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Concert tariff

Decisions of the Arbitration Commission on the Common Tariff K

Decisions of the Arbitration Commission on the Common Tariff K
Thanks to the new concert tariff, creators and publishers will continue to receive fair remuneration for the use of their works at concerts. Shown in the picture: Erika Stucky with her band at a performance at the Docks in Lausanne.
Photo: Tabea Hüberli & Dirk Hoogendoorn
Text by Martin Korrodi
During the oral hearing on 23 January 2024, the Federal Arbitration Commission for Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights dealt with the disputed submission by the collective management organisation SUISA and Swissperform for a new Common Tariff K. The arbitration committee has extended the current tariff until the end of 2024 and announced the key points for the new tariff from 2025.

SUISA and Swissperform had already initiated a negotiation meeting in March 2022, although the Common Tariff K (CT K) had not been terminated at that time and continued to be in force until at least the end of 2023. As certain negotiating partners could imagine terminating the tariff and the collective management organisations, for their part, had an interest in simplifying the tariff structure, the aim was to start discussions as early as possible.

Course of the negotiations

In the course of the negotiations, it quickly became apparent that the positions on key issues were far apart. While the collective management organisations wanted to introduce simplifications in the form of a flat-rate fee, particularly in the area of small concerts, the associations focussed on the level of remuneration itself in particular. They argued that due to the massive increase in costs for show elements, safety and environmental requirements, the remuneration under CT K was no longer appropriate and should be reduced by a percentage amounting to somewhere between 30% and 35%.

Subsequently, the two main topics – the simplifications for small concerts and the commensurability of fees – were discussed in greater depth in working groups. In the end, however, it was not possible to find common ground and a solution to the controversial points. Even after the associations terminated the tariff agreement, negotiations continued in the hope of reaching a consensus or at least a partial consensus, which ultimately failed. Accordingly, SUISA and Swissperform submitted a disputed tariff to the Federal Arbitration Commission for Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights (EschK) for approval on 23 May 2023.

Tariff extension for the year 2024

On 23 January 2024, the ESchK decided, based on the applications of the collective management organisations, that the current CT K will be extended until 31 December 2024 despite it having been terminated. This creates legal and planning certainty for all parties, as it is now clear that the follow-up tariff will not come into force retroactively to 1 January 2024. As such, there is no risk that statements prepared for 2024 will have to be adjusted again retrospectively.

New tariff from 2025

During the oral announcement of its decision, the ESchK also explained what the tariff will look like from 2025. In principle, the ESchK has approved the tariff submitted by the collective management organisations, albeit with some amendments. Against the wishes of the associations, the ESchK approved the proposed cancellation of the deduction for advance booking fees but reduced the fees by 0.5% (for copyrights) and 0.15% (for neighbouring rights) to compensate for this. The upper revenue limit for small concerts has also been raised from CHF 15,000 to CHF 22,000, so that more concerts can be invoiced as small concerts in future. Apart from that, other minor adjustments have also been made, but without any relevant impact.

Overall, it can be stated that the level of fees has not been lowered compared to the current tariff, and that certain simplifications will even facilitate the application of the tariff. This is good news for all composers, publishers and lyricists, who will continue to receive fair remuneration for the use of their works at concerts. However, an appeal against this decision to the Federal Administrative Court is still possible.

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