Report of the task force of the SUISA Board of Directors – end of June 2020

In April 2020, SUISA’s Board of Directors set up a working group to respond as quickly as possible to the negative financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis on SUISA and to identify cost-saving measures together with the Executive Committee.

Report of the task force of the SUISA Board of Directors - end of June 2020

In view of the expected negative economic consequences of the lockdown on SUISA, initial cost-saving measures were taken and a corona budget was drawn up. (Photo: Yuttapon Busu / Shutterstock.com)

Several meetings were held for this purpose, and we would like to share with all SUISA members the main points arising from these ongoing discussions.

The Executive Committee estimates that the losses in connection with the Covid-19 crisis currently amount to around 25% of budgeted revenues for 2020. Initial cost-cutting measures have already been taken to reduce costs, provided that negative impacts on SUISA’s regular operations and important development projects (e.g. online access to “My Account” for members, self-service portal for clients) are avoided.

The issue of short-time work was discussed as a possible solution to reduce costs. SUISA’s Executive Committee drew the attention of the task force to the fact that short-time work would currently have a negative impact on the collection of royalty income, especially in the area of smaller performances, and on SUISA’s regular operations. Although almost all concerts between the end of March and the end of May were cancelled, the work of SUISA’s staff has not yet decreased significantly, partly because additional services such as the emergency support fund are now being provided for members.

The Executive Committee drew up a corona budget, which now serves as a reference basis (the budget for 2020, which was adopted in autumn 2019, is no longer realistic due to the crisis). In the corona budget, the reduction in collections is offset by using the funds normally released for our supplementary distributions to cover costs. For this purpose, an upper limit was set for the use of the released totals. It is therefore unlikely that there will be any supplementary distribution next year.

The task force clearly spoke out against an increase of the current maximum deduction of costs of 15% in the distributions to members. The Executive Committee is therefore urged to undertake all reasonable cost savings.

The task force and the Executive Committee are well aware that the economic consequences of the lockdown and especially the ban on events in spring 2020 may linger on for longer and that they are not yet immediately visible: It will therefore examine all realistic savings measures not only in the short but also in the medium term. In this context, it is also important to consider which services could then no longer be provided to members for cost reasons.

All the above items were approved by the Committee for Finance and Controlling and the Board of Directors.

The task force will continue to meet monthly with the Executive Committee to discuss further developments. It will report to the full Board of Directors at every opportunity so that the latter can take decisions quickly if the situation so requires.

The task force:

Xavier Dayer
Marco Neeser
Rainer Bischof
Roman Camenzind

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In April 2020, SUISA’s Board of Directors set up a working group to respond as quickly as possible to the negative financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis on SUISA and to identify cost-saving measures together with the Executive Committee.

Report of the task force of the SUISA Board of Directors - end of June 2020

In view of the expected negative economic consequences of the lockdown on SUISA, initial cost-saving measures were taken and a corona budget was drawn up. (Photo: Yuttapon Busu / Shutterstock.com)

Several meetings were held for this purpose, and we would like to share with all SUISA members the main points arising from these ongoing discussions.

The Executive Committee estimates that the losses in connection with the Covid-19 crisis currently amount to around 25% of budgeted revenues for 2020. Initial cost-cutting measures have already been taken to reduce costs, provided that negative impacts on SUISA’s regular...read more

Corona budget up to the end of May has been met

For the second time, the Board of Directors had to hold its regular meetings as video conferences due to corona. Of course, the financial situation due to the pandemic was also the most important topic at these meetings. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

Corona budget up to the end of May has been met

The impact of the corona crisis on the financial situation of the Cooperative was the main topic at the meetings of SUISA’s Board of Directors on 25 and 26 June 2020. (Photo: Bartolomiej Pietrzyk / Shutterstock.com)

The Board of Directors took note of the revenue figures up to the end of May 2020, which have fallen by 15.5% compared to the original budget for performing rights. In terms of total sales, the decline is still 7.7%. The Executive Committee therefore presented a corona budget as early as April. The budget could be met until the end of May. Revenues are even slightly higher (+3.1%).

It is important to know, however, that these revenues generated by the end of May originate from the time before the cancellation of all events. The impact on revenues due to the events that have been cancelled since mid-March will only be felt in the second half of the year. Savings were made on the cost side (–3%), but the current bonds and securities situation had a negative impact.

Audit report, Mint, PRS

The Board of Directors also acknowledged the comprehensive report of the auditors, BDO, and discussed various report points with the Executive Committee.

With regard to the joint venture Mint Digital Services with the American society SESAC, the Board of Directors was informed about the planning of licensing activities in the coming months and the roadmap 2020–24. It is planned to extend the direct licensing of our repertoire to India, Australasia and Africa. In this context, the Board of Directors decided to grant guarantees for the licensing of large publishing catalogues.

