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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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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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.

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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

Label Suisse: a showcase for Swiss music in all its diversity

The eighth edition of the Label Suisse Festival was held in Lausanne from 14 to 16 September. The biennial festival, dedicated to Swiss musicians and creators, offers the public a broad panorama of Switzerland’s current music landscape. Text and Interviews by Erika Weibel

Label Suisse: a showcase for Swiss music in all its diversity

The main stage of the Label Suisse Festival at the “Place Centrale” in Lausanne during the performance of Geneva hip-hop group Superwak Clique on Saturday 15 October 2018. (Photo: Anne Bichsel)

90,000 visitors attended the 8th edition of the Label Suisse Festival, enjoying over 60 concerts of multifarious music styles at 10 locations in the centre of Lausanne. The full range of Swiss music was showcased: from electronic music to pop-rock, from contemporary and classical music to jazz, and last but not least, new folk music. All in one festival!

Label Suisse’s programming team attaches great importance to booking both more experienced Swiss artists and promising newcomers. Admission to all concerts is free since the full cost of the festival is financed by the sponsors. SUISA has supported Label Suisse financially since 2006, and was again one of the festival’s main partners in 2018.

The members of the programming team are each in charge of a specific musical genre. After the festival, we asked them how they went about selecting their artists, what they think is particularly exciting about the festival, and about current trends in the various genres. We also asked Julien Gross, President of Label Suisse, what he considered the highlights of the 2018 edition.

Label Suisse: Julien Gross

Julien Gross (Photo: Anne Bichsel)

Julien Gross, President of the Label Suisse association

As President of the Label Suisse association, you have been working hard for several years to make the festival a success. In your opinion, what makes Label Suisse particularly attractive?
Julien Gross: Label Suisse is unique for the broad artistic spectrum of musical styles in its programming. As a result, the festival brings together all audiences across all generations for three days.
Artists from all four language regions perform for the delight of a curious, attentive, and faithful public. Radio plays an important role in broadcasting music from the festival nationwide for the three days.

The latest festival was the 8th edition of Label Suisse. The festival has been held every second year since its first edition in 2004. What changes has the festival undergone in these 14 years?
Actually, it’s mainly Swiss music that has evolved. Creative, innovative and original, Label Suisse tries to present a snapshot of all the Switzerland’s musical scenes.
We try to awaken the urge for discovery and the desire to embark upon a musical adventure. To reinforce the presence of certain styles, or propose original creations.

Groups from all over Switzerland representing a great variety of musical genres come to Lausanne to take part in the festival. Subjectively speaking, which shows did you find most exciting?
I truly love wandering around the festival grounds. I enjoy the challenge of discovering musical styles that are not usually part of my everyday life. That’s what I find most exciting.

Label Suisse: Laurence Vinclair

Laurence Vinclair (Photo: Mehdi Benkler)

Laurence Vinclair, modern music programming

What is the special interest in being responsible for the programming of a single genre for a music festival which combines so many different styles of music?
Laurence Vinclair: The interest lies in being able to showcase deserving artists for three days, artists whose development I follow all year round, sometimes over many years. And to enable a diverse public to discover styles that they might otherwise never listen to.

What criteria did you apply in selecting the artists and bands?
The criteria are quality, topicality, artistic motivation and potential.

What are the current trends in the musical genre you are responsible for programming? What effects do these trends have on the actors of the Swiss music world?
The clearest trend is hip-hop, or urban music; this style has taken the lead over all the others as you can tell by looking at the programming in clubs and festivals the last two years.

Label Suisse: Stefano Saccon

Stefano Saccon (Photo: Claude Berthelier)

Stefano Saccon, jazz programming

What is the special interest in being responsible for the programming of a single genre for a music festival which combines so many different styles of music?
Stefano Saccon: The intelligence and the strength of the festival is to employ competent people in each area in order to identify the most representative musicians. Being part of a committee of experts is a stimulating way to encourage relevant and complementary programming.

What criteria did you apply in selecting the artists and bands?
The diversity of supply in the jazz area forces you take a broad view and apply criteria which can be adapted in line with the artistic approach. In any event, the project must be original and add value to the rest of the programming; it must be in tune with the times while being clearly anchored in tradition; it must be mature and have potential for development.

