Switzerland finally has a new copyright law!

On 27 September 2019, both the National Council and the Council of States at last held a final vote approving the partial revision of the Swiss Federal Copyright Act, ending a process initiated in 2010 with a postulate by Géraldine Savary. It is now for the Federal Council to determine when the modernised Copyright Act will come into force – unless a referendum is successful. By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

Switzerland finally has a new copyright law!

On 16 September 2019, the National Council finally agreed to remove from the bill the disputed exception for the reception of radio and TV broadcasts in hotel rooms. This cleared the way for the two Houses to approve the revision on 27 September 2019. (Photo: Parliament Services, 3003 Bern)

At long last! The revised Copyright Act has been signed, sealed and delivered. The last differences between the National Council and the Council of States were eliminated on 16 September 2019 and the bill was adopted in a final vote at the end of the autumn parliamentary session. A long process has thus come to an end, with a satisfactory outcome for music authors and publishers.

A compromise and intense debates

A short look back: in 2012, Federal Councilor Simonetta Sommaruga created the working group AGUR12 which was instructed to prepare proposals for the revision of the Federal Copyright Act. Representing all stakeholders (authors, users of works, consumers, etc.), AGUR12 made a series of proposals, embodied in a compromise solution at the end of 2013. Unfortunately, the bill submitted by the Federal Council in 2015 deviated from this compromise solution.

In the face of the heavy criticism expressed during the consultation procedure, the Federal Council reversed its position and submitted a new bill to Parliament at the end of 2017, this time based entirely on the AGUR12 compromise. After intense debate, both Houses finally decided to espouse the compromise, even if that meant deferring consideration of a number of new issues (such as the protection of press publishers and journalists).

SUISA actively involved in the revision

SUISA accompanied the legislative process throughout the entire seven years. Firstly, by participating actively in the work of AGUR12 as part of the Suisseculture delegation. And then, by informing Members of Parliament during committee hearings, and through letters, position papers and argumentation.

With what outcome? Overall, copyright protection has been increased and modernised thanks to new anti-piracy measures and improvements in rights management in particular. No doubt one could have gone further on certain points. But a compromise is a compromise …

Finish one revision, start the next

It would be wrong to lower our guard. The “Pirate Party” has now launched a referendum against the revised Copyright Act. Moreover, the last question debated in Parliament was whether hotels which offer their guests the means to watch television, play films and listen to music in their rooms should be exempted from their obligations towards authors. The National Council eventually shelved this idea, but the debate shows that creators’ vested rights are regularly subject to attack. We must ensure we avoid … a re-revision of the revision of the law to the detriment of authors and publishers! Everything is an eternal recurrence …

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On 27 September 2019, both the National Council and the Council of States at last held a final vote approving the partial revision of the Swiss Federal Copyright Act, ending a process initiated in 2010 with a postulate by Géraldine Savary. It is now for the Federal Council to determine when the modernised Copyright Act will come into force – unless a referendum is successful. By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

Switzerland finally has a new copyright law!

On 16 September 2019, the National Council finally agreed to remove from the bill the disputed exception for the reception of radio and TV broadcasts in hotel rooms. This cleared the way for the two Houses to approve the revision on 27 September 2019. (Photo: Parliament Services, 3003 Bern)

At long last! The revised Copyright Act has been signed, sealed and delivered. The...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

Two new faces for the Board meeting in autumn

At the General Meeting in June 2019, two new members were elected into the SUISA Board. At the first meeting after the elections in the course of the autumn meetings, the Board has reconstituted itself and dealt with cost unit accounting and business strategy. Report from the Board by Andreas Wegelin

Two new faces for the Board meeting in autumn

The newly elected Board members Sylvie Reinhard (left) and Grégoire Liechti. (Photos: Simon Tanner; Sibylle Roth)

In early October, the first meetings of the newly elected Board took place. In June 2019, the General Meeting elected Sylvie Reinhard and Grégoire Liechti to replace the Board members Bertrand Liechti and Marco Zanotta who had stepped down due to the limitation of the term in office. The Board reconstituted itself during its first meeting after the elections. Marco Neeser was elected to be the new Vice President and the three Board Committees were newly appointed.

