Author Archives: Giorgio Tebaldi

“The crisis feels a little like being in a rehab clinic to me”

During the corona crisis, via its project “Music for Tomorrow”, SUISA is providing a platform for some members to report on their work and the challenges they are facing during this period. This time round, the Valaisian musician and songwriter Tanya Barany tells us why she hopes that people in this crisis have focussed their awareness of things like care, appreciation, solidarity or reflection and exclusively performs her song “Cotton Clouds”. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; video by Tanya Barany, complemented by Nina Müller

“Dark like my British humour, but with a touch of fresh mountain air,” is how Tanya Barany describes her “Dark Pop”. Born and grown up in the Upper Valais, Tanja Zimmermann, that is what she is actually called, found her way to music at an early age: “I’ve been singing, dancing and performing all my life. The stages have simply become a bit bigger over time,” she says in a written interview. “What was once my bed has mutated into a Gampel Open Air stage.” Her musical career began with her first solo appearance with guitar at a children’s hit parade at the age of 11. At the age of 14 she founded the girl power trio Labyrinthzero, with which she released her first EP with her own compositions and played over 150 concerts at home and abroad.

Found a musical home

Decisive for her musical career was the encounter with Jonas Ruppen, who plays keyboard in her band and creates the videos: “He showed me the world of Radiohead, James Blake, etc. – and suddenly I had found my musical home!” The two have been playing music together for ten years now and work together on the overall concept of “Tanya Barany” – Tanya as songwriter and Jonas as video producer.

She began her musical education in 2014 by studying music at the Zurich University of the Arts, where she says that she was able to benefit from great teachers. “At the same time, I learned how to use the recording program LogicX, which took my songwriting in a completely different direction – my ‘Dark Pop’ saw the light of day!”

The debut album “Lights Disappear”

In 2019, Tanya Barany’s debut album “Lights Disappear” was released. Several performances on stages at home and abroad followed, e.g. Gampel Open Air, Zermatt Unplugged, Swiss Live Talents or at the Blue Balls Festival.

Besides her project Tanya Barany, she is a full-time studio singer and musician, songwriter, lyricist and vocal coach.

“Cotton Clouds”

For “Music for Tomorrow” Tanya Barany performed and recorded the song “Cotton Clouds”. She says the following about the work: “‘Cotton Clouds’ describes the feeling of immersion in water where suddenly everything around becomes silent; where suddenly another world appears. One the one hand, the water walls are depressing (almost oppressive), on the other hand they remind us of the security of an embrace. ‘Cotton Clouds’ is my unreleased hidden track. Like my songs on the album ‘Lights Disappear’, ‘Cotton Clouds’ grew out of the dark corner of my heart, but the track didn’t find a place on the album. I had composed ‘Cotton Clouds’ on the piano at that time; I prefer to play the piano alone for myself, without anyone listening to me. I chose ‘Cotton Clouds’ for ‘Music for Tomorrow’, because I want to invite the audience into my little lounge and take you on a little personal journey … :-)”

Tanya Barany, what does your working day as a composer/lyricist look like during the corona pandemic?
Tanya Barany: At the moment, I have more time to convert my song ideas into finished songs. Therefore, I try to generate as much output as possible – not only for me as Tanya Barany, but also as a ghostwriter for other artists. My partner, David Friedli – also a musician and composer – and I often write together. We move in all possible style directions – from folk to rock to pop to electro pop to soul etc. – it’s really fun!

What does this crisis mean for you personally?
The crisis feels a little like being in a rehab clinic to me. I don’t really want to be there – I miss performing live, cultural life and even planning ahead – who would have thought – and I can’t wait for normality to return.
On the other hand, this crisis also brings something valuable with it: Time! The world just seems to revolve a bit more slowly. Suddenly I am allowed to concentrate on things that are not necessarily on my having to do list but on the nice to do list – that feels incredibly good! This time has made “Reboot” possible, now I feel much more energetic and creative than before the crisis.

How can the audience support you at the moment?
My audience can best support me by telling all my friends and relatives about my music and telling them to buy the “Lights Disappear” CD! 🙂 Dark songs help through dark times … 🙂

Would it help if people on Spotify and Co. streamed your music more often?
When selecting live acts, the organisers look at the number of “listeners” on Spotify, YouTube etc. Therefore, it is surely an advantage if my music is streamed regularly on these platforms. It is also nice to see that my songs are even heard on the other side of the world! But to support me as an artist directly, I am always very grateful for purchased music on iTunes etc. or directly at concerts.

What do you think the current situation could bring with it?
I very much hope that people’s awareness will be sharpened somewhat – on all levels! A little more care, appreciation, solidarity, reflection – that would do us all good!

What do you want to give your fans to take away from this interview?
Dear fans, although it seems to be quieter around Tanya Barany at the moment, I’m working diligently in the background on a new concept, so that it will be even more cracking afterwards – so enjoy the calm before the storm! 🙂 I am already looking forward to presenting you new songs! Thanks for your support so far! Take care <3

www.tanyabarany.ch

“Music for Tomorrow”
The Covid-19 crisis has hit SUISA’s members particularly hard. The main source of income for many composers and publishers has completely been lost: Performances of any kind have been prohibited by the Federal Government until further notice. In the coming weeks, we will be posting portraits of some of our members on the SUISAblog. They will tell us what moves them during the Covid-19 crisis, what their challenges are and what their working day currently looks like. The musicians also performed and filmed their own composition for the SUISAblog at home or in their studio. SUISA pays the musicians a fee for this campaign.
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During the corona crisis, via its project “Music for Tomorrow”, SUISA is providing a platform for some members to report on their work and the challenges they are facing during this period. This time round, the Valaisian musician and songwriter Tanya Barany tells us why she hopes that people in this crisis have focussed their awareness of things like care, appreciation, solidarity or reflection and exclusively performs her song “Cotton Clouds”. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; video by Tanya Barany, complemented by Nina Müller

“Dark like my British humour, but with a touch of fresh mountain air,” is how Tanya Barany describes her “Dark Pop”. Born and grown up in the Upper Valais, Tanja Zimmermann, that is what she is actually called, found her way to music at an early age: “I’ve been...read more

Night of Light: SUISA is committed to the event and culture industries

On Monday, 22 June 2020, from 10 pm to midnight, buildings throughout Switzerland were bathed in red light. The occasion was the “Night of Light”. The aim of this action was to draw the attention of the general public to the fact that many organisers and cultural operators are in a precarious situation due to the Corona crisis. SUISA also took part in this campaign and had its headquarters in Zurich illuminated in red. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Nina Müller

On Monday evening, more than 900 buildings throughout Switzerland were lit up red. From 10 p.m. to midnight, companies and organisations joined forces in the “Night of Light” campaign to set an example for the event and culture industry, which has been particularly hard hit by the corona crisis.

As a cooperative society of composers, lyricists and music publishers, SUISA also took part in the “Night of Light” and bathed its headquarters in Zurich Wollishofen in red light for two hours. Pictures of this campaign can be seen in the video. SUISA is thus committed to serving the interests of its members, the authors and publishers of music in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, as well as its clients in the event and cultural industries.

The aim of the campaign was to make the public and politicians aware of the precarious situation of the event and culture industries caused by the corona crisis. The coordinators, associations from the event and culture industries, want to discuss with political leaders in the context of a sector dialogue how the multi-billion-dollar, heterogeneous event and culture industry can be saved from a massive wave of insolvencies and how thousands of jobs throughout Switzerland can be preserved.