What are the current trends in the musical genre you are resonsible for programming? What effects do these trends have on the actors of the Swiss music world?
There are three trends in my opinion:
a) the association of the acoustic and the electronic, the curiosity about the DJ world, and the sensitisation to new sound textures;
b) the minimalism which places the group rather than the solist at the centre of attention, in keeping with a more conventional approach;
c) the desire to develop writing on more complex rhythmic matrices.
Today, all jazz musicians possess great instrumental mastery, and a huge curiosity stimulating boundless creativity. Considering that they are faced with growing supply and increasing competition, I think musicians show tremendous humility and exemplary mutual respect.

Label Suisse: Johannes Rühl

Johannes Rühl (Photo: Roland Zemp)

Johannes Rühl, new folk music programming

What is the special interest in being responsible for the programming of a single genre for a music festival which combines so many different styles of music?
Johannes Rühl: Very few festivals offer the stylistic breadth that Label Suisse does. That in itself is a major feat. In terms of programming, it means that each musical genre has to co-exist with the others. Moreover, the concerts can be expected to attract a highly differentiated public. This kind of festival is truly one of a kind for the curious music lover; we draw the best public we could dream of.

What criteria did you apply in selecting the artists and ensembles?
New folk is a predominantly Swiss German musical phenomenon. To lure audiences from other language regions of the country you have to make this music attractive – especially since it takes a little getting used to. That’s why we try to book groups that have a certain stylistic openness. That’s what we focus on more particularly, in addition to quality of course.

What are the current trends in the musical genre you are responsible for programming? What effects do these trends have on the actors of the Swiss music world?
New Swiss folk music is essentially the popular heritage of the last century. In those days, music was protest; today, musicians have more affinity with tradition. They bring the material to life without blinkers, creating something completely new and previously unheard. The Hochschule Luzern Musik, the School of Music in Lucerne, has been vital to this genre in the last few years, and is a breeding ground for excellent talent. This trend is far from over, and I believe that it still holds much good in store.

Label Suisse: Claire Brawand

Claire Brawand (Photo: Nathalie Langlois)

Claire Brawand, classical and contemporary music programming

What is the special interest in being responsible for the programming of a single genre for a music festival which combines so many different styles of music?
Claire Brawand: the act of programming is always set in a particular context which has to be taken into account. In the case of Label Suisse (diversity of styles with a predominance of modern music, national dimension, different locations, free admission, broad public with lots of young people), the context is quite different to the normal context for classical music (from baroque to contemporary) and its aficionados. I see it as a highly fertile field for experimentation, which makes my programming mission even more stimulating; one of the main aims is to encourage festival-goers to discover the universe of classical music through one person, one energy or a special concert format. Label Suisse’s great freedom of movement, underscored by the mixture of styles in a single place, makes this possible.

What criteria did you apply in selecting the artists and ensembles?
In the classical programming, I favoured artists – performers and composers – who are powerful and unique, and whose approach is strongly resonant with the identity of the Festival, namely: contemporary, hence topical, and exploratory. This disposition on the part of the classical artist is essential for the special context of Label Suisse. As a result, we focused on the repertoires of the 20th and 21st centuries (including creations) and, with regard to the 21st century, on Swiss composers of all generations.

What are the current trends in the musical genre you are responsible for programming? What effects do these trends have on the actors of the Swiss music world?
Increasing trans-disciplinarity between the arts (visual, sound, composition) and esthetics. A strong capacity for renewal in the approach of the young generations of cutting-edge musicians in terms of their concert programming. Today, they consider the contribution of classical music freely, unconstrained by the barriers inherited from prior generations.

www.labelsuisse.ch

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The eighth edition of the Label Suisse Festival was held in Lausanne from 14 to 16 September. The biennial festival, dedicated to Swiss musicians and creators, offers the public a broad panorama of Switzerland’s current music landscape. Text and Interviews by Erika Weibel

Label Suisse: a showcase for Swiss music in all its diversity

The main stage of the Label Suisse Festival at the “Place Centrale” in Lausanne during the performance of Geneva hip-hop group Superwak Clique on Saturday 15 October 2018. (Photo: Anne Bichsel)

90,000 visitors attended the 8th edition of the Label Suisse Festival, enjoying over 60 concerts of multifarious music styles at 10 locations in the centre of Lausanne. The full range of Swiss music was showcased: from electronic music to pop-rock, from contemporary and classical music to jazz, and last but not least, new folk music. All in one festival!

