding the income from performing rights, including concerts, SUISA expects an increase during business year 2019. (Photo: Anne Bichsel / Label Suisse)

For the second time in SUISA’s history, the Board inspected the group budget of SUISA on top of its regular inspection of the budget of SUISA, the Cooperative Society and parent company. The latter comprises the numbers of the parent company, the 100% subsidiary company SUISA Digital Licensing (SUISA...read more

Michel Legrand, a life for music

Michel Legrand died on January 26th 2019. He was 86. The composer leaves behind a prestigious career spanning 60 years that earned him a worldwide reputation. The maestro with a fiery temperament conducted his life by the baton. Obituary by Bertrand Liechti, member of the Board of SUISA

Michel Legrand, a life for music

Michel Legrand, here on 17 May 2017, before the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival, had been a member of SUISA since 1998. (Photo: Regis Duvignau / Reuters)

Michel Legrand was born in 1932, in Menilmontant, a suburb of Paris, into a family of musicians: his father, Raymond Legrand, was a composer and conductor, his uncle was the conductor Jacques Hélian (Der Mikaëlian). He studied the piano, the trumpet and composition at the Conservatoire de Paris, in the class of Nadia Boulanger. He developed a passion for jazz and even recorded an album in New York (1958), alongside jazz greats like Chet Baker, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. At the time, the New Wave was definitively embarking upon its revival of French cinema. Michel Legrand worked with Jean Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Jean Paul Rappeneau …

In the 1960s, he met Jacques Demy, whom he was to collaborate with on 9 films, including “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg” (1964), which won the Palme d’or at Cannes, “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort” (1967) and “Peau d’Âne” in 1970. History will recall that the script, lyrics and score of the “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg” and of “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort” were conceived in the Valais resort of Verbier.

“A musical giant, a genius of a composer, jazzman and conductor!”

Michel Legrand then moved to Hollywood where he won three Oscars for the score of Norman Jewison’s “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1969) with the hit “The Windmills of Your Mind”. He repeated this feat in 1972 for Robert Mulligan’s “Summer of ‘42”, and in 1984 for Barbra Streisand’s “Yentl”. At the same time, he recorded with international stars such as Frank Sinatra, Charles Aznavour, Ella Fitzgerald, Claude Nougaro, and more recently, Nathalie Dessay.

In March 2018, I had the privilege of overseeing his composition for Orson Wells’ unpublished last film, “The Other Side of the Wind”, for Netflix. Anecdotally, in a notebook accompanying this unfinished drama, the heirs of the great American filmmaker discovered an inscription with instructions from beyond the grave: “Call Michel Legrand!”

After 20 years of collaboration with Michel Legrand, I will remember him as a musical giant – a genius of a composer, jazzman and conductor.

www.michellegrandofficial.com

Michel Legrand joined SUISA as a member in 1998. In 2002, at the Locarno Film Festival, the French composer was honoured for his life’s work by FONDATION SUISA, SUISA’s foundation for the promotion of music.
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Michel Legrand died on January 26th 2019. He was 86. The composer leaves behind a prestigious career spanning 60 years that earned him a worldwide reputation. The maestro with a fiery temperament conducted his life by the baton. Obituary by Bertrand Liechti, member of the Board of SUISA

Michel Legrand, a life for music

Michel Legrand, here on 17 May 2017, before the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival, had been a member of SUISA since 1998. (Photo: Regis Duvignau / Reuters)

Michel Legrand was born in 1932, in Menilmontant, a suburb of Paris, into a family of musicians: his father, Raymond Legrand, was a composer and conductor, his uncle was the conductor Jacques Hélian (Der Mikaëlian). He studied the piano, the trumpet and composition at the Conservatoire de Paris, in the class of Nadia Boulanger. He developed...read more

“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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Dual memberships: SUISA, and what else?Dual memberships: SUISA, and what else? SUISA manages the rights for its members globally. You should carefully review and consider the relevant effort and income if you wanted to become a member of several authors’ societies. If you live outside of Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein, you can also become a SUISA member. Last but not least, it is also possible to be a member of another collective management organisation in addition to your SUISA membership. The following FAQs are intended to summarise what you need to consider when contemplating a so-called dual membership. 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
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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.

Gender

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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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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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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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.

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