Why does SUISA have a regional office in Lugano? Could members and customers based in Ticino not receive their services from the Zurich or Lausanne offices?
Stefano Keller: It is important to our members and our customers that SUISA is represented in the three language regions and therefore is as close to them as possible. SUISA’s presence in Lugano enables Italian-speaking creators and those active in the music sector to ask questions and get advice in their mother tongue. It is also important that there is an exchange between the various linguistic regions of Switzerland. For that reason, SUISA had decided in 2002, to found the regional office in Lugano. In the meantime, the regional office Lugano has, thanks to the competence and engagement of its employees, become a significant point of reference for the music scene in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland.
Which kinds of tasks do the members of staff in Lugano carry out?
Our tasks comprise nearly all the services we offer to our members: new registrations, own productions, work registrations, payments and pension schemes. We cover nearly the entire licensing service spectrum for our customers, too: i.e. background music, concerts as well as radio and TV broadcasts. There are four members of staff in our Ticino regional office: We all have to be allrounders in such a small team and provide a multi-disciplinary service perspective of SUISA. This speciality has got to be an enrichment for SUISA’s enterprise culture.
What can SUISA contribute to the cultural life in Ticino?
Apart from the role as an important reference point for the Ticino music sector, SUISA is also present at various public events such as the Locarno film festival or the MusicNet in Lugano. We also organise networking events for authors and publishers and offer them the possibility to network. Interesting projects have already emerged from such events between artists who had previously hardly known each other.
What does SUISA offer in Lugano in terms of promoting music creators in Ticino?
The regional office in Lugano supports musicians in Ticino, especially by means of the advice it provides. The advice covers the entire range of SUISA services. In other words: If Italian-speaking musicians contact SUISA in Lugano via e-mail, phone or a letter, or comes by in person, they will receive a 360-degree advisory service in relation to their activities.
You have been manager of SUISA’s regional office in Lugano for 100 days. What are your goals?
SUISA Lugano should be a well matched and competent team of allrounders who carry out their duties as effectively as possible. Each member of staff has to be able to work independently and at the same time support its colleagues. It is my aim, among other things, to offer our bigger customers as well as our most important members a more personal and qualitatively flawless service.
Now for a personal question: Which musicians or bands from Ticino can you currently recommend?
The Ticino music scene has seen a great development over the last ten to twenty years and therefore provides a lot of diversity in the various genres. In the early years of SUISA Lugano, the majority of bands came from the hard rock and metal scene. From 2005 onwards, a hip hop and rap scene started to develop, and further artists from other genres emerged in the last few years. In New Folk there are, for example, Sebalter or Make Plain; in Indie Rock, there are the artists of the Ticino label On The Camper Records or Francesca Lago. There are also musicians from classical pop/rock such as Sinplus or Charlie Roe.