Tag Archives: Annual accounts

Hope and commitment

2022 gives rise to hope with regard to overcoming the pandemic and, above all, improving the working situation for our members. Larger concerts should be possible again this summer and the public is showing more interest in attending festivals and concerts once more. Some festivals and events sold out very quickly this spring. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

Hope and commitment

Andreas Wegelin, SUISA CEO. (Photo: Lisa Burth)

The SUISA General Meeting on 17 June 2022 will mark the first opportunity in two years for our members to meet with other members, with SUISA’s Board of Directors, its Executive Committee and staff. If you are a member and entitled to vote, do take advantage of this opportunity and do get involved in our common cause so that we can ensure that authors receive a fair compensation for their work.

Thanks to the commitment of the SUISA staff and the good cooperation with our customers, the music users, the 2021 business year result reflected only a slight decline overall compared to our all-time record of 2019. The biggest drop occurred in live music performances: Since they could not take place, SUISA also recorded less licensing income from this sector. With a great deal of patience and commitment, our employees nevertheless did everything they could to ensure that music uses were licensed as comprehensively as possible. For this, they certainly deserve our thanks on your behalf as well.

Thanks to the commitment among many of you and of politicians, we were also able to fend off an attack on the enforcement of appropriate compensation in more recent times. On 8 March 2022, the Swiss Council of States finally rejected the parliamentary initiative Nantermod. The initiative demanded that hotels should no longer have to pay any fees for broadcasting radio and TV programmes in guest rooms. This would have resulted in authors losing at least 1 million Swiss francs.

What we are concerned about is the war situation in Europe. It cannot and must not be that cultural achievements are destroyed senselessly and that peaceful coexistence among people is rendered impossible. Let us all see to it that music will triumph over barbarism. For our professional colleagues, you can get involved and give them hope through the coordinated #creatorsforUkraine relief campaign via our umbrella organisation CISAC.

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2022 gives rise to hope with regard to overcoming the pandemic and, above all, improving the working situation for our members. Larger concerts should be possible again this summer and the public is showing more interest in attending festivals and concerts once more. Some festivals and events sold out very quickly this spring. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

Hope and commitment

Andreas Wegelin, SUISA CEO. (Photo: Lisa Burth)

The SUISA General Meeting on 17 June 2022 will mark the first opportunity in two years for our members to meet with other members, with SUISA’s Board of Directors, its Executive Committee and staff. If you are a member and entitled to vote, do take advantage of this opportunity and do get involved in our common cause so that we can ensure that authors receive a fair compensation for their...read more

Two years of pandemic have passed financially smoothly for SUISA – new challenges ahead

After two difficult years for SUISA and authors and publishers due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to face threats and difficult times. A war in Europe is destroying the foundations of peaceful coexistence. Culture, and thus also the creators of music, as a unifying and peace-building element, are called upon. Text by Andreas Wegelin

Two years of pandemic have passed financially smoothly for SUISA – new challenges ahead

In view of the war in Ukraine, it is worth remembering that music can be a unifying and peace-making element of coexistence. (Photo: Oleh Dubyna / Shutterstock.com)

Despite the event bans imposed by the authorities, SUISA has been able to achieve a respectable result, even in the past two years. The overall decrease in revenue in 2020 and in 2021 only amounted to 10%, compared to the best-ever result in 2019. At the same time, we were able to achieve savings on the cost side, in particular thanks to accelerated process automation. This stabilised the drop in terms of the distributable amount. It is 1% higher than in 2020. High secondary income also allows us to pay an additional 7% distribution on all 2022 settlements again.

In order to provide quick help to members who got into difficulties due to the pandemic and therefore received less money from SUISA, the General Assembly 2020 decided to set up a relief fund. This fund still exists, many distribution results continue to be bad in this year, too, and the respective requests can be addressed to the membership department.

Especially during the pandemic, it was important to be there for our customers and members, in many cases electronically, via web forms on the internet, but also e-mails and, just like before, by phone or letter. We are also expanding our electronic communication channels further. They are a central component of good member and customer service, with the aim of enabling contact with SUISA 24/7 via the internet, thus saving costs for all parties involved.

Successful investments in new business areas

Today, music is not only performed and enjoyed in a live environment. During the pandemic, it has become clear that it is vital to diversify and branch out into other music exploitation areas. Many new presentation possibilities and uses on the internet, especially by means of streaming, could establish themselves over time and have become new and popular platforms for the sale of recorded music.

Since 2016, SUISA has invested in the development of the new business areas with its subsidiaries SUISA Digital Licensing and together with the American organisation SESAC at Mint Digital Services. Mint now manages the repertoire of over 3,500 American independent publishers, 14 collective management organisations from four continents, and the rights of BMG Rights Management in Asia and Australia. Licensing agreements have been signed with over 70 music providers worldwide. The possibilities for direct licensing of SUISA’s repertoire abroad are to be further exploited. In many cases, this means that SUISA’s authors and publishers can benefit from higher revenues which are paid out faster.