Cost unit accounting and business strategy

During its autumn meeting, the Board also dealt with the cost unit accounting for 2018 and the business strategy, just like every year. The cost unit accounting shows in detail how high the expenses for each individual usage sector or tariff in the past financial year were. It serves the purpose of identifying particularly cost intensive areas and to introduce the respective measures to improve the situation. In this context, the Executive Committee presented the processes for the licensing of concerts (Tariff K) and sound recordings (Tariff PI) in more detail.

Regarding the business strategy, the Board deliberated on the increasing competition of the collective management organisations and the huge repertoires, represented by the big publishing companies, but also the growing tendency of known authors to collect their authors´ rights directly for their performances – without the “detour” via the collective management organisations. It is expected that competition will grow.

SUISA can, compared to the collective management organisations in Germany or France, not count on its own repertoire when it comes to international fame. As a consequence, SUISA has to offer the most important services at high quality levels and at an attractive price in order to persist in the market.

Other meeting topics

Other items discussed during the meetings were the current tariff negotiations and the distribution results. SUISA´s sponsoring activities in 2020 were also a subject of the meeting in order to consider the respective amounts in time into the budget for 2020.

The Board has, finally, had some thoughts on the 100th Birthday of SUISA which will be celebrated in 2023. A little less far away, it also determined the meeting diary for 2020.

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At the General Meeting in June 2019, two new members were elected into the SUISA Board. At the first meeting after the elections in the course of the autumn meetings, the Board has reconstituted itself and dealt with cost unit accounting and business strategy. Report from the Board by Andreas Wegelin

Two new faces for the Board meeting in autumn

The newly elected Board members Sylvie Reinhard (left) and Grégoire Liechti. (Photos: Simon Tanner; Sibylle Roth)

In early October, the first meetings of the newly elected Board took place. In June 2019, the General Meeting elected Sylvie Reinhard and Grégoire Liechti to replace the Board members Bertrand Liechti and Marco Zanotta who had stepped down due to the limitation of the term in office. The Board reconstituted itself during its first meeting after the elections. Marco Neeser was elected to be the...read more

Wanted: New member for the Distribution and Works Committee

How are collections distributed to authors and publishers? Who receives how much and from which usages of their works? Such questions are the focal points of the specification of duties of SUISA’s Distribution and Works Committee. In this governing body, suggestions are worked out which influence the allocation of the collections. Are you interested in co-determining the business and to sit on the committee? If that’s the case, we look forward to your application by 30 November 2019. Text by Regula Greuter

Wanted: New member for the Distribution and Works Committee

The members of the SUISA Distribution and Works Committee are elected by the General Assembly. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

Due to the stepping down of a member of the Distribution and Works Committee (DWC), a new member needs to be elected during SUISA’s next General Assembly at the Bierhübeli in Berne on 26 June 2020.

So that the weighting of the various categories is safeguarded, the interested candidate should come from the publishers’ ranks.

Are you interested in co-determining SUISA’s future? Would you like to have the opportunity to directly influence the business activities of SUISA and to help steer the business? If that’s the case, please apply for this vacant position!

Candidates’ requirements

If you are a SUISA member with an active and passing voting right, you fulfil one of the requirements for a candidacy. You should understand the future impact of decisions taken today and not only represent your own interests but also those of other authors and publishers. The DWC meetings take place twice a year, in Berne, which means that you need to cater for one day per meeting (including travel to and from the venue and a joint lunch). The preparation time for such meetings includes the thorough study of the meeting documents which are made available electronically.

Who or what is the Distribution and Works Committee?

The DWC is a committee of the SUISA General Assembly and consists of 22 members who represent all music genres, regions and languages of Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. Composers, music publishers and lyricists sit on the committee. Finally, a balanced age and gender mix is also paramount.

You can see a list of the current committee members on the SUISA website.

Duties of the DWC

The Distribution and Works Committee is dealing primarily with questions on the distribution which is governed by the distribution rules. It performs the following duties:

  • Checks the provisions of the Distribution Rules and their implications on distribution proceeds;
  • Proposes amendments to the Distribution Rules to the Board;
  • As a first instance, handles appeals against Executive Committee decisions on the classification of broadcasting programmes, copyrightability of works and arrangement of non-protected works;
  • Evaluates in an advisory capacity unauthorised adaptations of protected works and cases of plagiarism.

Are you interested in a candidacy? If that’s the case, we look forward to your application by 30 November 2019.