The renewal of the reciprocal representation agreement with the English sister society PRS was also a topic at the Board meeting. PRS is taking a critical stance regarding the deductions from revenues for social purposes as provided for in our Articles of Association. This could lead to a revision of the Articles of Association after further negotiations with the PRS.

Waiver of attendance fees in favour of emergency fund

In view of the difficult situation for many cultural performers and especially for SUISA members, the Board of Directors decided to waive its attendance fees in favour of SUISA’s recently established emergency fund. Executive Committee members also waive parts of their salaries in a similar amount in favour of a reduction in personnel costs.

Report of the task force of the SUISA Board of Directors – end of June 2020
In April 2020, SUISA’s Board of Directors set up a working group to respond as quickly as possible to the negative financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis on SUISA and to identify cost-saving measures together with the Executive Committee. Read more
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A Board Meeting focused on the coronavirusA Board Meeting focused on the coronavirus To comply with coronavirus regulations, SUISA’s Board met for the first time by video conference on 28 and 29 April 2020. Board members were connected by sound and video from their respective home offices. After a short period of accustomation, the meeting proceeded apace without any significant communications problems. Even thorny issues were debated and decided in this way. Read more
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For the second time, the Board of Directors had to hold its regular meetings as video conferences due to corona. Of course, the financial situation due to the pandemic was also the most important topic at these meetings. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

Corona budget up to the end of May has been met

The impact of the corona crisis on the financial situation of the Cooperative was the main topic at the meetings of SUISA’s Board of Directors on 25 and 26 June 2020. (Photo: Bartolomiej Pietrzyk / Shutterstock.com)

The Board of Directors took note of the revenue figures up to the end of May 2020, which have fallen by 15.5% compared to the original budget for performing rights. In terms of total sales, the decline is still 7.7%. The Executive Committee therefore presented a corona budget as early...read more

SUISA General Meeting: Emergency fund for authors and publishers approved

SUISAʼs General Meeting approved the emergency fund for composers, lyricists and publishers of music in the amount of CHF 1.5 million. In addition, Swiss yodeller, singer, composer and publisher Melanie Oesch was elected to the SUISA Board. For the first time in SUISAʼs history, the General Meeting was held in written form due to the Covid-19 pandemic this year. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; interview with Melanie Oesch by Erika Weibel; video by Nina Müller

SUISAʼs General Meeting should have been held this year on 26 June at the Bierhübeli in Bern. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the ban on events imposed in March, the SUISA Board decided in April to hold the General Meeting in written form. For the first time in the Cooperativeʼs history, SUISA members were able to vote and elect by post and, in the case of some members from abroad, by e-mail.

Covid-19: Emergency fund for authors and publishers

In addition to statutory business such as approving the annual accounts or granting the discharge to the SUISA Board and the auditing firm BDO, the emergency fund for authors and publishers was one of the most important items on the agenda of this yearʼs General Meeting. In view of the current precarious situation for music professionals, the SUISA Board decided on 6 April 2020 that SUISA should make additional funds available to cover losses in copyright royalties incurred by SUISA members due to the cancellation of events and closure of businesses ordered by the authorities. The fund of CHF 1.5 million is intended to compensate composers, lyricists and publishers of music who find themselves in distress as a result of the corona crisis for proven loss of SUISA-related income. The General Meetingapproved the relief fund by a large majority.

Michael Hug elected to the Distribution and Works Commission

In addition, two by-elections were held at this yearʼs General Assembly. To replace Grégoire Liechti, who was elected to the SUISA Executive Committee last year, music publisher Michael Hug was elected to the Distribution and Works Commission (VWK) for the current term of office until 2023.

Michael Hug is Managing Director of the Ruh Musik AG publishing house, founded in 1910. The publishing house is nationally and internationally renowned for the publication of wind music; the catalogue also includes numerous works of classical and choral music. Michael Hug and his wife took over the company from his father in 2009. He recognised the signs of the times early on and digitised his entire catalogue. In 2012, the foundation for music promotion of SUISA, the FONDATION SUISA, awarded him a prize for his digital distribution platform for sheet music; at the time, the jury particularly emphasised his innovative spirit and sustainable concept. Michael Hug is 55 years old and – like all his predecessors in the publishing house – is also musically active himself.

Melanie Oesch new on the SUISA Board of Directors

A by-election was also necessary for SUISAʼsBoard of Directors, following the unexpected death of Reto Parolari, conductor, composer and long-standing member of theBoard, in December 2019. The Swiss yodeller, singer, composer and publisher Melanie Oesch (Oeschʼs die Dritten) was newly elected to SUISAʼs Boardfor the current term of office until 2023.