New challenges – the war in Europe

SUISA will be celebrating its centenary next year. The anniversary general meeting is scheduled to take place in Zurich on Friday, 23 June 2023 and to be followed by celebrations. Until then and beyond, we are to meet new challenges and further expand our existing services.

Music can be a unifying and peace-making element of coexistence and will continue to find and delight its audience. However, it should also provide its authors and musicians with a financial livelihood. With Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine, peace in Europe is highly endangered. A relationship that has been built up over many years with the countries in Eastern Europe and with the authors over there is in danger of being damaged. The exchange among authors and also among the collective management organisation (CMO) is also severely endangered by the armed conflicts.

SUISA wants to do its part to ensure that the ties established with its sister organisation in Ukraine are not severed. 50,000 Swiss francs were allocated to the support fund of CISAC, our international umbrella organisation of CMOs, for emergency aid to musicians in the war zone and to Poland, which is providing an overwhelming amount of support work here. All efforts must be made for a peaceful solution and for the functioning and continued existence of the collective management organisation NGO UACCR in Ukraine.

But those who now condemn all Russian culture are acting blindly, just like the warring parties. Let us believe in the peace-making potential of music and in those who perform or enjoy music together, regardless of which country they come from.

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  1. Eric says:

    Thanks for the informative article!
    I can agree with exactly that….

    Best regards

    Eric

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After two difficult years for SUISA and authors and publishers due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to face threats and difficult times. A war in Europe is destroying the foundations of peaceful coexistence. Culture, and thus also the creators of music, as a unifying and peace-building element, are called upon. Text by Andreas Wegelin

Two years of pandemic have passed financially smoothly for SUISA – new challenges ahead

In view of the war in Ukraine, it is worth remembering that music can be a unifying and peace-making element of coexistence. (Photo: Oleh Dubyna / Shutterstock.com)

Despite the event bans imposed by the authorities, SUISA has been able to achieve a respectable result, even in the past two years. The overall decrease in revenue in 2020 and in 2021 only amounted to 10%, compared to the best-ever result in 2019. At the same time, we were...read more

General Meeting 2022: Face to face again at last

After a break brought on by the pandemic and for the first time since 2019, SUISA will hold its General Meeting at the Bierhübeli in Bern, allowing its members to participate in person and on site. The members of the cooperative are invited to attend in as large a number as possible and to co-determine the fate of their cooperative. Text by Andreas Wegelin

General Meeting 2022: Face to face again at last

After a two-year interruption, 17 June marks the day when the 2022 SUISA General Meeting can once again take place with members being present in person and on site at the Bierhübeli in Bern. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

On Friday, 17 June 2022, at 11 a.m., it will finally be that time again: After a musical introduction by the Bernese electro-swing group Klischée, the President of the Board, Xavier Dayer, will open this yearʼs SUISA General Meeting.

Members will be provided with information about SUISAʼs business performance in the past year and are asked to approve the 2021 annual result (–10% compared to the record year 2019) which was a sign of getting off lightly despite the pandemic. In addition to other statutory business, the securing of financing for online licensing by the subsidiary Mint Digital Services AG and a revision of the Articles of Association to improve corporate governance will also come up for discussion and resolution.

Election of substitutes and deputies, opening message and declaration according to EU Directive

After 10 years on the Board of Directors, publisher member Christian Siegenthaler (management of Patent Ochsner) decided to step down from the board. The board proposes Christian Baumgartner, management consultant and investor, as his successor.

Our new board member elected last year, State Councillor Johanna Gapany, will address the members with an opening message from politics.

Finally, in accordance with the provisions of the EU Directive on collective management organisations and the Liechtenstein Collecting Societies Act (VGG), the declarations of the members of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee are disclosed for the first time on questions of theirparticipation in SUISA, amount of remuneration/compensation and actual or potential conflicts of interest.

Voting members welcome

The General Meeting is only open to members of the cooperative, i.e. members who are entitled to vote (see info box at the end of the text). These members will receive a written invitation with the registration documents by the end of May by mail. The invitation contains the agenda and additional information on the agenda items and business to be transacted at the General Meeting.

I hope that as many of you as possible will attend the General Meeting and, together with my colleague Irène Philipp Ziebold and my colleague Vincent Salvadé as well as other SUISA staff members, I look forward to exchanging ideas with you. Face to face again, at last.