“The events industry was the first sector of the economy to be hit by the Covid 19 crisis and it is very likely that it will also be affected the longest and most profoundly by its effects,” write the organisers of the Swiss “Night of Light”. From 16 March 2020 onwards, the working basis of an entire commercial sector has been made massively more difficult, and concerts, festivals, theatre performances, business events were until recently completely impossible, and even now are only possible with difficulty.

Even though the Federal Council announced further relaxation measures on 19 June 2020 and now allows events for up to 1,000 people, subject to compliance with appropriate safety and hygiene concepts, the situation in the event and culture industries remains extremely difficult. Firstly, events such as tours often require a planning period of several months and therefore cannot be repeated from one day to the next. Secondly, many events can hardly be carried out economically even with the new relaxation measures, as the organisers still have to comply with strict regulations.

In addition, the entitlement to short-time work for persons in a similar position to employers expired at the end of May and the conditions for support payments were tightened. This particularly affects SMEs and freelancers from the event industry and the circle of cultural workers, as these professional areas are largely made up of small owner-managed companies and self-employed persons. The event industry and creators and artists are therefore urgently dependent on the support being continued until normal operations are possible again.

SUISA supports the demands of cultural associations to continue their support measures for organisers and creators and artist. Otherwise there is a risk that many of these self-employed people, small and micro-enterprises will have to file for bankruptcy and disappear from the Swiss cultural landscape. Ultimately, thousands of jobs are at stake in an industry with an annual turnover of 70 billion Swiss francs.

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On Monday, 22 June 2020, from 10 pm to midnight, buildings throughout Switzerland were bathed in red light. The occasion was the “Night of Light”. The aim of this action was to draw the attention of the general public to the fact that many organisers and cultural operators are in a precarious situation due to the Corona crisis. SUISA also took part in this campaign and had its headquarters in Zurich illuminated in red. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Nina Müller

On Monday evening, more than 900 buildings throughout Switzerland were lit up red. From 10 p.m. to midnight, companies and organisations joined forces in the “Night of Light” campaign to set an example for the event and culture industry, which has been particularly hard hit by the corona crisis.

As a...read more

Helvetiarockt: SUISA supports the voice of female musicians in Switzerland | plus video

Women are still underrepresented in music, on stage and as producers. For this reason, the association Helvetiarockt has been standing up for women in Pop, Jazz and Rock in Switzerland. Since 2019, SUISA is a partner to and supports Helvetiarockt and participated in the “Female* Songwriting Camp” at the Fri-Son, Fribourg, last August. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Sibylle Roth

The share of female SUISA members is a little more than 15 percent today. Even though there is a slightly rising tendency – the share of women among new members was at 20 respectively 21 percent – compared to the population share of women which is more than 50 percent, women are still underrepresented in the Swiss music business. That is actually surprising because there is no reason why professions in the music sector should just be a man’s thing.

In order to counteract this imbalance and to ensure that the female musicians are heard, the association Helvetiarockt was founded in 2009. Helvetiarockt has been supporting female musicians for ten years to set foot into the music business and to network successfully. To that end, the association organises a wide range of workshops for (future) female artists, producers and composers. It also offers networking opportunities for female musicians and provides important educational work in order to promote the equality in the music business. Helvetiarockt raises awareness among event organisers and therefore places female artists, female DJs and bands to festivals, clubs and corporate events.

SUISA, a partner of Helvetiarockt

SUISA has been a partner of Helvetiarockt since 2019 and supports the association within the scope of a sponsoring commitment in terms of finance and visibility. As a Cooperative Society for female composers, lyricists and publishers of music, the focus of this cooperation for SUISA lies especially with the “Female* Songwriting Camps”. This year, Helvetiarockt and SUISA also cooperate at the Cully Jazz Festival (27 March to 4 April 2020).

Helvetiarockt has been organising the “Female* Songwriting Camps” since 2015; in the meantime, they take place twice a year, in August, at the Kulturzentrum Galvanik in Zug and in the Fri-Son in Fribourg. During the five-day camps, experienced female songwriters support female participants in group workshops, individual coaching sessions and for the self-study of composing, writing lyrics and arranging. What is more important than finished songs being the outcome at the end is that the female participants can extend their songwriting abilities and build up a network with other female musicians.

Up to now, 42 female musicians visited the “Female* Songwriting Camps” of Helvetiarockt, many of whom, such as Kimbo, Sasa or Anna Mae are now very active. “We were able to ‘empower’ a few female songwriters, and that is a beautiful thing”, says Muriel Rhyner, who is in charge for projects such as the “Female* Songwriting Camps” and the “Female* Producing Circles” at Helvetiarockt. It was her, who called the Songwriting Camps to life five years ago and has been running them since – together with Élodie Romain aka Billie Bird since 2019.

SUISA was present at the “Female* Songwriting Camp” in the Fri-Son and accompanied the coaches as well as the eight participants during the two days. The Songwriting Camp was well received among the female musicians. “At the juncture I was at, it was really important to me that I could meet other people who do the same as me, and that there were professionals who could provide advice or take a look at what I was doing at that time”, says Ines Martenet. Another participant, Emelyne Pannatier, came to the camp with specific questions surrounding the recording process of songs since “she mainly had problems with the structure of a few songs”.

Two “Female* Songwriting Camps” planned in August 2020

Helvetiarockt has also scheduled two “Female* Songwriting Camps” for 2020: from 3 to 7 August in the Kulturzentrum Galvanik in Zug and from 17 to 21 August in the Fri-Son in Fribourg. You can register via the Helvetiarockt website: www.helvetiarockt.ch/songwritingcamp

Just as Ines Martenet said in the video: “You just have to come by!”

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Women are still underrepresented in music, on stage and as producers. For this reason, the association Helvetiarockt has been standing up for women in Pop, Jazz and Rock in Switzerland. Since 2019, SUISA is a partner to and supports Helvetiarockt and participated in the “Female* Songwriting Camp” at the Fri-Son, Fribourg, last August. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Sibylle Roth

The share of female SUISA members is a little more than 15 percent today. Even though there is a slightly rising tendency – the share of women among new members was at 20 respectively 21 percent – compared to the population share of women which is more than 50 percent, women are still underrepresented in the Swiss music business. That is actually surprising because there is no reason why professions in...read more

Swiss Music Awards: Songwriters are awarded with the “Best Hit” award

This year, the Swiss Music Awards will honour the Swiss “Best Hit” of the previous year once again. But the award does not only go to the performers of the best hit: Thanks to SUISA, the songwriters of the winning song will also be honoured for the fifth time. Performing artists and songwriters talked about the development of the songs in interviews. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

Swiss Music Awards: Songwriters are awarded with the “Best Hit” award

The nominees in the category “Best Hit” at the Swiss Music Awards: “Punto” by Loco Escrito, “She Got Me” by Luca Hänni and “Für immer uf Di” by Patent Ochsner. On behalf of SUISA, the composers are also honoured. (Photos: Nina Müller)

“She Got Me” by Luca Hänni, “Punto” by Loco Escrito and “Für immer uf Di” by Patent Ochsner were the most successful songs in the Swiss charts last year and are thus nominated for the Swiss Music Awards 2020 in the category “Best Hit”. However, there are no hits without songwriters: On behalf of SUISA, the composers of the “Best Hit” will also be honoured at the award show on 28 February 2020 in Lucerne’s KKL.

This award is intended to show and acknowledge the work of the songwriters behind the big hits, too. For Luca Hänni this is an important matter, as he points out in the video interview: “I think it is mega important that the songwriters are on board, too. That’s the be-all and end-all. With these people you have the feeling in the studio, you write stuff and bring the emotions into the computer.”