Melanie Oesch is, as part of Oeschʼs die Dritten, one of the most successful representatives of traditional folklore music. Melanie Oesch is 33 years old and has been a member of SUISA since 2006.

In a video interview, she tells us what SUISA means to her: “SUISAʼs work is very important to me. I would never have the time to claim the money I am entitled to everywhere myself and I also lack the knowledge about it.” She particularly appreciates SUISAʼs expertise: “I am glad SUISA has so many professionals who have been working on this issue for years and who are committed to it”, says Melanie Oesch.

Melanie Oesch was very pleased and honoured by the question whether she would like to become a member of the Board. She would like to bring her experience as a folk musician to the Board: “In folk music there are many pieces which are very old. It is often not clear whether the composers are still alive and where [the pieces] are published.” The type of pieces in folk music is also special. “For example, a yodel doesnʼt have a classical text, and yet it has a kind of text,” explains the Bernese-born artist.

As a member of the Board, Melanie Oesch would like to change something about the disagreements between organisers and artists. According to her assessment, certain organisers feel disadvantaged because they are small and have the feeling of having to pay a lot anyway. She would like to improve mediation between SUISA and the organisers.

Altogether 1576 composers, text authors, music publishers and heirs participated in the written voting and electing process. An overview of the results of the SUISA General Meeting 2020 can be found at www.suisa.ch/generalmeeting

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SUISAʼs General Meeting approved the emergency fund for composers, lyricists and publishers of music in the amount of CHF 1.5 million. In addition, Swiss yodeller, singer, composer and publisher Melanie Oesch was elected to the SUISA Board. For the first time in SUISAʼs history, the General Meeting was held in written form due to the Covid-19 pandemic this year. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; interview with Melanie Oesch by Erika Weibel; video by Nina Müller

SUISAʼs General Meeting should have been held this year on 26 June at the Bierhübeli in Bern. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the ban on events imposed in March, the SUISA Board decided in April to hold the General Meeting in written form. For the first time in the Cooperativeʼs history, SUISA members were able to vote...read more

From forte to pianissimo in just a few beats

In 2019, SUISA recorded its best results in its 96-yrear history, with total revenues of CHF 171 million. Moreover, thanks to the excellent investment year in 2019, its investment performance also attained record heights. After deducting an average cost-coverage contribution of 13% from total royalty revenues of CHF 155.2 million, SUISA will be able to distribute CHF 135 million to rightholders in Switzerland and abroad. And yet, three months on, everything has changed. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

From forte to pianissimo in just a few beats

Three months after SUISA’s gratifying 2019 financial statements, instruments in concert halls fell silent. (Photo: VTT Studio / Shutterstock.com)

No sooner had SUISA announced its best results in its 96-year history, than a general ban was imposed on all public events, and all venues were shut down in March 2020, triggering an unprecedented negative record: one after the other, concerts, shows and dance events were cancelled. Overnight, bookings were struck from musicians’ calendars. In concert venues, musical instruments fell silent.

This cannot fail to impact SUISA’s business. Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, we are currently assuming that SUISA’s total revenues – and therefore the amount available for distribution – will fall by up to 25% by the end of 2020. Nobody can tell for sure today, much will depend on how the epidemic develops here and abroad, but a hefty recession seems imminent. It will take time to get back to normalcy, and we expect recovery to be no more than hesitant next year too.

In this crisis, SUISA is determined to prove itself a reliable partner both for music creators and music users. Appropriate measures have been put in place to support musicians, and an accommodating approach has been adopted towards customer payments. Meanwhile, new online forms of music performance are becoming more important as a source of royalties. Streaming may be the technology of the hour, but it only brings authors and music publishers a fraction of the revenues generated by live concerts.

“In this crisis, SUISA is determined to prove itself a reliable partner both for music creators and music users.”

SUISA has remained and remains active during the corona crisis. We are the hub for inquiries from members and customers. Although there are fewer events, we intend to maintain and even expand our services through automation. Unfortunately, the Board and the Executive Committee will not be able to welcome members personally to the General Meeting in Bern this year. To have a say in SUISA’s affairs, members will have to send in their vote by post. We encourage you to make use of this opportunity.

In any event, the employees at our three offices in Zurich, Lugano and Lausanne remain at your disposal. When work is slow, staff will be able to attend training courses; moreover, we are working full speed to develop online self-service services to give you more time to focus on your strengths. Making music, innovating, promoting. Despite the corona crisis, I wish you a challenging and productive summer.