Label...read more

Minor amendments only to noise legislation

The ordinance on the federal act governing protection against non-ionising radiation and sound hazards (V-NISSG) was sent to the consultation stage in February 2018. The draft regulation provided more stringent requirements for events involving electrically amplified sound, as well as new stipulations for events without amplification. It was announced in early October that the Federal Office of Public Health would not adopt the most stringent restrictions. Text by Sarah Coopman

V-NISSG: Minor amendments only to noise legislation

Much ado about (almost) nothing: following fierce resistance from industry representatives affected by the proposed changes, the Federal Office of Public Health will refrain from major changes to noise protection legislation (including for major concerts such as the one pictured). (Photo: Marcel Grubenmann)

If you want to learn more about the limits and restrictions that currently apply to sound at events, check the Sound Levels and Laser Ordinance (SLO). It first and foremost states that events with a noise level of less than 93 dB(A) are not subject to any legal stipulations. These threshold values are determined using the average noise level during a one-hour period. According to the current SLO, the requirements for event organisers take effect when noise levels reach at least 93 dB(A) per hour for events that use electric amplification.

Current SLO regulations

The sound protection measures required differ according to the average sound level and can be divided into three categories. The first category of events comprises those with an average hourly noise level of between 93 and 96 dB(A). The organiser is required to report an event to the enforcement agency 14 days in advance. The audience must then be informed of possible damage to their hearing through signs at the event itself. Free ear protection must be provided. Finally, the SLO requires the noise level to be monitored with a decibel meter during the event. No special requirements exist for these meters.

The average hourly noise level at an event that uses electric amplification may not exceed 100 dB(A). For events with a noise level of between 96 and 100 dB(A), the same requirements apply as for events in the first category, provided the total duration of the noise does not exceed three hours. Again, event organisers are subject to the following requirements: a duty to notify the authorities of the event, a duty to inform the audience and provide earplugs, and a duty to monitor the noise level throughout the entire event.

No requirements for unamplified noise so far

However, if the duration of noise exceeds three hours stricter rules apply. In this case, the event organiser must record the noise level and create a quiet zone to compensate. The noise level may not exceed 85 dB(A) in this zone.

The maximum noise level, i.e. the loudest level of noise exposure measured at any given point, may not exceed 125 dB(A) at any time. Unamplified sound is not currently subject to any conditions. This means that symphony orchestras, opera singers or Guggenmusik bands are not subject to any of the above limits and the associated requirements. These are the regulations for events with electrically amplified sound according to the currently applicable sound regulations.

Opposition to V-NISSG draft ordinance

The draft of the new ordinance concerning the federal act governing protection against non-ionising radiation and sound hazards, V-NISSG, largely adopted and selectively amended these regulations. The draft ordinance also provided stipulations for events without amplification. And it would have expanded the obligation to record the noise level to all events with an average noise level in excess of 93 dB(A). The federal government also wanted to institute more stringent requirements for the recording devices.

During the consultation, industry representatives vehemently opposed the proposed changes. Following discussions with industry representatives in late September, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has now decided to abandon these changes and will ask the Federal Council to remove the more extensive recording requirements. This means that the status quo remains in terms of the recording requirements, with recording only required at events with an average noise level in excess of 96 dB(A) for more than three hours.

FOPH will refrain largely from tightening

The FOPH will request only that events with unamplified sound of above 93 dB(A) be subject to a duty to inform the audience and provide free ear protection. The previous obligation to notify the authorities will be removed. Minimum requirements will apply to orchestral performances, classical music concerts and similar events, provided the noise level of 93 dB(A) is reached.

The stricter requirements for decibel meters are unlikely to be implemented. Rather, the requirements for the meters and the measuring method should be defined per se based on an industry recommendation.