SUISA, Mercedes Molina, Bellariastrasse 82, CH-8038 Zürich
E-mail: mercedes.molina (at) suisa (dot) ch

If you need any further information, please contact Ms Irène Philipp Ziebold, COO: 044 485 68 00

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How are collections distributed to authors and publishers? Who receives how much and from which usages of their works? Such questions are the focal points of the specification of duties of SUISA’s Distribution and Works Committee. In this governing body, suggestions are worked out which influence the allocation of the collections. Are you interested in co-determining the business and to sit on the committee? If that’s the case, we look forward to your application by 30 November 2019. Text by Regula Greuter

Wanted: New member for the Distribution and Works Committee

The members of the SUISA Distribution and Works Committee are elected by the General Assembly. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

Due to the stepping down of a member of the Distribution and Works Committee (DWC), a new member needs to be elected during SUISA’s next General Assembly at the Bierhübeli in Berne on...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

Summer meeting of the SUISA Board

As in previous years, the summer meeting of the SUISA Board took place on the day before the General Assembly, on Thursday, 20 June 2019, in Biel. Report from the Board by Andreas Wegelin

Summer meeting of the SUISA Board

The SUISA Board held its summer meeting the day before the General Assembly that took place at the Biel/Bienne Congress Centre, as shown in the image. (Photo: Natalie Schlumpf)

In addition to the usual final preparations for the General Assembly, the SUISA Board also noted the comprehensive report by the statutory auditors for the 2018 financial year. In general, the audit gave the management team a good report. However, it also suggested some improvements. The management team has now been tasked by the Board with actioning the proposed improvements.

The prospects for the Mint joint venture, which completed its second year of operation at the end of March 2019, was another important topic for discussion at the board meeting. The Board decided that, as the parent company of Mint, the SUISA cooperative shall provisionally waive the assertion of any claims for work and IT services provided in support of the joint venture company Mint, in the same way as the American partner SESAC.

The Board also addressed the issue of whether SUISA could offer services abroad in the future, in the event that the local collecting society is not working satisfactorily. It will decide in greater detail based on specific cases.

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The Board was once again able to note pleasing distribution results. In June 2019, beneficiaries in Switzerland and abroad received CHF 43.7 million.

Finally, the Board approved changes to the distribution rules and several adjustments to the General terms and conditions of the rights administration agreement, made necessary by the Liechtenstein collecting society regulation and the EU directive on collecting societies. The updated General terms and conditions for rights administration will be supplied to all members shortly. The changes to the distribution rules will be presented via the SUISA publishing channels once they have been approved by the regulatory authority.

After the meetings, the Board members met with heads of department and managers for an evening meal, providing the opportunity for discussion and for getting to know some new senior managers.

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As in previous years, the summer meeting of the SUISA Board took place on the day before the General Assembly, on Thursday, 20 June 2019, in Biel. Report from the Board by Andreas Wegelin

Summer meeting of the SUISA Board

The SUISA Board held its summer meeting the day before the General Assembly that took place at the Biel/Bienne Congress Centre, as shown in the image. (Photo: Natalie Schlumpf)

In addition to the usual final preparations for the General Assembly, the SUISA Board also noted the comprehensive report by the statutory auditors for the 2018 financial year. In general, the audit gave the management team a good report. However, it also suggested some improvements. The management team has now been tasked by the Board with actioning the proposed improvements.

The prospects for the Mint joint venture, which completed its second...read more

Everyone come and join us at our General Assembly in Biel/Bienne

Dear members, on 21 June 2019, it’s that time of the year again. At our General Assembly, you will have the opportunity to contact the executives of your cooperative society SUISA and to co-determine the future of your collective management organisation. On that day, we hope that we see a lot of you in Biel/Bienne. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

Everyone come and join us at our General Assembly in Biel/Bienne

Co-determine the future of your collective management organisation and find out about your cooperative society’s news first hand when you attend the SUISA General Assembly. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

At the upcoming General Assembly, two new Board members need to be elected and – for the first time in SUISA’s history – consolidated financial statements need to be approved. SUISA applied new structures for itself with a view to the digital age where listening to recorded music via the internet constantly gains importance. On the one hand, the parent company is involved in a joint venture with the US-American society SESAC, on the other hand, online licences are now issued on a global basis via a subsidiary company called SUISA Digital Licensing, based in Liechtenstein.