SUISA matters: SUISAinfo 3.20, digital only
This autumn, the News for SUISA members will be sent by e-mail in digital format only. To contain costs in this difficult year, the hardcopy printed version will not be produced. SUISA provides regular news updates via www.suisa.ch, www.suisablog.ch, and SUISA Music Stories on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube. (Manu Leuenberger)
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In 2019, SUISA recorded its best results in its 96-yrear history, with total revenues of CHF 171 million. Moreover, thanks to the excellent investment year in 2019, its investment performance also attained record heights. After deducting an average cost-coverage contribution of 13% from total royalty revenues of CHF 155.2 million, SUISA will be able to distribute CHF 135 million to rightholders in Switzerland and abroad. And yet, three months on, everything has changed. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

From forte to pianissimo in just a few beats

Three months after SUISA’s gratifying 2019 financial statements, instruments in concert halls fell silent. (Photo: VTT Studio / Shutterstock.com)

No sooner had SUISA announced its best results in its 96-year history, than a general ban was imposed on all public events, and all venues were shut down in March 2020, triggering an unprecedented negative record: one...read more

No General Meeting 2020 – but voting by correspondence instead

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the General Meeting cannot take place in its usual form. However, members with voting rights may still have a say in the destiny of their SUISA Cooperative by casting their votes by letter. Text by Andreas Wegelin

No General Assembly 2020 – but voting by correspondence instead

By way of exception, SUISAʼs 2020 General Assembly (GA) will be held by letter: To participate in the vote, members entitled to vote shall return their completed voting form by post, which must reach SUISA by 26 June 2020. (Photo: Juerg Isler, isler-fotografie.ch)

This yearʼs General Meeting, the annual highlight of social life at the SUISA Cooperative, should have taken place on Friday, 26 June 2020, at 11 a.m. at the Bierhübeli in Bern. However, this is not possible because of the corona pandemic, even if it is not yet known exactly when the ban on assembly will be relaxed for which size of events. In any case, the organisation of a general meeting requires a preparation time of about two months.

The Board therefore decided on 29 April 2020 that this yearʼs General Meeting can only be held by correspondence by way of exception. This decision is in conformity with the Federal Council guidelines in the Covid-19 Ordinance 2. In the sense of emergency law, the latter exceptionally permits running an GA in such a way, although the process of forming an opinion will be restricted due to the fact that there will be no “live” discussion at the GA.

1. Organisational execution

From 27 May 2020, all members with voting rights will receive an invitation by mail to participate in the postal vote on the resolutions of the General Meeting. The members entitled to vote have the opportunity to return the completed personalised voting form as soon as they receive the invitation. The letter with the voting form must reach SUISA by 26 June 2020.

The results of the votes are then counted by the election office headed by Dr. Bernhard Wittweiler (head of SUISAʼs Legal Department).

On 30 June 2020, the results of the vote and election will be formally established by the President, the Secretary (who will be in charge of the minutes), the CEO and the Head of the Legal Department on the basis of the count and published on the SUISA website on the same day.

The submitted voting documents are confidential and will be kept until the end of the period of appeal (two months after the resolution is passed, 31 August 2020) and then destroyed.

2. Agenda of the vote by correspondence instead of the 2020 GA

In addition to the usual statutory business – acceptance of the minutes, resolutions on the annual accounts, the management report and the annual report of the SUISA Cooperative and the SUISA Group – two seats on committees must also be filled.

2.1 By-election for the Board
Our long-standing board member Reto Parolari passed away suddenly and completely unexpectedly on 15 December 2019. The Board proposes to elect Melanie Oesch as successor to the Board.

Melanie Oesch grew up near Thun in the canton of Bern and attended the music high school in Thun. She appeared on stage for the first time at the age of five and inspired the audience with her unique tongue twisting. With her many ideas and plans, Melanie is, in many areas, the creative mind at Oeschʼs die Dritten.

Oesch’s die Dritten are a Swiss folk music group from the Bernese Oberland, consisting of Hansueli and Annemarie Oesch, their children Melanie, Kevin and Mike and accordionist Urs Meier. Their breakthrough in the German-speaking world came in 2007: Oeschʼs die Dritten won the young talent competition of the “Musikantenstadl” and since then have been a regular guest in various folk music programmes on television and at major folk music events. In October 2008, they won with the Ku-Ku yodel in the SRF-1 programme “The greatest Swiss hits”. Melanie Oesch revolutionises a certain form of yodelling and contributes to the spread of folk music through her musical activity. Among other things, she was an exceptional yodeler in Stefan Raabʼs “TV total”. Then there was the duet with Helene Fischer, in their Christmas show 2016, which convinced fans and non-fans alike. As an author, she has published two childrensʼ books together with the illustrator Christina Wald.