No major changes to noise control legislation are therefore expected in light of these developments. In particular, the current limits will remain in place. According to the FOPH, these conditions have been accepted by industry representatives and were not questioned during the course of the consultation. However, the extent to which changes may still be incorporated into the new ordinance is not fully clear at the moment. The Federal Council will decide definitively on the implementation and entry into force of the draft ordinance in early 2019.

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The ordinance on the federal act governing protection against non-ionising radiation and sound hazards (V-NISSG) was sent to the consultation stage in February 2018. The draft regulation provided more stringent requirements for events involving electrically amplified sound, as well as new stipulations for events without amplification. It was announced in early October that the Federal Office of Public Health would not adopt the most stringent restrictions. Text by Sarah Coopman

V-NISSG: Minor amendments only to noise legislation

Much ado about (almost) nothing: following fierce resistance from industry representatives affected by the proposed changes, the Federal Office of Public Health will refrain from major changes to noise protection legislation (including for major concerts such as the one pictured). (Photo: Marcel Grubenmann)

If you want to learn more about the limits and restrictions that currently apply to sound at events, check the...read more

Can the blockchain and the bass strike a harmonious chord?

Technological developments that affect the music industry are a constant focus of SUISA’s management committees. Blockchain technology was one of the many important topics on the agenda at the board meetings in October 2018. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Can the blockchain and the bass strike a harmonious chord?

To what extent is blockchain technology in harmony with the interests of music copyright holders and publishers? (Photo: Daphne.t / Shutterstock.com)

At the autumn meetings of the SUISA Board of Directors in Lausanne, musician and researcher Steffen Holly from the German Fraunhofer Institute provided a glimpse into the world of blockchain technology. He showed how blockchain was born from of a combination of existing IT possibilities, using practical examples to illustrate the theory behind the system. He also showed how the development of the music industry and technology are closely related: new instruments give rise to new music, new demand and new technical possibilities. Who would have thought it would be possible to rent music? But streaming services are now licensed by SUISA.

The scientist also recommended assessing whether blockchain is a viable solution for every business model. In other words, critically examining whether the blockchain and the bass really can strike a harmonious chord. He provided some prominent real-world examples (Airbnb, Uber, car rental) and also made reference to musicnow.eu. Launched on the basis of the EU Collective Rights Management Directive, this project aims to use blockchain technology to facilitate collaboration between authors, artists, collecting societies and content users.

Technological developments are a permanent area of focus for SUISA’s Board of Directors and management team. In the recently adopted Strategy 2020, SUISA states its intention to step up its research and development under the heading “New technologies give rise to new forms of use”. Following Steffen Holly’s presentation, the collecting society is looking to engage in dialogue with a member of the musicnow.eu project.

Status of tariff negotiations and personnel changes

In addition to addressing the forward-looking topic of blockchain, Vincent Salvadé reported on the current status of the tariff negotiations between the collecting societies and the user organisations. In recent months, the Federal Arbitration Commission has approved the VN (audio-visual media for screening, broadcasting, online use) and CT 3c (public viewing) tariffs. Approval of CT 4i (integrated digital storage media) is pending, while GT 12 (set-top boxes, virtual video recorders) was appealed by the broadcasting companies.

Other important items on the agenda related to the HR department and the 2019 board elections. Monica Hernandez took over as Head of Human Resources/Training & Development in mid-June. Thanks to her dedication, extensive expertise and wealth of experience, she has quickly settled into her new role. Her colleagues value her professionalism, service mindset and customer-oriented approach, as well as her open, positive attitude.

General board elections will be held at the 2019 Annual General Meeting. With the exception of Bertrand Liechti and Marco Zanotta, who are both stepping down after serving for the maximum period, all directors are eligible for a further term of office. The Board of Directors has appointed a Nomination Committee to look for suitable successors. Its members reported on the status of this search for candidates.

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Technological developments that affect the music industry are a constant focus of SUISA’s management committees. Blockchain technology was one of the many important topics on the agenda at the board meetings in October 2018. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Can the blockchain and the bass strike a harmonious chord?