Three songs, nine songwriters

Besides Luca Hänni, five other songwriters have been nominated for the “Best Hit” award for “She Got Me”: The song was composed in just one day at the SUISA Songwriting Camp 2018 by Luca Hänni, Laurell Barker (CAN), Jon Hällgren (SWE) and Frazer Mac (CAN). Until its finished version, which achieved an excellent fourth place for Switzerland at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest, the song was further refined together with Lukas Hällgren (SWE) and Jenson Vaughn (CAN).

Büne Huber, singer of Patent Ochsner, is also pleased that songwriting is honoured at the “Best Hit” award: “In many cases in music history, the people who provide important inputs to songs are not mentioned at all”, says Huber in the video interview. The only one of the three nominated songs “Für immer uf Di” was written by a single person: Büne Huber himself. The first song sketch was already drafted in 1994; only after the death of his mother, 24 years later, did he finish the song in a very short time.

Not only Loco Escrito can hope for a concrete block for “Punto”; the co-songwriter and producer Henrik Amschler is also in with hopes. The two have been writing the songs of Loco Escrito together for years and were already honoured with the “Best Hit” award in 2019 for the song “Adiòs”. Henrik Amschler is delighted that they could win the award again this year: “It is a huge acknowledgement that we have been nominated for the second time”, he says in an interview with SUISA. The song, which is about the end of a relationship, was created in a spontaneous session between Amschler and Loco Escrito – which is typical for the well-rehearsed team.

The winning song is chosen by the audience via telephone voting during the show.

  • “She Got Me”: Luca Hänni
    Songwriters: Laurell Barker, Luca Hänni, Jon Hällgren, Lukas Hällgren, Frazer Mac, Jenson Vaughn
  • “Punto”: Loco Escrito
    Songwriters: Henrik Amschler, Loco Escrito
  • “Für immer uf Di”: Patent Ochsner
    Songwriter: Büne Huber

Video interviews with nominees

During the interviews, Loco Escrito, Henrik Amschler, Büne Huber and Luca Hänni told us how their hits came about and what stories lie behind the songs. Videos of the interviews can be viewed on the SUISA Music Stories channel on Youtube:

Büne Huber from Patent Ochsner talks about the song “Für immer uf di”
Loco Escrito and Henrik Amschler in an interview about “Punto”
Luca Hänni talks about “She Got Me”

www.swissmusicawards.ch

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This year, the Swiss Music Awards will honour the Swiss “Best Hit” of the previous year once again. But the award does not only go to the performers of the best hit: Thanks to SUISA, the songwriters of the winning song will also be honoured for the fifth time. Performing artists and songwriters talked about the development of the songs in interviews. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

Swiss Music Awards: Songwriters are awarded with the “Best Hit” award

The nominees in the category “Best Hit” at the Swiss Music Awards: “Punto” by Loco Escrito, “She Got Me” by Luca Hänni and “Für immer uf Di” by Patent Ochsner. On behalf of SUISA, the composers are also honoured. (Photos: Nina Müller)

“She Got Me” by Luca Hänni, “Punto” by Loco Escrito and “Für immer uf Di” by Patent Ochsner were the most successful songs in the...read more

Reto Parolari: The passionate and blazing flame shines no more

On Sunday 15 December 2019, Reto Parolari, composer, conductor, arranger and multi-instrumentalist from Winterthur passed away, completely unexpectedly, aged 67. Reto Parolari had been a Board member of SUISA since 2007. Before then, he had been participating in the Distribution and Works Committee which he had been presiding over from 1997 onwards. Obituary by Xavier Dayer, SUISA President, and Urs Schnell, Director of FONDATION SUISA

Reto Parolari shown in a picture at the SUISA General Meeting in 2014 in Berne. (Photo: Juerg Isler, isler-fotografie.ch)

A few days ago, the very sad news of Reto Parolari’s passing away reached us; SUISA‘s Board is in shock. Until a week ago, Reto had been chairing the “Tariffs and Distribution” Committee and took part in our Board meetings with the immense human generosity which was so characteristic for him. Nobody could have even imagined that he would leave us so suddenly. I remember our intensive and cordial discussions at the Board dinner.

I would like to highlight his valuable input into the SUISA Board with a few lines: As a composer and a musician he contributed with an important view. He was always constructive and an indispensable partner.

We had known each other since 2007 when he joined our Board as Chairman of the Distribution and Works Committee. He is thus an important person in the life of the Board that left us on Sunday – irreplaceable, and we regret his passing very much.

In order to visualise his music and his artistic development, it seems best to let Urs Schnell, Director of our foundation, to say a few words. It was only recently that he held an outstanding laudatio on the occasion of the Culture Award of the city of Winterthur on 3 December. The speech of Urs Schnell, which we are going to reproduce in the following will have a particularly moving dimension to it.

In the name of the SUISA Board I would like to express our deepest condolences to the family of Reto Parolari in this rather sorrowful time.

Xavier Dayer

Laudatio on the occasion of the Culture Award to Reto Parolari in the Winterthur Theatre on 3 December 2019

Dear Reto

For me, tonight, a circle is complete: it was on the stage of this very house that I had my first encounter with you, Reto – that’s going back to 1990 or thereabouts. As a student for a teaching diploma at the then music conservatory here in Winterthur, I had to join in singing at the annual Konsi [conservatory] choir concert. A joint concert with your orchestra was scheduled. The programme read: “Sophisticated entertainment music”

This starting point was, maybe you can try to imagine this, ladies and gentlemen – well, not quite simple. For the music students which had been conditioned towards the sublime classical music, it was initially completely far-fetched having to even deal with such kind of repertoire. The project met with a lot of scepticism. “Entertainment music”…. Possibly even with a ternary swing element…. Excerpts from “My Fair Lady” and such like… Well, the then choir conductor and Konsi director, Fritz Näff, whom I hold in high regard, was facing a real challenge.

But, the closer the concert was, the clearer it became: Entertainment music is not, per se, “light” or “casual” music which you could be casual about. There are some tough musical nuts that need cracking.

At the end of the day it was you, Reto, who managed to make the whole thing take off: Thanks to your enthusiasm, your zeal, your humour – and yes, a natural authority which only artists hold in themselves, when they are well above anything material, a jolt went through all of the students gathered there. Resistance melted away, and people made music together.

Something I had the privilege of taking home with me as a life wisdom from you that evening: In order to really captivate your audience you need respect vis-à-vis your co-musicians, the profound knowledge of what you actually do, a deep reverence for music, but above all your own enthusiasm, a passionate, blazing fire – the feu sacrée.

With this small step back in history, I would like to welcome you to this Culture Award ceremony for Reto Parolari.

It is a huge honour and joy that I may speak to you today. And I thank you, Reto, that you asked for me to do so….

You, the Parolari family, are probably the one family in Winterthur with the most comprehensive Culture Award collection. Your father, the oboist Egon Parolari, had already received the award exactly 30 years ago – which also is a sign of the continuity of the culture policy of Winterthur.

Since you were a kid, you were active in Winterthur. You once said: “I have literally grown up on the stage floor of the town hall. My father took me along to rehearsals and concerts that often.”

At the age of 24, you completed your studies as a qualified musician with the main subject drums, further studies followed in Hanover, Stuttgart and Vienna.

Voilà – and from now on, ladies and gentlemen, it will be difficult, because the biggest challenge, if you wish to approach Reto’s works and their impact, is simply the unbelievable diversity of his creations.

It is not an easy task for the poor person holding the laudatio, to summarise your curriculum, Reto: it is characterised by concurrent and contrary, complementing and parallel events. But and that makes the task a bit simpler for the not quite so poor person holding the laudatio: it is all held together by a fiery passion for music, the feu sacrée – and it is exactly because of the rough edges that it is a curriculum which is logical per se.

You are an artist – but also a shrewd entrepreneur. You are a composer and an arranger, you are author and editor of specialist literature, conductor and instrumentalist.