Melanie Oesch has been a member of SUISA as an author since 2006. The Oesch Music Verlag, which she heads, is also a member of SUISA. She is also a member of the “Phono Performers” expert committee at Swissperform.

2.2 By-election for the Distribution and Works Committee
At the last General Meeting, Grégoire Liechti was elected to SUISA’s Board of Directors. He therefore resigned from the Distribution and Works Committee. The Board proposes Michael Hug from the publishing category as replacement. He is the Managing Director of Ruh Musik AG and leads the family business, founded in 1910, in the 4th generation. Ruh Musik is nationally and internationally known for the publication of brass music; the catalogue also includes numerous works of classical and choral music. Ruh Musik is a sub-publisher for several renowned brass music publishers and has also expanded its catalogue in recent years to include publishers such as Edition Cron Lucerne and Belgano.

Michael Hug and his wife took over the company from his father in 2009. He recognised the signs of the times early on and digitised his entire catalogue. In 2012, he was awarded by the FONDATION SUISA as a publisher for his digital distribution platform for sheet music; the jury particularly praised his innovative spirit and sustainable concept.
Michael Hug is 55 years old and – like all his predecessors in the publishing house – is also musically active himself.

Even in times of crisis, shaping SUISAʼs future is important. For once, those members who would otherwise be prevented from attending the General Meeting may also participate in the written voting process. We hope that many will participate. Information on the General Assembly as well as documents and records can be found at: www.suisa.ch/en/members/general-assembly.html

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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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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the General Meeting cannot take place in its usual form. However, members with voting rights may still have a say in the destiny of their SUISA Cooperative by casting their votes by letter. Text by Andreas Wegelin

No General Assembly 2020 – but voting by correspondence instead

By way of exception, SUISAʼs 2020 General Assembly (GA) will be held by letter: To participate in the vote, members entitled to vote shall return their completed voting form by post, which must reach SUISA by 26 June 2020. (Photo: Juerg Isler, isler-fotografie.ch)

This yearʼs General Meeting, the annual highlight of social life at the SUISA Cooperative, should have taken place on Friday, 26 June 2020, at 11 a.m. at the Bierhübeli in Bern. However, this is not possible because of the corona pandemic, even if it is not yet known exactly...read more

A Board Meeting focused on the coronavirus

To comply with coronavirus regulations, SUISA’s Board met for the first time by video conference on 28 and 29 April 2020. Board members were connected by sound and video from their respective home offices. After a short period of accustomation, the meeting proceeded apace without any significant communications problems. Even thorny issues were debated and decided in this way. Report from the Board by Andreas Wegelin

A Board Meeting focused on the coronavirus

Based on our current state of knowledge, we expect a 25% drop in total budgeted revenues owing to event cancellations and business shutdowns in the wake of the restrictions ordered by the public authorities to contain the corona pandemic. (Photo: RomeoLu / Shutterstock.com)

The main items on the Board’s spring agenda are the approval of the annual financial statements, status report and business report and their referral to the General Meeting, as well as the preparation of the agenda for the General Meeting.

SUISA’s 2019 financial statements show highly satisfactory results. Royalty revenues totaled CHF 155.25m, a 3% increase over the prior year. As a result, after deducting costs, CHF 129.34m will be distributed to beneficiaries in Switzerland and abroad in 2020. Moreover, thanks to significant investment income, an additional 7% can be distributed on all settlements.

Written vote instead of a 2020 General Meeting

The Board decided that, by way of exception, the business on the agenda for this year’s General Meeting will be put to a written vote since there is no assurance that the meeting scheduled for 26 June at the Bierhübeli in Bern will effectively be able to take place. The documentation for voting by correspondence will be sent to members at the end of May.

Two by-elections to the Committees are also on General Meeting’s agenda – and will be held this time in writing: the Board proposes Michael Hug to succeed Grégoire Liechti in the Distribution and Works Committee. Melanie Oesch is the designated candidate to succeed the late Reto Parolari as Member of the Board.

Course of business during the corona crisis: the Board establishes a task force

Apart from the usual items on the agenda for the spring meeting, discussions in the Board focused on corona-related threats, or rather, on the consequences of business shutdowns and the ban on events. Meanwhile, it is known that no large concerts will take place until the end of August at least, and that smaller events will only be allowed under stringent health and security measures liable to impact audience size. It is quite conceivable that these restrictions will remain in force for a longer period.

Under the circumstances, we expect SUISA’s budget for revenues from concerts, events and music entertainment in the hospitality industry to be cut by half. This translates into a reduction of 25%, or CHF 38m, in SUISA’s total budgeted revenues. A more accurate forecast cannot yet be made given the lack of visibility until the end of the year. The Board has established a task force to examine, together with the Executive Committee, how the loss in revenue will impact the course of business, and to identify the necessary cost-cutting measures.