To what extent is blockchain technology in harmony with the interests of music copyright holders and publishers? (Photo: Daphne.t / Shutterstock.com)

At the autumn meetings of the SUISA Board of Directors in Lausanne, musician and researcher Steffen Holly from the German Fraunhofer Institute provided a glimpse into the world of blockchain technology. He showed how blockchain was born from of a combination of existing IT possibilities, using practical examples to illustrate the theory behind the system. He also showed how the development of the music industry and technology are closely related: new...read more

“SUISA Day” at the Murten Classics Festival proves a resounding success

The programme of the Murten Classics Festival included a full day of contemporary music on 25 August 2018 as part of the concert series “Offen für Neues”. The concert day, supported by SUISA and recorded by Radio SRF 2 Kultur, met with a positive response all round. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Belenus Quartett: “SUISA Day” at the Murten Classics Festival proves a resounding success

In the third and final concert of the “Offen für Neues” series on 25 August 2018 at the Murten Classics Festival, the Belenus Quartet performed works by Daniel Schnyder, Cécile Marti, Iris Szeghy and Marco Antonio Perez-Ramirez. (Photo: Willi Piller)

The programme for this outstanding day of concerts at the Murten Classics Festival began early, with guests arriving in numbers at the Kultur im Beaulieu (KiB) concert hall in Murten in time for the opening speech by the musicologist Dr. Irène Minder-Jeanneret at 10:00 am. The three-concert series, featuring works by 13 contemporary composers, attracted interest from far beyond the region’s borders. In a review published two days after the event, the “Freiburger Nachrichten” wrote: “There was hardly a spare seat inside the cultural centre.”

The festival guide had announced the SUISA-supported day of concerts in the “Offen für Neues” series as “a day of encounter”. This proved to be true in several respects on the day itself on Saturday, 25 August 2018: thanks to the wide range of works performed, the audience had a chance to discover the tonal variety of the contemporary compositions. Many of the composers whose pieces were played had travelled to Murten themselves, where they provided insights into their musical philosophy in short introductory speeches. The musicians in attendance also engaged in lively discussions during the breaks between the three concerts.

Well organised, interpreted and integrated

One of the ideas behind the day was “not to try and impress with premières, but instead to show a broad musical spectrum”, explained Roman Brotbeck, who as the moderator guided the audience through the programme. Andreas Zurbriggen praised this approach in his review in “Schweizer Musikzeitung” (September/October 2018). According to him, there are enough world premières, but the same cannot be said of second and third performances of contemporary pieces. Zurbriggen believes the organisers succeeded in their aim, with the artistic director, Kaspar Zehnder, demonstrating his talent for putting together a programme and “allowing different worlds to collide”. “And the interpretations, such as those of the Belenus Quartet, the pianist Gilles Grimaître and Ensemble mit vier, were of a very high standard”, wrote the reviewer in the same article.

The review of the concert day in the “Freiburger Nachrichten” concluded by saying: “It’s good that there is a place for these kinds of experiments in the festival programme alongside the popular concerts.” The ambitious “Offen für Neues” one-day project of the Murten Classics Festival and SUISA met with a positive response all round, as also shown by the feedback from the participants below.

In its programme “Neue Musik im Konzert” on Wednesday, 7 November 2018 at 9 pm, Radio SRF 2 Kultur will play excerpts from the three concerts held on 25 August 2018.

Katrin Frauchiger

In her short introductory speech, composer Katrin Frauchiger from Berne explained her piece “Mare nostrum” for flute and string trio, which was subsequently played in concert. (Photo: Willi Piller)

Katrin Frauchiger, composer and singer, lecturer HSLU:

“As a composer, I greatly appreciate the joint commitment made by Murten Classics and SUISA in hosting an entire day of contemporary music. The organisers’ courage in sending out an important message within the context of the Murten Festival paid off in every respect: the event attracted a large audience of extremely interested people who were open to new music.
Three fresh, carefully curated concerts were presented with a speech and introduction, and each had an inspiring theme for the listener: Waves from another world / Immigration-Emigration / Roots and great places. In a conversation with Roman Brotbeck, I had the opportunity to personally introduce my piece ‘Mare Nostrum’ and thus open the door to a beautiful performance of my music. The other composers present also had the same opportunity. The interaction between the audience and the composers was equally valuable, some of whom had travelled from afar.”