Multi-instrumentalist: Marimba, continental typewriter, drums, piano and you are even a virtuoso of car horns. Your main instrument, however, is you. Your authenticity, your belief in your mission, your warmth and humour, your stubborness and unconditionality, in other words, your feu sacrée.

It is impossible to talk about you without implying “sophisticated entertainment music”.

But, hold on a minute… what is that?? What distinguishes a Parolari from other musicians, what is, in marketing speak: Your unique selling point?

Let me quote Cédric Dumont, the founder of the Radio Orchestra of Radio Beromünster and the Director of the radio studio Zurich: “The original sin in music happened when people began to distinguish between E and U, between serious and entertainment music…. But even for U you need stamina, craftsmanship and enthusiasm.” Voilà, the feu sacrée.

You are burning for a music genre which clearly has not got an “easy life”. A genre which, if it is even perceived as such, often only attracts a smug smile…

But where does it come from, that representatives from the so-called “serious” category turn up their noses?

The demands are high, probably higher than some others, presumed serious music genres: In order to reach the full effect of entertainment music, the score must be transposed exactly, the music MUST be taken seriously, but – careful: Contradiction here – it always has to be played with a wink.

But – by implication: May I not feel “entertained” by a Beethoven symphony, a Bach concert? And if I was to feel “entertained” after all: does this mean somebody made a mistake??

I leave this for you to ponder…

Your art is closely connected with the history of Swiss radio. Until the seventies, each radio station had its own contractual orchestra, which accompanied the spoken broadcasts live with specially composed repertoire. In order to create the desired mood effects with the listener, music had to be composed in various, colourful and pictorial ways, and be implemented perfectly in terms of the skills applied. What makes me put forward this thesis is: sophisticated entertainment music is film music – a film music which needs to create its own images – and that is musical storytelling at its best.

With the massive distortions of the media landscape at the beginning of the seventies, the marriage of the radio orchestras was over – one ensemble after the other was dissolved – the repertoire was no longer requested, musicians with the highest qualifications were laid off, the music archives were under threat to end up in the waste paper collection….

That is when Reto was at the right place at the right time:

You literally saved the music scores of the radio studio Basel, the Bayerische Rundfunk and later those of the radio orchestra Beromünster from the shredder.

And that is how your biggest achievement, in material terms, is growing more or less in secret, nearly literally beneath our feet….

In a huge air raid bunker in the middle of Winterthur, you have become the guardian of a huge music score collection of more than 110,000 titles.

This biggest music archive in Europe is not just a mausoleum of creative moments, no, you mediate access for numerous international orchestras which use the music actively.

Your merit for a continuation of sound and paper of this musically historic unique legacy, the keeping alive of cultural goods cannot be commended highly enough. I would like to thank the city of Winterthur at this point that it acknowledges this unique commitment and also pays the respect it has deserved to this kind of music with its award.

And of course it is not possible to talk about you without mentioning your own orchestras.

The first orchestra you founded was during your studies at this music conservatory.

The “ORP” was created with a symphonic line-up, which has been exclusively made up of 40 professional musicians since 1990. Such an orchestra – something I have to mention as an aside – is actually an entrepreneurial nonsense. It can never break even – but still: You never had to report it to the bankruptcy office.

You conducted more than 40 orchestras from all over the world, among which there were exotic ones such as the State Hermitage Orchestra St Petersburg (Russia), the Airport Orchestra Zurich (Switzerland) or the Philharmonic Orchestra Pyongyang (North Korea).

You never applied for any of these engagements – you were always contacted by them.

The same applies – for the world of circus: at the tender age of 28, you were offered the conductor’s position at Circus Nock, shortly after the same position at the Circus Knie. For your creative engagement at the Carré Theatre in Amsterdam, the Queen of the Netherlands even awarded you the title “Royal Bandmaster”. And, you also found yourself shoulder to shoulder with aristocrats and other crown-wearing royalty as Head Conductor of Music at the International Circus Festival in Monaco.

It was only at home where there was less glamour for you: with your own international festival of sophisticated entertainment music, you may well have launched a unique music event with international reach – but the public at home did not take quite as much notice of it…

I would also need to mention your work as a composer and arranger, spanning more than 800 works, in more detail, and you also deserve to be honoured as the author of expert articles and several specialist books – but, alas, time flies…

Something is, however, important to me: You are not only standing up for yourself, Reto: as a Board member of the collective management organisation SUISA, or as an active member of the local Rotary Club Winterthur -Mörsburg, you are also committed to the service for people around you.

As mentioned at the outset: a curriculum with rough edges – because all of the facets of your activities, whether as a musician, conductor, orchestra leader, entrepreneur, event organiser, publisher, archivist, composer, they complement, require and need each other and result in the overall picture of someone who creates art and culture. – a logical curriculum, a curriculum that follows through.

It was only recently that I was allowed to perform once more under your direction: if only in one musical piece, but this time as a trained flautist. And within seconds, it was there again: that feeling that you can convey so well: the respectful “this will be good, trust me”. Easy going when it comes to your appearance, but serious when it comes to the matter at hand. And indeed: You counted the intro, the big band started to swing, my part…. Your feu sacrée was blazing and all was superb – and yes all went well!

Merci, Reto, for all of that!!

Urs Schnell

The memorial service will take place on Monday, 30 December 2019, at 3 pm in the Stadtkirche in Winterthur.

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  1. Samuel Zünd says:

    Bitte veranlassen Sie unbedingt die Sicherung Reto Parolaris einzigartiger Notenbibliothek als ein Ganzes der Nachwelt! Sie ist ein einzigartiger Schatz und gehört der Öffentlichkeit für alle Zeiten zugänglich gemacht. Auf dass die von Reto geretteten Werke nicht noch einmal vorm Schreddern bedroht werden!
    Herzlich Samuel Zünd

  2. Markus Niffenegger says:

    Lieber Reto
    Die Nachricht von deinem unerwarteten Abschied vom irdischen Leben hat mich zu tiefst schockiert, denn du warst mir stets ein guter Freund und ein grosses Vorbild. Die Zeit, in welcher ich vor über 40 Jahren als junger Amateurtrompeter in deinem Orchester mitmusizieren durfte, ist mir bis heute als meine beste musikalische Erfahrung in guter Erinnerung geblieben. Mit dir haben wir einen grossen Musiker und überaus edlen Menschen verloren.
    Vielen Dank für alles, ruhe in Frieden!
    Markus

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On Sunday 15 December 2019, Reto Parolari, composer, conductor, arranger and multi-instrumentalist from Winterthur passed away, completely unexpectedly, aged 67. Reto Parolari had been a Board member of SUISA since 2007. Before then, he had been participating in the Distribution and Works Committee which he had been presiding over from 1997 onwards. Obituary by Xavier Dayer, SUISA President, and Urs Schnell, Director of FONDATION SUISA

Reto Parolari shown in a picture at the SUISA General Meeting in 2014 in Berne. (Photo: Juerg Isler, isler-fotografie.ch)

A few days ago, the very sad news of Reto Parolari’s passing away reached us; SUISA‘s Board is in shock. Until a week ago, Reto had been chairing the “Tariffs and Distribution” Committee and took part in our Board meetings with the immense human generosity which was so characteristic...read more

How SUISA distributes fees collected for background entertainment

More than 100,000 companies in Switzerland use music, TV and films for background entertainment purposes. For these usages, the companies pay a fee based on Common Tariff 3a to authors, publishers, performers or producers. How and to whom are these revenues paid? Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

How SUISA distributes fees collected for background entertainment

Considered by many to be part of the pub atmosphere just like teak furniture or dartboards: premier league games on the telly. Producers of the broadcasts have the right to receive a remuneration for usages outside domestic and private circles or home life. (Photo: Nomad_Soul / Shutterstock.com)

Just like lighting or decoration, suitable background music is an important contributing factor to make customers and guests feel good in a shop, hairdresser or restaurant. Plus, live transmissions of a football or cricket match are equally part of the interior décor of a pub, just like dark furniture, wooden shields and the dartboard.