Developments in the online licensing market

Another important topic in the context of SUISA’s consolidated annual financial statements was the development of the online licensing market. For three years now, SUISA Digital Licensing has been licensing the rights of SUISA members not only in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, but throughout Europe – and even worldwide where the agreements so allow – through Mint Digital Services, SUISA’s joint venture with SESAC, the US rights’ management organisation.

By pooling repertoires, SUISA has become an important provider of services in this field with Mint. The two start-up companies Mint and SUISA Digital Licensing are not yet profitable. The Board has therefore instructed the Executive Committee to prepare and present a detailed evaluation of the break-even prospects, calculated under various scenarios.

The next meetings of the Board, to be held in video conferencing again, are scheduled for 25 May and 25 June 2020.

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  1. Yannick Popesco says:

    Bonjour étant membre de la Suisa et artiste actif je me pose une question importante.

    Y’a-t-il actuellement une lutte en cours pour le statut suisse d’intermittent du spectacle ?
    Quel est le statut légal de l’artiste pour l’instant ?

    Salutations,
    Yannick Popesco (artiste indépendant)

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To comply with coronavirus regulations, SUISA’s Board met for the first time by video conference on 28 and 29 April 2020. Board members were connected by sound and video from their respective home offices. After a short period of accustomation, the meeting proceeded apace without any significant communications problems. Even thorny issues were debated and decided in this way. Report from the Board by Andreas Wegelin

A Board Meeting focused on the coronavirus

Based on our current state of knowledge, we expect a 25% drop in total budgeted revenues owing to event cancellations and business shutdowns in the wake of the restrictions ordered by the public authorities to contain the corona pandemic. (Photo: RomeoLu / Shutterstock.com)

The main items on the Board’s spring agenda are the approval of the annual financial statements, status report and business report and their referral...read more

Collective management is a service for music creators and music users alike

Whether it’s background music in businesses or the new blanket license deal covering videos with music on the internet for small businesses: In both cases, a lot of music by a lot of rightsholders (composers, lyricists, music publishers) is used by a large number of companies. SUISA acts as a point of contact for these companies as well as for the beneficiaries, simplifying the authorisation for the use of works and processing the due copyright royalties. By Irène Philipp Ziebold, COO

Collective management is a service for music creators and music users alike

With offers such as the newly introduced annual flat rate for online use of music in web videos, SUISA is simplifying how copyright royalties are processed, for customers and beneficiaries alike. (Photo: one photo / Shutterstock.com)

Up to now, you had to obtain a licence from SUISA for the copyright in accordance with Tariff VN for every single video with music on the internet. With this, the copyright was settled, and additional action was also required with regard to neighbouring rights (related rights). The whole licensing process was therefore complex and sometimes difficult to understand.

Joint licence for copyright and neighbouring rights

Together with Audion GmbH, SUISA has now developed a simpler, attractive licensing model for small enterprises of up to 49 staff and up to CHF 9m turnover. Against payment of an annual fee of CHF 344.00 (excl. VAT), small enterprises and individuals can put videos with music onto their own website as well as publish them on their own social media channels. Thanks to the collaboration between SUISA and Audion GmbH, the annual blanket fee is covering the acquisition of both copyright and neighbouring rights.

Not included in the package are advertising videos, pure music videos, videos with a production budget of more than CHF 15,000 and videos with a total playing time of more than 10 minutes. In addition, synchronisation rights must continue to be obtained directly from the publishers or the authors.

Audion GmbH – a rights agency

Audion GmbH is an independent rights agency founded in 2015 by IFPI Switzerland (the industry umbrella association of music labels in Switzerland), which brokers licenses for marginal uses of music recordings between users and music labels.

It is characteristic of Audion’s field of activity that it restricts itself selectively to niches where smaller and non-commercial users in particular face the administrative challenge of obtaining the necessary licences from a large number of music labels. Audion thus meets a user requirement and offers the choice of acquiring the necessary rights either directly from the rightsholders or as a rights bundle from Audion.

The landscape of music labels has changed dramatically with the development of digital distribution and marketing opportunities. Booking agencies, for example, are increasingly taking over label functions. It is therefore partly unclear where the rights need to be obtained from. Audion can help here by acquiring the rights for the user from the various labels.

Joint collection: Background music and videos on websites

As of 1 January 2019, SUISA will once again be responsible for all customers for the Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a, background music). Prior to this, Billag AG had been issuing the invoice. These customers are companies that play background music on their premises, broadcast TV programmes, use music on hold and/or publish videos with music on their websites. Customers can therefore be the same when it comes to using the music in background entertainment and in videos on websites. In both cases, a lot of music by a lot of rightsholders music publishers is used by a large customer group.

