Why does SUISA need a stamp? Even 100 years in, not everyone in Switzerland is familiar with SUISA, or understands what it actually does. Time and again, people without any connection to the music biz are unsure about the work the Cooperative Society of composers, lyricists and publishers of music, and the objectives it supports. Guesses are ranging from an institution, an insurance or a credit card.
Since 100,000 customers were taken on from Billag in 2019, more and more business owners are asking themselves why they are getting an invoice for a licence covering background music. One of the core communication goals of the centenary year is to increase the understanding among the wider public when it comes to copyright royalties. The special issue stamp fulfils this objective in an ideal manner: Stamps are, despite the ubiquitous digital communication means, still well-known and liked by many, and they also have a great reach. That is why we filed an application to the Swiss Post in May 2022 for a stamp on the topic of “100 years of SUISA”. The stamp committee approved the application and we regard this as a great honour.
Four times a year, the Swiss Post launches about 50 new stamps. The result is an annual colourful cross-section of topics which move Switzerland and have a certain national relevance. It is also a great honour for the creators of the small pieces of art, to receive an order of such prestige. The post instructed the Vaudeville studios with creating the SUISA stamp since they are well-versed in illustration as well as animation.
“It was clear that this stamp had to play music one way or another”
The first “live” stamp of the Swiss Post with augmented reality (AR) was launched in 2020 at the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the National Library. At the initial exchange regarding the SUISA stamp in July 2022, Anik Coray, the product manager stamps & philately suggested to expand this special stamp by the music dimension.
“It was clear that this stamp had to play music one way or another. After many clarifications, we decided to implement it as an augmented reality stamp. This is the first time we created a stamp that contains a combination of augmented reality and music. Greis, the song composer, specifically arranged the SUISA centenary song for the animation. This means that the movements of the figures on the stamp match the song one-to-one. An absolute novelty in the Swiss stamp world!”
Anik Coray, product manager stamps & philately, Post CH Netz AG
From the three draft concepts of the designers Nicolas Charly, Martin Brunner and Roger Zürcher who had already shown ideas or the animation, the SUISA Executive Committee favoured the design which had the working title “emotions”. After all, nothing represents emotions more than music, something we also try to highlight with our anniversary picture book.
Music stands for emotions
The layout suggestion shows street music in the foreground and snow-capped mountains in the background, representing the Swiss landscape. All details were worked out in an intensive exchange. The figures were turned into a female guitar player, a trumpeter and a Schwyzerörgeli player to represent the musical diversity of the country. Inscriptions on the houses were adapted to the major customers of SUISA: Broadcasters and concert promoters. The icing on the cake is the copyright logo on the roof.
What remained was the question which music to use. SUISA had already asked Berne rapper Greis to create a SUISA song for the centenary including a jingle version. ((Link zum Blogartikel https://blog.suisa.ch/de/suisa-song-zum-100-jahre-jubilaeum/)) Thus it was logical that Greis and his producer team created a 16-second instrumental version of his multi-lingual piece “Anthem 2023”. The instruments were recorded in close cooperation with the graphic designers so that they were aligned down to the second with the performances of the female guitarist, the Schwyzerörgeli player and the trumpeter in the animation.
The 110 Rappen SUISA stamp shows a countryside with clouds where music notes are rising up into a blue sky. Then, you see a row of houses where, in the middle of the street, a woman in a polka dot dress is dancing to the music which is performed by three street musicians. At the end the letters S U I S A rise up which are sung in the original version of the song.
The stamp is officially presented by the Swiss Post to Andreas Wegelin, CEO of SUISA, on Sunday, 14 May 2023 at the occasion of the Prix Walo Award ceremony in the SRF studio in Zurich.
“Say it with lyrics”: Set of postcards
A matching postcard for the stamp. No sooner than the Swiss Post had agreed to issue a special stamp for the SUISA centenary, the idea of a giveaway with song postcards from a cross-section of 30 particularly beautiful lyrics excerpts which represent the entire music diversity of Switzerland was born. Lyricists often stand undeservedly in the shadows; lyrics with nice rhymes and strong messages give songs power and emotions that move the listener and lets the songs stay in our memories.
SUISA thanks all creators and publishers that they gave their permission for the publication of the lyrics excerpts and thus made the extraordinary ceremonial giveaway possible.