Irene Minder-Jeanneret

“An architect can make a living from their compositions, but this is hardly true for a composer”, said the musicologist Dr. Irène Minder-Jeanneret during the opening speech, going on to explain why Swiss music artists deserve more recognition. (Photo: Willi Piller)

Dr. Irène Minder-Jeanneret, musicologist, member of the Dictionary of Music in Switzerland steering group:

“SUISA Day offered a valuable and rare tour of both the music industry and the cultural-political significance of music in Switzerland. It illustrated the gap between the lively and exceptional musical reality in our country and the lack of political recognition. Although a third of the population is actively involved in making music, Switzerland is still not perceived as a musical country. Creating, making, teaching, distributing and documenting music are equal facets of an important cultural sector, and they deserve to be recognised, promoted and made known at all political levels. Just as in the film industry, there are some activities in the musical field that cannot be supported by the cantons alone.
As a member of the Dictionary of Music in Switzerland steering group, SUISA Day gave me a unique opportunity to talk to participants from all areas of music. Without doubt, the event also helped to raise awareness of the individual concerns.”

Kaspar Zehnder

The artistic director of the Murten Classics Festival, Kaspar Zehnder, also played the flute at SUISA Day. (Photo: Willi Piller)

Kaspar Zehnder, artistic director of Murten Classics and curator of the first ‘SUISA Day’ on 25 August 2018:

“The heterogeneity and diversity of the programme made for an interesting and exciting day. Through combination of a wide variety of aesthetics, it provided the perfect stage for the audience, composers, presenters and performers to engage in lively discussions, or to enjoy a slice of Murten cream cake and a glass of red wine from Vully in rapt silence.
At the very least, SUISA Day should become a biennial tradition at the Murten Classics.”

www.murtenclassics.ch

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The programme of the Murten Classics Festival included a full day of contemporary music on 25 August 2018 as part of the concert series “Offen für Neues”. The concert day, supported by SUISA and recorded by Radio SRF 2 Kultur, met with a positive response all round. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Belenus Quartett: “SUISA Day” at the Murten Classics Festival proves a resounding success

In the third and final concert of the “Offen für Neues” series on 25 August 2018 at the Murten Classics Festival, the Belenus Quartet performed works by Daniel Schnyder, Cécile Marti, Iris Szeghy and Marco Antonio Perez-Ramirez. (Photo: Willi Piller)

The programme for this outstanding day of concerts at the Murten Classics Festival began early, with guests arriving in numbers at the Kultur im Beaulieu (KiB) concert hall in Murten in time for the opening speech by the musicologist Dr. Irène Minder-Jeanneret...read more

“You write more songs than fit on an album” | plus video

When we visited him in his studio in January 2018, the long-term SUISA member Marc Sway allowed us a peek into his creative activities and his professional life as a musician. Mid-October 2018, his single “Beat of My Heart” was released as the precursor for his next album whose creation process was one of the main subjects in the video interview. Text and Video by Sibylle Roth

Marc Sway has been a SUISA member since 2003. After his recently intensive period of performing live, he is even more excited when it comes to recording his next album. His last album, “Black & White”, was released in 2014.

Songs for the coming album have been created over the last three years jointly with his long-term partner lyricists and musicians. “If you make music together you are together so many times and at such close proximity that you only want to do that with really good friends”, Marc Sway says. “That’s why I have been collaborating with the same songwriter partners for years.”

During our conversation, the 39-year-old states that songwriting has an enormously big influence on what an album is going to sound like; after all he creates the foundation to it with his compositions. Marc Sway further explains that he likes to have an objective and a concept in mind, and he is convinced that “each album is a chance to reinvent yourself”.

The single “Beat of My Heart” will be released in mid-October 2018, the new album “Way Back Home” will be published in spring 2019.

www.marcsway.ch, Marc Sway website

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When we visited him in his studio in January 2018, the long-term SUISA member Marc Sway allowed us a peek into his creative activities and his professional life as a musician. Mid-October 2018, his single “Beat of My Heart” was released as the precursor for his next album whose creation process was one of the main subjects in the video interview. Text and Video by Sibylle Roth

Marc Sway has been a SUISA member since 2003. After his recently intensive period of performing live, he is even more excited when it comes to recording his next album. His last album, “Black & White”, was released in 2014.