This inevitably leads to the requirement that we simplify the licensing of both uses and, in particular, to offer them together. For this purpose, the existing web portal for CT 3a licences is to be adapted in such a way that customers can register both uses at the same time and thus easily license their respective uses.

Outlook: Large enterprises

The newly introduced annual flat rate for the online use of music in web videos applies to small businesses. An offer for large companies – i.e. companies that employ more than 49 people or generate more than CHF 9m in annual sales – is currently being prepared with the aim of offering these companies a simple and adequate solution. As soon as all necessary measures and decisions have been taken on this issue, we will inform you.

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Common Tariff 3a: A hundred thousand new SUISA business customers | plus videoCommon Tariff 3a: A hundred thousand new SUISA business customers | plus video With regards to Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a), SUISA has been managing all customers directly again since 01 January 2019. In order to do so, data of about 100,000 customers which received their 3a invoices via Billag in the past years, has been migrated into the SUISA systems. A new team of 16 staff is responsible for all customers of this tariff and provides customer service in four languages. In the meantime, more than 58,000 invoices have left the building – time to take a first provisional look back. Read more
Switzerland finally has a new copyright law!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. Read more
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  1. Liebe Frau Ziebold

    Ich bin einerseits Mitglied der SUISA und froh, dass diese meine Interessen als Urheber wahrnimmt. Andrerseits bin ich auch eine 1-Mann-Firma, allein in einem Büro. Alles, was ich über GT 3a lese, erscheint mir plausibel, trifft aber auf mein Unternehmen nicht zu. Ich hasse Hintergrundmusik, weil sie mich beim Arbeiten stört, und selbst wenn ich ein Radio während der Arbeit laufen liesse, wäre ich der einzige, der es hört. Von einer gewerblichen Nutzung, die ja wenigsten ein Ohrenpaar eines Mitarbeiters oder eines Kunden voraussetzt, bin ich also weit entfernt. Ich verfüge auch nicht über ein Geschäftsauto, das – wie ich mir von einer SUISA Mitarbeiterin habe sagen lassen – auch als Büroraum zählen würde. Sie meinte dann auch, dass ich wohl nicht zahlungspflichtig sei.

    Der zuständige Sachbearbeiter sieht das aber ganz anders und meint, ich müsse einfach zahlen. Er glaubt nicht, dass er das näher begründen müsste und weigert sich auch, mir die rechtlichen Grundlagen zuzustellen. Er bezeichnet aber die GT 3a-FAQs auf Ihrer Website als nicht verbindlich, die meiner Meinung nach deutlich machen, dass ich nicht unter die GT 3a Zahlungspflicht falle. Also, wenn ich einem Kunden eine Rechnung schicke, muss ich das immer begründen können. Ich habe nun eine Betreibungsandrohung ihres Inkasso-Büros im Haus, nachdem eine Rechnung und 1 Mahnung nicht beantwortet wurden, die gar nie bei mir eigetroffen sind. Aber das ist eine andere Geschichte.

    Meine Frage an Sie lautet nun: Hat ihr Mitarbeiter recht? Muss einfach jede Firma GT3a zahlen? Wenn ja, warum gibt man sich dann so Mühe mit der Spezifizierung der Fälle, wenn es gar keine Ausnahmen gibt? Gibt es für diese Null-Ausnahme-Regelung eine rechtliche Grundlage, die Sie mir anstelle Ihres Mitarbeiters zustellen können? Sind Ihre Mitarbeitenden angehalten, nach dem Versand 1 Rechnung und 1 (nicht eingeschriebenen) Mahnung Ihr Inkasso-Büro in Gang zu setzen mit entsprechenden Mehrgebühren? Warum erhalten nicht einfach alle Firmen eine Rechnung?

    Ihre Meinung dazu interessiert mich sehr.

    Mit freundlichen Grüssen

    M. Gabriel

    • Manu Leuenberger says:

      Lieber Herr Gabriel
      Wir danken Ihnen für Ihre konstruktive Rückmeldung. Ihr Anliegen ist uns wichtig und wir werden die spezifische Sachlage hinsichtlich Ihrer 1-Mann-Firma und der erfolgten Kommunikation inklusive der vorhandenen Informationen dazu intern betrachten. Gerne setzen wir uns mit Ihnen in Kürze noch persönlich in Verbindung, um weitere konkrete Falldetails von Ihnen zu erfahren und mit Ihnen zu besprechen.
      Bis dahin wünschen wir Ihnen alles Gute.
      Freundliche Grüsse, Manu Leuenberger / SUISA Kommunikation