Similar to the obligation to pay makers of the furniture, the decoration or the lighting, composers, lyricists, performers, scriptwriters or producers are entitled by law to receive a remuneration for the use of their works and performances outside the private circle. The five Swiss collective management organisations Pro Litteris, SSA, SUISA, Suissimage and Swissperform are responsible for this task. SUISA collects the remuneration for the use of music, films and TV broadcasts pursuant to the Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a) on their behalves.

What does SUISA do with the collected money from background entertainment?

The first step is that the collected money is split among the five Swiss collective management organisations based on a fixed distribution key. The SUISA share for the coverage of music contents is slightly more than half of the income. Each society is then responsible in a second step to pay out these collected fees to authors and artists, publishers and producers.

In the case of SUISA, 88% of the above-mentioned fifty percent is distributed to the rightsholders. This means that of the CHF 100 that were collected, CHF 88 are paid out to creators and their publishers.

How and to whom are these revenues paid? SUISA usually knows three different possibilities of distribution: direct distribution, blanket distribution with programme material and blanket distribution without programme material (see box). Programme material consists of lists with the works which were performed or broadcast.

In the case of the CT 3a, the money is nearly exclusively paid by way of a lump-sum without programme material. Submitting and processing the work lists in this category would be linked to an enormous effort for customers and SUISA alike, and they would be in no proportion to the actual benefit. Instead, SUISA uses the programme material already available from various sources to allocate the collections made on the basis of the CT 3a. SUISA ensures during this process that lists and/or usages are considered for this allocation, enabling that the remuneration is distributed as fairly as possible.

A distribution which is as fair as possible – even without a list of the performed works

Based on empirical data there are cases where it is assumed that a major part of the companies, shops, restaurants etc. uses works which are also broadcast on the radio, resp. TV. Accordingly, a major part of the income from CT 3a is allocated on the basis of the programme material for the use of music, TV broadcasts and films from radio and TV transmissions. SUISA also takes into account that not just pop, rock or urban is played but also other genres such as traditional or folk music and even church music. A part of the collections is thus also distributed on the basis of programme lists for church performances, brass music or yodelling clubs.

In order to distribute the money to the creators and artists, it is thus allocated to other similar distribution categories for performing and broadcasting rights (see distribution rules, Art. 5.5.2).
Should a member receive a payment from one of these distribution categories, it also receives a share from the income for background music entertainment from CT 3a.

In some exceptional cases in background entertainment, there is a direct accounting process for the distribution of collected fees. This happens, for example, for music which is used in a museum for an exhibition, or music which is used in a company’s phone loop for a longer period. In such cases, the music in question is usually commissioned.

SUISA distributes four times a year. In 2018, more than CHF 132m were paid out to composers, lyricists and publishers of music.

Types of distribution and distribution categories

SUISA distributes the collections from authors’ rights in three different ways:

  1. In a direct accounting scenario, copyright remuneration can be allocated directly across the available lists of works that have been performed. This is also possible for concerts, for example: If songs of five co-authors are performed during a concert, these five rightsholders receive the fees collected for this concert.
  2. In the case of a blanket distribution with programme material, copyright remuneration is calculated on the basis of a point value. For SRG broadcasts, for example, SUISA receives a lump-sum payment on the one hand and detailed broadcast reports on the other hand. The broadcast reports include details on how many seconds of music have been transmitted in total, plus the exact duration of each work. A point value per second is determined based on these details and the remuneration is paid to authors and publishers of the played works.
  3. A blanket distribution without programme material takes place when it comes to collections based on tariffs where there is no information provided on the works that have actually been used, or if that information cannot be established. The distribution of such income is made on the basis of available programme material from several sources. The exact allocation of the money is specified in the SUISA distribution rules in detail.

The collected revenue is distributed on the basis of distribution categories. The latter correspond to various usages, e.g. music in concerts, on radio and TV channels of the SRG, or private broadcasters, in churches etc.

Details can be found in the SUISA distribution rules.

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More than 100,000 companies in Switzerland use music, TV and films for background entertainment purposes. For these usages, the companies pay a fee based on Common Tariff 3a to authors, publishers, performers or producers. How and to whom are these revenues paid? Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

How SUISA distributes fees collected for background entertainment

Considered by many to be part of the pub atmosphere just like teak furniture or dartboards: premier league games on the telly. Producers of the broadcasts have the right to receive a remuneration for usages outside domestic and private circles or home life. (Photo: Nomad_Soul / Shutterstock.com)

Just like lighting or decoration, suitable background music is an important contributing factor to make customers and guests feel good in a shop, hairdresser or restaurant. Plus, live transmissions of a football or cricket match are equally part of the...read more

A look back at the SUISA General Meeting 2019

Around 150 voting SUISA members attended the annual General Meeting on 21 June 2019 at the Kongresszentrum in Biel to help determine the direction of their cooperative. Among their decisions was the election of Sylvie Reinhard and Grégoire Liechti to the Board of Directors. SUISA members also passed a resolution for fair conditions for music creators in connection with the revision to the copyright law. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

A look back at the SUISA General Meeting 2019

SUISA members during voting for the Board of Directors for the period 2019-2023 at SUISA’s 2019 General Meeting, 21 June 2019, in the Concert Hall of the Kongresszentrum, Biel. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

‘Spherical, but more angular than trip hop, more emotionally charged than pop music and as organic as folk’ – that’s how SUISA Vice President Marco Zanotta described Zurich musician Annakin, who opened SUISA’s General Meeting. Together with guitarist Simon Rupp, Philipp Kuhn on keyboards and beatboxer Marzel (alias Marcel Zysset), Annakin – otherwise known as Ann Kathrin Lüthi – played songs from her latest album The End of Eternity, as well as ‘Sting Of Love’ from her 2014 album Stand Your Ground.

While the stage was being rearranged after the brief concert, the assembled SUISA members, guests and SUISA employees were able to watch a video that explained how ‘She Got Me’, the Swiss entry to the Eurovision Song Contest sung by Luca Hänni, came about. The song was written in June 2018 at the SUISA Songwriting Camp by SUISA member Luca Hänni with Canadian songwriters Laurell Barker and Frazer Mac and Swedish producer Jon Hällgren. ‘She Got Me’ reached an outstanding fourth place at the Eurovision grand final, has been streamed more than 30 million times and topped the Swiss single charts.

More women in music

In his welcoming address, SUISA President Xavier Dayer took the occasion of the Swiss women’s strike, which had taken place a week before, as impetus to discuss the proportion of women in music. Women currently represent 16% of SUISA members – leaving plenty of room for improvement. This is one of the reasons that SUISA entered into a partnership with Helvetiarockt in 2019, and invited the coordination and networking centre for jazz, pop and rock musicians to bring an information stand to the general meeting.

Members then approved the Annual Report and Management Report. Also approved were SUISA’s first-ever consolidated accounts, reflecting contributions from the two subsidiaries SUISA Digital Licensing AG and Mint Digital Services in 2018. The general meeting also discharged the Board of Directors, the management team and statutory auditor, and confirmed the mandate for the auditor BDO for 2019.