Songs for the coming album have been created over the last three years jointly with his long-term partner lyricists and musicians. “If you make music together...read more

Replay TV: catching up with advertising revenues

Replay TV (also known as time-shift or catch-up TV) offers consumers the option of watching television broadcasts on a time-shifted basis instead of at the regular scheduled time. This function, which is very popular with viewers, is now jeopardised by an ongoing legal and political dispute. Text by Vincent Salvadé

Replay TV: catching up with advertising revenues

Replay TV: Thanks to digital technology, viewers can go back in time up to seven days and catch up on any programmes they may have missed. (Photo: Getty Images / Steve Lawrence)

Broadcasting companies, i.e. TV channels, are demanding veto rights on the time-shifted use of their programmes. What is at stake? Their advertising revenues. After all, who will watch commercials if you can skip them in replay? This dispute is of significance for SUISA and for musical rightholders too.

Current status

In past decisions, the Federal Arbitration Commission for copyright and neighbouring rights has equated subscription to a replay TV service with copying for private use, which is permitted by Article 19(2) FCA. In exchange, rightholders (including, in this case, broadcasting companies) are entitled to remuneration in accordance with Article 20(2) FCA, levied by the collecting societies in accordance with Common Tariff 12 (CT 12).

This has been the status since 2013, and broadcasters have not disputed it before the civil courts. This situation has several advantages: the distributors of the broadcasting programmes (Swisscom TV, UPC, Sunrise, etc) can offer their customers attractive services in exchange for a fee. And the collecting societies collect the fees and pass them on to the copyright and neighbouring rights rightholders.

However, in February 2018, the Federal Arbitration Commission responsible for reviewing the tariffs of the collecting societies approved the new CT 12, which provides for a slight increase in these fees, for the period 2017 to 2020. On 21 March 2018, 23 broadcasting companies appealed this decision before the Federal Administration Court. They argued that replay TV was not governed by the legal regime for private copying, and should be subject to their consent. On 12 September 2018, the Court ruled that the broadcasting companies were not entitled to appeal.

In parallel, however, turning to account the ongoing revision of the Telecommunications Act (TCA), the broadcasting companies had also demanded veto rights for replay TV in that context. In July 2018, the Transport and Telecommunications Committee of the National Council (TTC-N) followed their reasoning and introduced Article 12e TCA. This triggered a number of reactions from stakeholders opposed to the new provision. Finally, the Committee backed down and proposed that the issue be resolved in the framework of the copyright law revision.

The issue

SUISA appreciates that broadcasting companies should seek to safeguard their advertising income. This is also in the interest of the holders of musical rights, since the tariffs governing broadcasting rights (tariff A for the SSR and Common Tariff S for private broadcasters) are based on broadcasters’ revenues.

By way of reminder: based on tariff A and CT S, SUISA collected about CHF 16.8 million in remuneration from Swiss TV broadcasters in 2017, plus an additional CHF 1.3 million from the Swiss advertising windows of foreign broadcasters. By comparison, TC 12 generated slightly over CHF 3 million for musical rightholders. We should be careful not to lop off the branch on which musical rights are sitting.

Solutions

However, granting veto rights to broadcasting companies on replay TV seems unjustified. By refusing their consent, broadcasters would limit the offer available to consumers and, as a result, reduce CT 12 revenues for rightholders. By limiting private copying options, which is now regularly the case on the cloud, we would be sounding the death knell for a system that is the envy of our neighbours and has contributed to developing innovative digital services.

We feel that existing copyright law provides for a well-balanced system: under Articles 59 and 60 FCA, remuneration under CT 12 must be fair. That means on the one hand, that distributors must compensate the broadcasting companies commensurately with the significant revenues generated by replay TV. On the other hand, Articles 59 and 60 FCA are worded in sufficiently flexible terms to take into account, at least partially, the same distributors’ loss in earnings.