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Whether it’s background music in businesses or the new blanket license deal covering videos with music on the internet for small businesses: In both cases, a lot of music by a lot of rightsholders (composers, lyricists, music publishers) is used by a large number of companies. SUISA acts as a point of contact for these companies as well as for the beneficiaries, simplifying the authorisation for the use of works and processing the due copyright royalties. By Irène Philipp Ziebold, COO

Collective management is a service for music creators and music users alike

With offers such as the newly introduced annual flat rate for online use of music in web videos, SUISA is simplifying how copyright royalties are processed, for customers and beneficiaries alike. (Photo: one photo / Shutterstock.com)

Up to now, you had to obtain a licence from SUISA for the copyright in accordance...read more

Outlooks and insights

In its meetings on 10 and 11 December 2019, the Board focussed on the budget for 2020 and SUISA’s strategy for the next five years. Report from the Board by Andreas Wegelin

Report from the Board: Outlooks and insights

Advertising revenues have shifted from the TV towards the online sector. This shift has led to a negative impact on copyright collections. (Photo: Olivier Le Moal / Shutterstock.com)

The budget for the year 2020 had already been discussed in advance on 27 November 2019 at the meeting of the Executive Committee for Finance and Controlling. The Committee and the Board had to establish that the investment and staff requirements remain high. This is due to the fact that SUISA has taken on new tasks.

In the case of the new task fields which entail a higher demand for staff, it is particularly the collection of remuneration for background music and the reception of broadcasts in offices outside the domestic and private circle or home life that are affected. Said collections had been linked to the BILLAG collection of the fees for the reception of commercial broadcasts. Since 2019, SUISA has been carrying out this type of collection directly. Another sector where investments into additional staff resources need to be made is the IT sector. This is because self-service options for customers and members on the SUISA web platform “my account” are due for major enhancements. Expanding activities in terms of global licensing of online music distribution via the subsidiary, SUISA Digital Licensing AG and the Joint Venture for services with SESAC also require more staff.

Budget approved, future discussed

On the income side, the shift of the advertising revenue in the TV sector towards the online sector are noticeable. Revenues from broadcasting rights are stagnating while online usage does not increase proportionally. The Board has therefore approved a budget for 2020 which has a slightly worse cost/income ratio. Executive Management has also been asked to plan measures for 2021 to lower the cost/income ratio again.

The strategic alignment of the company has been discussed further on the basis of a re-defined strategy paper from the October meeting. Strategic focal points for the next years are described by keywords such as services, income/cost ratio, competition and innovation. To this end, the Board determined a roadmap for 2020 in its December meeting.

On top of that, the Board listened to updates on the personal changes at executive level of subsidiary SUISA Digital Licensing AG and Mint Digital Services, the Joint Venture with SESAC and discussed further development steps in the category of licensing of music in online services that is no longer limited per territory.

Distribution rules and by-elections

The Committee for Tariffs and Distribution and the entire Board subsequently decided on two changes to the distribution rules, namely an adaptation of the weighting of music in the case of sales broadcasts in advertising windows of foreign TV channels and the dissolution of distribution category 4A. These decisions are subject to the approval by the IGE (IPI), our supervisory authority. Furthermore, the Board determined the cost deductions for the distributions in 2020. They are to remain the same as in 2019.

After the election of Grégoire Liechti into the SUISA Board by the General Meeting in 2019, a seat in the Distribution and Works Committee has become available and needs to be filled. We are looking for a music publisher. The Board is going to propose Michael Hug, owner of the publishing house Ruh Musik AG, at its General Meeting in 2020.

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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.

Your email address will not be published.

In its meetings on 10 and 11 December 2019, the Board focussed on the budget for 2020 and SUISA’s strategy for the next five years. Report from the Board by Andreas Wegelin

Report from the Board: Outlooks and insights

Advertising revenues have shifted from the TV towards the online sector. This shift has led to a negative impact on copyright collections. (Photo: Olivier Le Moal / Shutterstock.com)

The budget for the year 2020 had already been discussed in advance on 27 November 2019 at the meeting of the Executive Committee for Finance and Controlling. The Committee and the Board had to establish that the investment and staff requirements remain high. This is due to the fact that SUISA has taken on new tasks.

In the case of the new task fields which entail a higher demand for staff, it is particularly...read more

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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Why SUISA members should also consider joining SWISSPERFORMWhy SUISA members should also consider joining SWISSPERFORM Composers and lyricists who are SUISA members and are also active as artists and/or producers and whose performances are broadcast by Swiss or foreign radio and TV channels are entitled to receive a remuneration from SWISSPERFORM. For all those authors-composers-artists/producers, a membership with SWISSPERFORM is thus a necessary addition to their SUISA affiliation in order to safeguard their rights and the full remuneration they are entitled to. Read more

 

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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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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