Be informed first hand when it comes to the latest developments in copyright legislation. Both at European as well at Swiss levels, there is a lot in motion. The European legislative proposal has, above all, driven mainly young internet users to protest on the internet and in the streets. Fired up by social media platforms, it is alleged that freedom of expression was seriously at risk because of the new copyright.

What really is happening with respect to the protection of authors and their works during the exchange on the global internet marketplace is featured on our SUISAblog for you to read, and you can also hear about it first hand at our General Assembly, among others from Géraldine Savary, member of the Swiss Council of States.

Our FONDATION SUISA, the foundation for Swiss music, has also chosen to follow new paths: Instead of granting awards to musicians that are already known, start-up funding is intended to ensure that more new music projects are brought into the limelight. I hope you have a rewarding reading on our SUISAblog and would be very pleased to personally welcome you on Friday, 21 June 2019 at our General Assembly in Biel/Bienne.

Click here for the registration form of the General Assembly.

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  1. Gerhard Hählen says:

    Wie kommt man zu einem Anmeldeformular für die GV und mit Programm der GV? Seit ich die digitale Version der Kommunikation angemeldet habe, kriege ich kein Anmeldeformular für die GV mehr?!?

  2. E.Rick Sommer says:

    Liebe SUISA am 21. Juni ist die GV in Biel könnten Sie vielleicht die Uhrzeit angeben wann beginnt die GV
    mit Freundlichen Gruss Rick

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Dear members, on 21 June 2019, it’s that time of the year again. At our General Assembly, you will have the opportunity to contact the executives of your cooperative society SUISA and to co-determine the future of your collective management organisation. On that day, we hope that we see a lot of you in Biel/Bienne. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

Everyone come and join us at our General Assembly in Biel/Bienne

Co-determine the future of your collective management organisation and find out about your cooperative society’s news first hand when you attend the SUISA General Assembly. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

At the upcoming General Assembly, two new Board members need to be elected and – for the first time in SUISA’s history – consolidated financial statements need to be approved. SUISA applied new structures for itself with a view to the digital age where listening to...read more

Overall, a positive financial year 2018

The SUISA Board and its Committees for Tariffs and Distribution as well as for Organisation and Communication met for their regular spring sessions on 9 and 10 April 2019 at the SUISA head office in Zurich. Report from the Board by Andreas Wegelin

Report from the Board: Overall, a positive financial year 2018

Apart from the Cooperative Society SUISA, there is now also a SUISA group, which includes the subsidiary company SUISA Digital Licensing and the 50% holding in the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services AG. (Photo: Natalie Schlumpf)

The most important topic during the spring meeting are traditionally the resolutions concerning the financial statements of the past year for submission to the General Assembly. SUISA publishes two financial statements in accordance with the Standard Swiss GAAP FER from this year onwards, one for the parent company, the Cooperative Society SUISA, and one consolidated financial statement for the SUISA group. The group comprises the subsidiary company SUISA Digital Licensing with headquarters in Vaduz (FL) and the 50% holding in the company Mint Digital Services AG, Zurich, a Joint Venture by SUISA and the American organisation for music rights, SESAC.

The annual financial statements of the group as well as of the parent company show an overall positive picture. Total collections reached a new high of CHF 160.8m. Income from the licensing of the online music business surpassed CHF 10m for the first time and contributed to this result.

Unfortunately, the secondary income was much lower last year. The reason for this is the bad investment year. Securities income only reached CHF 0.6m in 2018. In 2017, this amount still stood at CHF 3m. As a consequence, this difference now lacks in terms of covering expenditure for 2018. Nevertheless, cost coverage deductions taken from the settlements to members should not increase. The Board therefore decided to use more money from the liabilities that became available for the financing of the costs, and has subsequently reduced the supplementary distribution from 7% to 5%.

Preparations for the General Assembly

Additional topics were the preparation of other business for the General Assembly: the analysis of the organisation’s risks, the resulting management report and the approval of the entire annual report for submission to the GA. Lastly, nominations for two retiring Board members had to be decided upon, and documents relating to the investment policy and the compensation of Board members that had become necessary due to the new Articles of Association had to be resolved.

The Board took notice that Executive Committee was making efforts and got involved with the relevant departments to collect remuneration from abroad. In this context, it is important to take into consideration that the laws, tariffs and distribution rules are different at our sister societies and that SUISA cannot be held responsible for that. The Board therefore rejected the claim for a settlement of a member which held the view that it had not received enough remuneration for usages abroad.