At the same time, the law could require distributors to obtain the broadcaster’s consent, not to their offering replay TV services to their customers, but to enabling their customers to skip the commercials. This means distributors would have to take the necessary technical measures to prevent viewers from skipping commercials when the broadcaster withholds its consent. Consumers may at first be reluctant to accept such solutions. But such measures would be the lesser evil compared with a broadcaster veto liable to significantly limit the current offer. And, for a number of stakeholders, it is a win-win solution:

  • providers who distribute the programmes could continue offering full replay TV, while consumers could continue subscribing to that option;
  • distribution companies would be able to preserve or increase their advertising revenues since they would have an additional audience of viewers who are unable to tune into programmes at the scheduled times;
  • other rightholders would continue to collect significant broadcasting distribution revenues (tariff A and CT S in the case of musical rights) while taking advantage of the booming revenue flows from CT 12.

Switzerland always favours balanced solutions. The legal regime for replay TV should be no exception to the rule; the interests of all stakeholders must be taken into account.

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Replay TV (also known as time-shift or catch-up TV) offers consumers the option of watching television broadcasts on a time-shifted basis instead of at the regular scheduled time. This function, which is very popular with viewers, is now jeopardised by an ongoing legal and political dispute. Text by Vincent Salvadé

Replay TV: catching up with advertising revenues

Replay TV: Thanks to digital technology, viewers can go back in time up to seven days and catch up on any programmes they may have missed. (Photo: Getty Images / Steve Lawrence)

Broadcasting companies, i.e. TV channels, are demanding veto rights on the time-shifted use of their programmes. What is at stake? Their advertising revenues. After all, who will watch commercials if you can skip them in replay? This dispute is of significance for SUISA and for musical rightholders too.

Current status

In past decisions,...read more

Charles Aznavour’s songs are part of our collective identity

Charles Aznavour joined SUISA in 1976 and was one of our best-known members. The countless tributes on TV, radio and in the press around the world since his death are a reminder, if one was necessary, of the scale of his legend. They can also teach us a few important lessons. Obituary by Xavier Dayer, President of SUISA

Charles Aznavour’s songs are part of our collective identity

Charles Aznavour, pictured at the Teatro Regio di Parma on 30 October 2009, wrote lyrics and music for innumerable chansons over the course of his career. (Photo: Fabio Diena / Shutterstock)

As a singer and performer, Charles Aznavour was a genius, yet he was also an extraordinary composer and lyricist and he highlighted this essential aspect of his activities time and time again.

In the public archives of French authors’ rights society SACEM, we can find the entrance examination he took to join the society as an author in 1947. Yes, it’s true: at that time all new members had to pass an entrance exam! It is particularly moving to read the lyrics to a song called “Si je voulais”, corrected by SACEM in red ink.

It’s a powerful reminder of the steps taken by Charles Aznavour, son of Armenian immigrants, on his path from obscurity to global fame. One cannot help but see this journey as a hymn to the openness of our modern societies to the constant acceptance and awareness that cultures are enriched by these ties. At this very moment, a “Charles Aznavour” of tomorrow might be on a boat crossing the Mediterranean.

Today, Aznavour’s gravelly voice and his songs, with their distinctive words and melodies, are a part of who we are, our collective identity. His work is part of our “today” and his career is a message of hope to all creators.

Words are always pale in comparison with the power of musical expression. They cannot convey how deeply grateful we are at SUISA to have handled rights management for Charles Aznavour. This is truly an immense honour and we would like to offer our sincere condolences to his loved ones.

www.aznavourfoundation.org

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Charles Aznavour joined SUISA in 1976 and was one of our best-known members. The countless tributes on TV, radio and in the press around the world since his death are a reminder, if one was necessary, of the scale of his legend. They can also teach us a few important lessons. Obituary by Xavier Dayer, President of SUISA

Charles Aznavour’s songs are part of our collective identity

Charles Aznavour, pictured at the Teatro Regio di Parma on 30 October 2009, wrote lyrics and music for innumerable chansons over the course of his career. (Photo: Fabio Diena / Shutterstock)

As a singer and performer, Charles Aznavour was a genius, yet he was also an extraordinary composer and lyricist and he highlighted this essential aspect of his activities time and time again.

In the public archives of French authors’ rights society SACEM, we can find...read more