Sylvie Reinhard and Grégoire Liechti elected to the SUISA Board of Directors

For long-serving Board members Bertrand Liechti and Marco Zanotta, this was their last General Meeting – they are retiring from the SUISA Board after 20 years due to the term limit. In their place, SUISA members elected Sylvie Reinhard, an entrepreneur and Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the digital magazine ‘Republic’, and Geneva-based music publisher Grégoire Liechti to the Board of Directors. The other 12 Board members, along with the members of the Distribution and Works Committee, were confirmed in office with no objections. At the recommendation of the SUISA Board, the general meeting also elected Marco Zanotta to the ComplaintsCommittee, which was established in 2018.

With the revision in 2018 of SUISA’s Articles of Association and the associated extended responsibilities of the General Meeting, the assembled members voted for the first time on compensation regulations for members of the Board and its committees, and on SUISA’s general investment policy.

Resolution calling for fair copyright legislation

Guest speaker Géraldine Savary, federal councillor and member of the SUISA Board, talked about the ongoing revision of Switzerland’s copyright legislation. In particular, she touched on two points that are critical for music creators. First – if the National Council has its way – hoteliers, owners of holiday homes, hospitals and prisons would not be required to pay copyright fees if their guests, patients or inmates listen to music or watch films on the radio/television devices provided. Second, the new copyright law stipulates a compensation regulation for video on demand (VoD) services that would work in favour of film-makers but would be counter-productive for music creators, as they have already negotiated contractual solutions with the VoD platforms. Accordingly, the use of music must be excluded from this new VoD regulation. The General Meeting passed a resolution in order to draw National Council attention to the importance of these two points in its forthcoming autumn session.

This was followed by updates on the current financial year from Vincent Salvadé, Irène Philipp Ziebold and Andreas Wegelin. Urs Schnell, Director of FONDATION SUISA, then reported on how SUISA’s music promotion foundation had performed in the financial year.

At about 2 pm, Xavier Dayer brought the General Meeting to a close and gave notice of the next General Meeting, which will take place on Friday, 26 June 2020 at the Bierhübeli in Bern.

Afterwards, participants enjoyed a light lunch in the foyer of the Kongresszentrum, an opportunity for SUISA employees, guests and colleagues to talk, sign resolutions, find out about Helvetiarockt projects at the organisation’s stand or even initiate new projects.

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Around 150 voting SUISA members attended the annual General Meeting on 21 June 2019 at the Kongresszentrum in Biel to help determine the direction of their cooperative. Among their decisions was the election of Sylvie Reinhard and Grégoire Liechti to the Board of Directors. SUISA members also passed a resolution for fair conditions for music creators in connection with the revision to the copyright law. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

A look back at the SUISA General Meeting 2019

SUISA members during voting for the Board of Directors for the period 2019-2023 at SUISA’s 2019 General Meeting, 21 June 2019, in the Concert Hall of the Kongresszentrum, Biel. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

‘Spherical, but more angular than trip hop, more emotionally charged than pop music and as organic as folk’ – that’s how SUISA Vice President Marco Zanotta described Zurich musician Annakin, who opened...read more

Copyright Act Review: Authors and publishers must benefit more from the online exploitation of their works

Last week, the Federal Council has adopted a dispatch on the new Copyright Act. SUISA is in principle content with the current version of the law. The solutions achieved in the working group for the Copyright Act (AGUR12 II) were implemented. In order for authors, performers, publishers and producers to benefit better from the digitisation, it is necessary to adopt important additions. The “Transfer of Value”, for example, is extremely disappointing for creators and artists: Internet giants’ platforms continue to be the ones that cash in on the online exploitation of music and films. Creators and artists – and thus the suppliers of the content – are almost left empty-handed. Text by Andreas Wegelin, CEO

The Copyright Act urgently requires provisions for the online exploitation of works protected by copyright. The value creation nowadays completely passes by creators and artists – and thus the producers of the content. It is especially the powerful internet industry that benefits strongly thanks to the revenue from advertising and usage data. (Image: yaichatchai / Shutterstock.com)

Many creators and artists, users’ associations and other target groups are likely to have received the current version of the Copyright Act with relief: The legal text is a giant step compared to the half-baked draft which the Federal Council had presented at the end of 2015, and which had caused nearly all interest groups to shake their heads. The outcome was that up to March 2016 a record number of more than 1,200 position papers were submitted. The working group on copyright AGUR12 II was also reactivated. We had already reported on this earlier this year, in March, via our SUISAblog.

Parliament supposed to blaze the trail for a modern Copyright Act

The working group is made up of creators and artists, producers, users, consumers, internet service providers, the Federal Office of Justice as well as additional representatives of the administration has obviously done a good job: In the current version, the proposals of the working group were adopted to a large extent. It is now down to the Parliament to blaze the trail for a modernised version of the Copyright Act. SUISA as well as other Swiss collective management organisations support the compromise.

This does, however, not mean that the current version does not need any improvements. On the contrary – the biggest problems of digitisation for creators and artists remains unsolved: Protected works in videos, texts, images and music data have never been used at the same intensity levels as they are today via the internet. Some major internet companies are the profiteers of this exploitation while the value creation almost completely passes by creators and artists – and thus the producers of the content.

Thanks to the internet: Music lovers can nowadays access an enormous number of films, music pieces, books and news articles, nearly from anywhere and at any time. There is no longer a need for physical work copies. The availability in the Cloud or access via streaming is now enough. Apart from online distributors such as Apple, Spotify, Netflix or Amazon, music and films are nowadays mainly shared via social media platforms such as YouTube or Facebook.

Many internet providers hardly take care of copyright

Online distributors usually take care of copyright and enter into licensing agreements with producers and collective management organisations. This leads to musicians, producers and other creators and artists to receive a remuneration for their work. In the case of intermediaries, e.g. social media platforms and aggregators such as Tunein, the situation is different. The technical services they offer also allow users to disseminate works protected by copyright. In such models where protected content is shared, the providers hardly look after the copyright. On the contrary: They regularly pass the responsibility on to the users who upload the contents.

Add to that the fact that social media platforms and aggregators are the competitors of online distributors such as iTunes or Spotify – they yield high financial gains without participating the authors adequately. A European study shows that value added for the operators of such platforms is very high thanks to works such as music and films protected by copyright. 18% of Google’s income, for example, is made on the back of protected works e.g. via sponsored links. If the protected works were to fall away, the click rate and therefore the attractiveness of the search engine would drop. The value creation on platforms such as YouTube is even higher – they yield 2/3 of their turnover with contents protected by copyright – mainly from advertising, but also sales of profile data. They do, however, defer the act of clearing the copyright to those uploading the contents, even though the latter are not even in a position to do so.

A discussion on the Transfer of Value must also take place in Switzerland

Authors, the actual creators of the works, receive no or hardly any remuneration at all in the case of such platforms. This calls for urgent action. In the EU there has been a discussion on the Transfer of Value on the internet for quite some time. It is therefore high time to bring this discussion to Switzerland. Urgent measures are needed in Switzerland so that the transfer of value away from authors can be stopped – and therefore the creeping expropriation of creators and artists. Social media platforms, aggregators and search engine operators must be obligated to pay a compensation for the works used via their technical platforms.

SUISA and other Swiss collective management organisations are therefore going to introduce these important additions to the legislative process. Creators and artists must get a fairer share in the value creation on online platforms.

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  1. sam says:

    danke für ihren einsatz

  2. Stevens says:

    They stole our revolution and now they steal our music.

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.