Finally, the Board had to say farewell to executive assistant Dora Zeller, who is going to leave SUISA in order to retire. President Xavier Dayer expressed his thanks in the name of the entire Board for the turntable-like function that Dora Zeller had mastered with distinction throughout the last 10 years, and wished her well for the next, ‘third’ phase in her life.

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The SUISA Board and its Committees for Tariffs and Distribution as well as for Organisation and Communication met for their regular spring sessions on 9 and 10 April 2019 at the SUISA head office in Zurich. Report from the Board by Andreas Wegelin

Report from the Board: Overall, a positive financial year 2018

Apart from the Cooperative Society SUISA, there is now also a SUISA group, which includes the subsidiary company SUISA Digital Licensing and the 50% holding in the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services AG. (Photo: Natalie Schlumpf)

The most important topic during the spring meeting are traditionally the resolutions concerning the financial statements of the past year for submission to the General Assembly. SUISA publishes two financial statements in accordance with the Standard Swiss GAAP FER from this year onwards, one for the parent company, the Cooperative Society SUISA, and one...read more

SUISA General Assembly: Our members’ opinion counts

SUISA’s General Assembly takes place in the Kongresszentrum Biel (concert hall) on 21 June 2019. For the first time, two financial statements will be presented to the General Assembly; a novelty in SUISA’s history. Furthermore, there are elections on the agenda: The entire Board needs to be newly elected, as does the Distribution and Works Committee; there are also by-elections for the Complaints Committee. Text by Dora Zeller

SUISA General Assembly 2019: Our members’ opinion counts

Last year, voting members and guests gathered in Berne (see picture). The next General Assembly of SUISA takes place on Friday, 21 June 2019 in the concert hall of the Congress Centre in Biel. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

At the SUISA General Assembly 2019, the agenda item annual report includes, apart from the usual financial statements of the Cooperative Society for the year 2018, the consolidated financial statements for the SUISA group and will be presented to voting members for approval for the first time. The consolidated financial statements contain the annual accounts of the organisations which are directly or indirectly controlled by SUISA. They include SUISA Digital Licensing AG, based in Vaduz (FL) as well as the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services AG, where SUISA has 50% in holdings. Both sets of statements were examined by auditing firm BDO and recommended for approval.

Election of the Board

Of the 15 current members of the SUISA Board, 13 are standing for re-election for another term of office. Two previous members are going to leave the Board due to the limitation of the term of office: Marco Zanotta (Vice President) and Bertrand Liechti (President of the Board Committee for Finance and Controlling) have been contributing to SUISA’s developments for 20 years. Prior to their official farewell, they are going to look back on their time in the office and share their memories and some highlights with the audience.

The two nominees for the Board that have been proposed are intended to lower the average age of the Board: Grégoire Liechti, born in 1981, from Geneva, is intended to replace Bertrand Liechti; Sylvie Reinhard, entrepreneur, born in 1980, shall supersede Marco Zanotta. While Grégoire Liechti brings long-term national and international experience in the publishing business to the table, Sylvie Reinhard complements the Board’s skills and knowledge in the digital innovation and culture sector.

Other election business

The Distribution and Works Committee is made up of a maximum of 22 members; 21 are standing for re-election. Grégoire Liechti, member since 2015, stood down from the Committee and is running for a Board position. Regarding the by-elections the nominations committee is going to provide information on the seat that is going to become vacant via the usual publication channels for the GA 2020 and ask the relevant associations of music authors and publishers for a pre-selection.

At the GA 2018, the seat reserved for the second expert remained vacant in the newly created Complaints Committee. The Board is now tabling the motion in the General Assembly to elect Marco Zanotta as an external member into the Complaints Committee. He is neither an associate nor a member of SUISA.

Compensation and investment policy

The Articles of Association which had been revised at the last General Assembly and have been in force since 01 January 2019 provide the General Assembly with new powers. It is responsible for the compensation and other benefits to the President and the Board members and also for the overall investment policy. To this end, the Board is going to present the compensation regulations in force since 2009 and has worked out the general provisions regarding the investment policy and asks for its approval.

Finally, the SUISA GA provides an opportunity once more for members to exchange experience with other members and with guests from politics, culture, associations etc. and to hold conversations with SUISA staff. Use these opportunities for participating in decision-making and exchange and we look forward to a high turnout on Friday, 21 June 2019, in Biel.