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Last week, the Federal Council has adopted a dispatch on the new Copyright Act. SUISA is in principle content with the current version of the law. The solutions achieved in the working group for the Copyright Act (AGUR12 II) were implemented. In order for authors, performers, publishers and producers to benefit better from the digitisation, it is necessary to adopt important additions. The “Transfer of Value”, for example, is extremely disappointing for creators and artists: Internet giants’ platforms continue to be the ones that cash in on the online exploitation of music and films. Creators and artists – and thus the suppliers of the content – are almost left empty-handed. Text by Andreas Wegelin, CEO

The Copyright Act urgently requires provisions for the online exploitation of works protected by copyright. The value...read more

“If I had made a movie with African music, I would have been freer.”

The Swiss composer Niki Reiser received the CHF 25,000 Film Music Prize of the FONDATION SUISA in the course of the International Film Festival in Locarno. The prize was awarded to him for the film score accompanying Alain Gsponer’s film version of “Heidi”. The composition process for this film score has been a particular challenge for Reiser. The themes “Heidi” and “Switzerland” were rather inhibitive than inspiring in the beginning, as he tells us in an interview.

“If I had made a movie with African music, I would have been freer.”

For the third time, Niki Reiser (in the middle) received the FONDATION SUISA Film Music Prize on 7 August at the occasion of the International Film Festival in Locarno. (f.l.t.r.) Mario Beretta (President of the Jury for the Film Music Prize), prize winner Niki Reiser and Urs Schnell (Director FONDATION SUISA). (Photo: Otto B. Hartmann)

Niki, you won the FONDATION SUISA Film Music Prize for the third time for the soundtrack to “Heidi”. What kind of thoughts crossed your mind first when you heard about this?
I was really happy, of course. In 2001, I received my first award from the FONDATION SUISA. The fact that I still provide quality 16 years later and won a prize with it, has made me very content. It’s a confirmation that I am still a part of the game. And it also means a lot to me that such a competent jury has chosen to award me.

Film composers are usually in the background. The public mainly knows about the actors and directors. Is it important to you that your creations become more known by receiving such awards?
Of course, that is a lovely effect. However, it means much more to me if the audience comes to me after a movie and tell me how the music particularly stood out to them. The fact that people perceive the music in films, that’s more important to me. There is a saying: “You don’t notice good film score”. It is my aim to make people notice film music without it pushing too much into the foreground. The award is now a bit like the icing on the cake. And the great thing about it is that people come to me again and tell me: “The music in this film was really great.” Music was thus not just in the background.

You have also performed on stage as a flute artist in various formations, and thus played your compositions live in front of an audience. Do you miss the direct feedback from the audience?
Yes, I rather miss the opportunity to develop my own pieces and interpret them anew each evening. With film music, that’s different: Once it has been recorded and mixed, it cannot be changed. In the case of live music, you can change a piece, depending on the changing times – that’s something I do rather miss. On the other hand, you are restricted when you play in bands, by the predetermined themes, whereas that is not the case for film music. Each film has a different theme.

In your acceptance speech during the award ceremony, you mentioned how difficult the process of composing was for you. What was special about said process? How did you approach composing said film music?
What was special for me was the fact that the themes “Heidi” and “Switzerland” initially inhibited rather than inspired me. Besides, you are always more critical vis-a-vis your own creations and quickly jump to the conclusion whether “something works and something else doesn’t.” You restrict yourself. If I had made a movie with African music, I would have been freer, as the topic wouldn’t have been so close to me. And the beginning was the hardest. The film starts with a flying scene. The goal: “Now you have to create something light, airborne.” In moments like these, I shut off, as this is a huge challenge from naught to sixty. The core of the music only emerged through constant trial and error.

So you did get specific instructions how the film score was supposed to sound?
Not what it should sound like, but the effects it should have. The music should have had some lightness and elements of hovering. At the same time, it was supposed to express a longing, yet have something healing about it. The more adjectives you have in your head, the less musical ideas will come to you. It usually only works once the rational thinking stops and you start making music. It is via making music that I discovered film music.

Childrens’ films, sentimental films with a regional character, and nice images of the Alpine world – don’t you get tempted to fall back on existing musical clichés?
Of course, the images are really rather out of this world. If I had composed a typical Swiss music to accompany them, it really could have turned into some form of a commercial film. That is why we have decided not to use a typically happy Swiss major key. While I think Swiss melodies are rather nice, I did not want to write a folklore song. By using the minor keys, we reached a more dramatic effect. Heidi, is, after all, a drama, not just a childrens’ film.

There are many film versions of Heidi. There are also some well-known Heidi film melodies. The majority of people in Switzerland thus have a connection – even a musical one – with Heidi. Did this also influence your work?
No. I have, on purpose, not watched any older Heidi films. On the one hand, so that I would not be influenced. On the other hand, so that I would not obstruct myself: It is possible that you don’t do something just because someone else has already done it. I have told the story based on the Heidi character. This means: The music accompanies the emotions of Heidi and reflects her current emotional state. It is thus more an emotional, and not a Swiss story. I have tried to set the music so as if a child is enjoying its very emotions in a moment.

You have composed music for a film for the first time 30 years ago. In the meantime, technology has changed dramatically. How has this influenced your work style when you compose?
It had no influence on my work for Heidi; I have recorded each instrument live and not used any sound generating technology. In the case of other films, especially smaller projects, my work style has changed. I can now record the music in my home and arrange it from there. That way, I can execute the entire film production at home. My way of composing, however, has not changed due to technological developments. The goal is still to search for themes and sounds. Compared to composition, the dialogue process with the cutters’ workplace has changed. If I have composed something, I can send entire files with images via internet and about half an hour later discuss them with people sitting at the cutter’s table via skype. In the past, I had to send the tapes in the post. It took a week until the material arrived and another 3 to 4 days until the director sent their reaction. Communication speed has definitely increased. This does, however, also entail some negative aspects: Back in the day when everything was not digital yet, you had more time to develop something. Nowadays, everything is faster. This means: Ideas also have to be created faster.

You have been a SUISA member since 1986. What are the membership benefits for you as a composer?
I can rely on the fact that I receive a basic income. Well it is actually my main income. I could not live from the films themselves, the fees I receive for them, directly. It’s the royalties that guarantee that the balance sheet works out at the end of each year. Some colleagues say to me that I ought to change over to GEMA because many of my works are shown in Germany. I am not sure whether I would ever change. SUISA isn’t such a huge institution; people can therefore react more quickly.

Niki Reiser was born in Reinach, AG, in 1958 and grew up in Basel. He found his access to music by playing the flute and already started as a teenager to compose works for various bands and musical formations. Once he did his A-levels, he studied jazz and classical compositions with a focus on film scores at the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston (USA). Especially due to his long-term collaboration with the directors Dani Levy and Caroline Link, Niki Reiser managed to become a household name on the German and international film stage. He has received the German Film Prize five times for his works. Niki Reiser lives and works in his hometown, Basel. (Text: FONDATION SUISA) www.nikireiser.de
The FONDATION SUISA Film Music Prize carries a value of CHF 25,000. It honours extraordinary performances in the sector of film music composition and its aim is to support prize winners and increase their popularity at home and abroad. The prize is awarded each year at the Festival del film in Locarno, alternating between the categories feature film and documentary film.
The jury for the FONDATION SUISA Film Music Prize
• President: Mario Beretta (Stage and film music composer, Zurich)
• Jürg von Allmen (Sound engineer, Digiton Tonstudio, Zurich)
• André Bellmont (Composer, conductor, lecturer at the Zurich University for the Arts, Zurich (Zürcher Hochschule der Künste))
• David Fonjallaz (Film producer, Lomotion AG, Berne)
• Zeno Gabaglio (Composer and artist, Vacallo)
• Corinne Rossi (Managing Director, Praesens-Film AG, Zurich)
• Yvonne Söhner (Production Director Baloise Session, Music Festival Basel, Ehrendingen)
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The Swiss composer Niki Reiser received the CHF 25,000 Film Music Prize of the FONDATION SUISA in the course of the International Film Festival in Locarno. The prize was awarded to him for the film score accompanying Alain Gsponer’s film version of “Heidi”. The composition process for this film score has been a particular challenge for Reiser. The themes “Heidi” and “Switzerland” were rather inhibitive than inspiring in the beginning, as he tells us in an interview.