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SUISA’s General Assembly takes place in the Kongresszentrum Biel (concert hall) on 21 June 2019. For the first time, two financial statements will be presented to the General Assembly; a novelty in SUISA’s history. Furthermore, there are elections on the agenda: The entire Board needs to be newly elected, as does the Distribution and Works Committee; there are also by-elections for the Complaints Committee. Text by Dora Zeller

SUISA General Assembly 2019: Our members’ opinion counts

Last year, voting members and guests gathered in Berne (see picture). The next General Assembly of SUISA takes place on Friday, 21 June 2019 in the concert hall of the Congress Centre in Biel. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

At the SUISA General Assembly 2019, the agenda item annual report includes, apart from the usual financial statements of the Cooperative Society for the year 2018, the consolidated...read more

The first year of SUISA Digital Licensing AG

A little more than one and a half years ago, SUISA founded its subsidiary company, SUISA Digital Licensing AG. The subsidiary company has now completed its first business year. A year which was under the auspices of development and brought about a multitude of new findings. It is time for retrospection and a first interim summary. Text by Fabian Niggemeier

The first year of SUISA Digital Licensing AG

The first business year of SUISA Digital Licensing AG was influenced by negotiations with many music service providers, successfully and jointly held with the SESAC Digital Licensing AG. (Photo: MichaelJayBerlin / Shutterstock.com)

By launching the subsidiary company, in short SUISA Digital, SUISA has outsourced cross-border and international online licensing in its entirety. SUISA is, from now, only responsible for the licensing of music uses on homepages and music services which only address a Swiss audience.

SUISA Digital’s responsibilities

SUISA has, for nearly six years, issued pan-European licences for online uses. In other words, the rights of SUISA members in the online world are not granted just for Switzerland, but directly for the whole of Europe. Thanks to the outstanding IT systems in this sector, SUISA was able to significantly increase the income of its members.

Another step followed in 2017: SUISA founded the Joint Venture, Mint Digital Services, with US collective management organisation SESAC. Until then, SUISA negotiated agreements with internet music providers (music service providers, abbreviated to MSPs) and managed the agreements itself upon their conclusion. With the creation of the Joint Venture, these two fundamental activities were split and outsourced. Mint Digital Services is responsible for the administration of the agreements i.e. the technical processing and invoicing in the name of the rights holders, whereas SUISA Digital is responsible for market monitoring, market penetration and the negotiation of the agreements. By way of another new introduction, the territory where the agreements apply was extended from Europe to nearly the whole world.

SUISA Digital is thus building a global licensing system and also offers this system to third parties. Collective management organisations from other countries can instruct SUISA Digital just like publishers can (for their Anglo-American repertoire), or authors from all over the world. That way, a cost-efficient management of rights can be ensured in the best possible manner.

Joint licences

SUISA Digital does not pursue this task by itself. It is in the interest of the rights holders as well as the MSPs to structure the negotiations in as efficient a manner as possible. That means to cover and govern as many rights as possible with as few agreements as possible. For this reason, SUISA Digital offers all MSPs to extend their agreements to the repertoire of SESAC Digital Licensing AG (in short: SESAC Digital). Provided that the MSP agrees, SUISA Digital and SESAC Digital jointly lead the negotiations and bundle their repertoire into a joint licence.

This is in the interest of the MSPs since it means they have to undertake less negotiation efforts, but also in the interest of SUISA Digital and SESAC Digital since a highly interesting “package” can be offered to the providers by joining up the repertoires. The advantage of this package is also that it does not just contain compositions which are used in Switzerland or Europe but also create a high demand globally.

The negotiations

At the end of 2017, a small but motivated team only focussed on preparing the negotiations. A multitude of information and figures had to be gathered and linked. Designing the agreement for areas outside Switzerland and Europe presented some challenges to the negotiation team. The parties agreed that the price of music should be linked mainly to the local significance of the music and the local buying power. It can thus be ensured that an adequate remuneration can be invoiced which remains affordable to the consumers.

Economic deliberations also made it clear that the big MSPs had to be approached first. The six biggest providers are responsible for 80% of the turnover. This statistical average does, of course, not apply for the music of all members: Those who are active in a specific music genre will at best have a bigger turnover on the platforms that focus specially on that genre. It was nevertheless paramount to prioritise the providers in line with their market share; knowing that certain big providers would be among the negotiation partners that would be harder to deal with.