“If I had made a movie with African music, I would have been freer.”

For the third time, Niki Reiser (in the middle) received the FONDATION SUISA Film Music Prize on 7 August at the occasion of the International Film Festival in Locarno. (f.l.t.r.) Mario Beretta (President of the Jury for the Film Music Prize), prize winner Niki Reiser and Urs Schnell (Director FONDATION SUISA). (Photo: Otto B. Hartmann)

Niki,...read more

“Without an organisation like SUISA many songs would never have been created”

The famous and popular musician Peter Reber has been a SUISA member since 1971. In a written interview, the composer, lyricist, artist and publisher explains, why his collective management organisation is important for him and why – from his point of view – it is not necessary that collective management organisations should be subject to a stricter supervision.

“Without an organisation like SUISA many songs would never have been created”

Peter Reber is a composer, lyricist, publisher, artist and event organiser and a SUISA member since 1971 (Foto: zVg)

Peter Reber, you have been a SUISA member since 1971. Why?
Peter Reber: It goes without saying that you don’t go to the baker and help yourself from the shelf with the bread rolls without paying. Not everyone understands that you can’t simply use intellectual property without paying, as it’s much more complex and needs explaining in more depth. Composers and lyricists are not in a position to manage their interests on a national and international level themselves. Without an institution such as SUISA and its international partners, I would never have been able to find an economic foundation for my activity. Many songs would never have been written. SUISA does not just manage my financial interests, but is also the prerequisite for a diverse range of activities in our country.

Copyright issues are subject to change. How do artists and musicians have to adapt to it?
Of course it also is down to us artists to deal with those issues. We witness such developments in every day situations, after all. Due to the digital revolution such as loss-free copying and the rapid development of the new media, i.e. the internet, many new questions have to be answered. As an artist, I pass my feedback and my issues on to SUISA; in return, I benefit from the workshops and infos which SUISA offers to us authors.

The Federal Council intends to tie collective management organisations more closely to the government. What is your stance regarding these plans?
I have been a SUISA member for 45 years. As a composer, lyricist, publisher, artist and event organiser, I know the entire spectrum of the music business. It is very complex, as it ranges from aesthetic via organisational to legal issues. Due to its flexibility and the flat hierarchy within SUISA it has always been possible for me to find someone to talk to about my issues. My issues have always been in good hands as a consequence of the profound knowledge of the SUISA staff. I would have huge concerns if the government and the politicians would increase the influence and control over our copyright society. It is important to me that SUISA retains a certain independence. Only if it does, can it represent the interests of us authors in a credible manner and does not turn into a playground for other political and economic interests.

Where could copyright be improved from your point of view?
There is always and everywhere room for improvement. Important steps have been introduced by SUISA already in some ways: Authors have the opportunity today to let SUISA only represent them in partial aspects and to manage the other areas themselves, for example.
The biggest problem, however, has been and will remain the fact that the public still does not show enough understanding for the fact that intellectual property is worth protecting and must be paid for, too. That’s an area where us authors and our SUISA have to continue to work on.

On Peter Reber
With more than 40 gold and platinum awards for more than 2 million sold sound recordings, Peter Reber can be counted among the most successful Swiss composers, lyricists and performers. From 1968 to 1981, he has been member of the successful band Peter, Sue & Marc, after that he began an equally successful solo career. During his career, Peter Reber has written more than one thousand lyrics, melodies and arrangements and provided six Swiss contributions to the Eurovision Song Contest. His compositions have been published on sound recordings by more than hundred national and international artists, from folk musicians to rock musicians. 2016, he received the Swiss Music Award for his life’s work. www.peterreber.ch

The interview with Peter Reber was conducted for the “Sessionsbrief” (session letter) of Swisscopyright. Swisscopyright is the joint umbrella of the five Swiss collective management organisations ProLitteris, SSA, SUISA, Suissimage and Swissperform. With the “Sessionsbrief”, the societies inform interested parties from within the political scene as well as the public on subjects affecting copyright.

Swisscopyright Sessionsbrief September 2016 (PDF)
Swisscopyright Website

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  1. Giorgio Tebaldi says:

    Lieber Jean-Pierre

    Die SUISA kommuniziert seit 2008 die Löhne der Geschäftsleitung transparent in ihrem Jahresbericht (www.suisa.ch/jahresbericht). 2015 belief sich der Lohn unseres Generaldirektors auf CHF 307’506, wie man im letzten Jahresbericht auf Seite 32 lesen kann; insgesamt erhielten die drei GL-Mitglieder CHF 776’349. Das ist um einiges tiefer als die von Dir genannten CHF 400’000 pro Person.

    Die Verwaltungskosten sind für die SUISA natürlich ein wichtiges Thema, und wir sind entsprechend darum bemüht, unseren Aufwand so gering wie möglich zu halten. Dass die Kosten der SUISA – und auch der anderen vier Schweizer Verwertungsgesellschaften – in einem angemessenen Rahmen sind hat Ende 2015 übrigens eine Studie im Auftrag des Instituts für Geistiges Eigentum (IGE) gezeigt: https://blog.suisa.ch/de/die-suisa-arbeitet-kostenbewusst/ / https://www.ige.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/Urheberrecht/d/Studie_Verwaltungskosten/MM_IGE_Abschluss_der_Verwaltungskostenanalyse14012016.pdf.

    Herzliche Grüsse
    Giorgio Tebaldi / Leiter Kommunikation

  2. Nicht nur als langjähriges SUISA-Mitglied (Tonträger “Face the world” von A touch of class; jp’s acoustic instrumentals & Disco (S)Hits) bin zwar generell und grundsätzlich ebenso gegen staatliche Eingriffe aller Art.
    Da ich bis Ende April ’13 hauptberuflich 18 Jahre lang als geschäftsleitender Berater der Communication Executive AG (Tochter des Headhunters Engineering Management Selection Schweiz) aktiv war, ist mir allerdings konkret bekannt, welche fürstlichen Löhne sich die erweiterte Geschäftsleitung der SUISA seit Jahrzehnten genehmigt: Da es sich dabei um über 400’000.- CHF Jahresgehalt pro Person und Jahr handelt, ist nur völlig logisch und nachvollziehbar, dass die Entschädigungen an all die echten Musiker und musikalisch eher trivialen Musikanten zur Deckung dieser “Overhead”-Kosten ZU LASTEN der Künstler allzu mickrig ausfallen müssen!
    Gegen diesen Schutz der GF-Pfründe ist längst konkreter Handlungsbedarf angezeigt; und es wäre äusserst sinnvoll, wenn die SUISA-Verantwortlichen diesbezüglich selbst ein Einsehen hätten!…

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The famous and popular musician Peter Reber has been a SUISA member since 1971. In a written interview, the composer, lyricist, artist and publisher explains, why his collective management organisation is important for him and why – from his point of view – it is not necessary that collective management organisations should be subject to a stricter supervision.

“Without an organisation like SUISA many songs would never have been created”

Peter Reber is a composer, lyricist, publisher, artist and event organiser and a SUISA member since 1971 (Foto: zVg)

Peter Reber, you have been a SUISA member since 1971. Why?
Peter Reber: It goes without saying that you don’t go to the baker and help yourself from the shelf with the bread rolls without paying. Not everyone understands that you can’t simply use intellectual property without paying, as it’s much more complex and needs explaining in...read more