Involving a mix of consistency, comprehension and rigour it was possible to make good progress in the negotiations. After twelve months, agreements could be entered into with all big MSPs or the negotiations are close to being concluded. Since these agreements are now ‘safe’, the next task is to complete the market penetration.

Until now, agreements with the following providers were jointly entered into with SESAC Digital:
YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Deezer, Beatport, Facebook, Soundcloud, Melody VR, and Qobuz.

Joint negotiations are underway with the following providers:
Amazon, Napster, Tidal, Juke, 7Digital, dailymotion, Mixcloud, Red Karaoke, Soundtrack your Brand, What people play, Anghami, Auro, Bleep, Emoticast, Idagio, Smule, Xtendamix, Yousician, Better Day Wireless, DJ City, Juno, Linn Record, Musically, Recisio und Radionomy.

Add to that another approximately 20 MSPs from which feedback is due, as well as about 10 MSPs which are only active on a national level in the selected territories.

Distribution

As mentioned at the outset, the relevant agreements are processed and administered by the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services. The distribution of the income is, however, done by SUISA Digital and SUISA. A minimum of six months lies between the usage period and the distribution. The reason for this is that we do not represent the global repertoire, compared to the traditional offline sector. We can thus not invoice everything and then distribute, but only what we identify.

In this context, we depend on the collaboration by our members: The quicker they notify us of their works, the faster we can generate the invoices. For this reason, we are waiting between 60 and 100 days before we process the reports, depending on the MSP. That way, we can ensure that the majority of the new works and thus works with the highest usage levels has been registered and can be distributed by us. The distribution of the income is then made, at the latest, in the quarter after the payment from the MSPs has reached us.

There are going to be bigger settlements in due course. Since all agreements had to be renegotiated, no invoices could be sent out during the ongoing negotiations. In the cases of Spotify or Deezer, this led to the fact that the uses of the entire year 2018 were only invoiced at the beginning of 2019.

Outlook

During the second business year, SUISA Digital is going to focus firstly on achieving a coverage of the internet music market which is as complete as possible. Secondly, it is paramount that new markets, also outside of Europe, will be opened up and to ensure that SUISA members receive the remuneration they are due from anywhere in the world. For this purpose, we are constantly collaborating with Mint to improve systems and processes in order to continue providing our members with the best possible services in future.

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  1. Walter Thut says:

    Guten Tag,
    einen Fall welcher mich und andere von der SUISA vertretene Komponisten betrifft, und die oben genannten Zeitverschiebungen bei den Abrechnungungen fuer Urheber stark in Frage stellt, moechte ich gerne hier beschreiben:

    Die Urheber des bei dere SUISA angemeldeten Songs BACK TO THE DIRTY TOWN haben viele Millionen Clicks uf Youtube, und viele Screenshots Belege dass dieser Song seit 2017 z.B. in der Schweiz, Frankreich und den USA dauernd Webungen vorgeschaltet hat.

    Leider haben die Urherber von der SUISA noch keine einzige Ueberweisung erhalten. Obwohl die SUISA uns vor mehr als einem Jahr bestatigt hat, dass sie cies Clicks auch erfasst haben, und dass wir Verguetungen von der SUISA bis spaetestens Ende 2018 bekommen werden, haben wir noch keine einzige Abrechung dazu, und keinen einzigen Rappen ueberwiesen erhalten.

    Bei unserem digitalen Vertrieb funktioniert hingegen die Abrechnung sehr gut, und liegt bei mehreren Tausend CHF pro Jahr.

    Was stimmt hier nicht?

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.

Your email address will not be published.

A little more than one and a half years ago, SUISA founded its subsidiary company, SUISA Digital Licensing AG. The subsidiary company has now completed its first business year. A year which was under the auspices of development and brought about a multitude of new findings. It is time for retrospection and a first interim summary. Text by Fabian Niggemeier

The first year of SUISA Digital Licensing AG

The first business year of SUISA Digital Licensing AG was influenced by negotiations with many music service providers, successfully and jointly held with the SESAC Digital Licensing AG. (Photo: MichaelJayBerlin / Shutterstock.com)

By launching the subsidiary company, in short SUISA Digital, SUISA has outsourced cross-border and international online licensing in its entirety. SUISA is, from now, only responsible for the licensing of music uses on homepages and music services which only address a...read more