New criteria for members who are entitled to vote
The SUISA Board of Directors decided in December 2020 to adapt the criteria for members who are entitled to vote. Authors and publishers will be admitted as members with voting rights if they have been SUISA principals for at least one year and had at least CHF 3,000 in royalties paid out to them since their registration. Previously, this amount was CHF 2,000. This change entered into force in 2021.
Furthermore, the contractual membership relationship will be reverted into a mandate relationship if members received less than CHF 3,000 in distribution payments overall for their works during the last ten years.
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After a break brought on by the pandemic and for the first time since 2019, SUISA will hold its General Meeting at the Bierhübeli in Bern, allowing its members to participate in person and on site. The members of the cooperative are invited to attend in as large a number as possible and to co-determine the fate of their cooperative. Text by Andreas Wegelin

General Meeting 2022: Face to face again at last

After a two-year interruption, 17 June marks the day when the 2022 SUISA General Meeting can once again take place with members being present in person and on site at the Bierhübeli in Bern. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

On Friday, 17 June 2022, at 11 a.m., it will finally be that time again: After a musical introduction by the Bernese electro-swing group Klischée, the President of the Board, Xavier Dayer,...read more

Spring meeting of the SUISA Board of Directors

The SUISA Board of Directors and its committees held their spring meetings on 11/12 April 2022. After a long break, it is back in full for the first time with face-to-face personal meetings at SUISAʼs headquarters in Zurich. Report from the Board by Andreas Wegelin

Spring meeting of the SUISA Board of Directors

Directorʼs seat in a TV broadcast vehicle: SUISAʼs Board and Executive Committee are preparing to counter the renewed attack on the media fee from the trade sector and the Jungfreisinnige (Young Liberals, Switzerland). (Photo: Cooler8 / Shutterstock.com)

Traditionally, the annual report and the annual financial statements/accounts are finalised and approved at the spring meetings in preparation for and for the attention of the General Meeting. The 2021 annual financial statements matched the previous yearʼs level despite the ongoing pandemic in the year under review. The overall decrease in revenue in 2020 and in 2021 only amounted to 10%, compared to the best-ever result in 2019.

At the same time, we were able to achieve savings on the cost side, in particular thanks to accelerated process automation. This stabilised the decline in terms of the distributable amount. It is even 1% higher than in 2020. High secondary income also allows us to pay an additional 7% distribution on all 2022 settlements again.

Risk management

The annual report also includes the Board of Directors activities in terms of the examination of possible risks and the taking of precautionary mitigating measures to prevent such risks from materialising. Thanks to good information work and lobbying, the CT 3a Tariff (background music) has been much more widely accepted over the last three years since SUISA set up the collection. The Board no longer sees any particular risk here.

On the other hand, the attacks on the media fee from the business sector and the Young Liberals are a cause for concern: The substantial cut in funding for SRG would also have far-reaching consequences for the broadcasting of music by our members. Our Board and Executive Committee will set everything in motion in the years leading up to the referendum to ensure that this scenario does not come to pass.

Partial revision of the Articles of Association, #creatorsforUkraine

The Board also approved a partial revision of the Articles of Association for the attention of the Annual General Meeting, including rules for a good modern corporate governance. For the first time, the emoluments and potential conflicts of interest of the members of the Board of Directors and the Executive Board will also be disclosed to the 2022 Annual General Meeting.

The Board also wishes to express its concern about the war in Ukraine and condemns Russiaʼs war of aggression. It decided to make a donation of CHF 50,000 to the #creatorsforUkraine relief campaign of our umbrella organisation CISAC.

Other agenda items

Other topics of the meeting were the optimal organisation of the representation of the rights of our members in South Africa, possibly through a new agency, and the cooperation with the German GEMA regarding the automated registration of small events with music.

In its function as the Board of the Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers, the SUISA Board of Directors has taken note of the annual financial statements of said foundation, which close successfully with an annual result of CHF 4.7 million thanks to the good securities situation at the end of 2021.

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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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The SUISA Board of Directors and its committees held their spring meetings on 11/12 April 2022. After a long break, it is back in full for the first time with face-to-face personal meetings at SUISAʼs headquarters in Zurich. Report from the Board by Andreas Wegelin

Spring meeting of the SUISA Board of Directors

Directorʼs seat in a TV broadcast vehicle: SUISAʼs Board and Executive Committee are preparing to counter the renewed attack on the media fee from the trade sector and the Jungfreisinnige (Young Liberals, Switzerland). (Photo: Cooler8 / Shutterstock.com)

Traditionally, the annual report and the annual financial statements/accounts are finalised and approved at the spring meetings in preparation for and for the attention of the General Meeting. The 2021 annual financial statements matched the previous yearʼs level despite the ongoing pandemic in the year under review. The overall decrease in...read more

SUISA and the Covid-19 crisis

Since the end of February 2020, it’s not just the music sector that has been confronted with an unforeseen challenge. As a cooperative society for authors and publishers of music and a collective management organisation, how is SUISA dealing with the Covid-19 crisis which has been around for nearly two years? Text by Andreas Wegelin

SUISA and the Covid-19 crisis

With the bans for public performances, many people in the music sector had neither work nor income overnight. SUISA kept its business and its services up and running during the Covid-19 crisis for its members and its customers. (Photo: Jirsak / Shutterstock.com)

At the gala for the 13th Swiss Music Awards on 28 February 2020, of all things, the Swiss-wide restrictions of events with music kicked in. That evening, only a maximum of 1,000 people were permitted to attend the live event. Those who believed that the Covid-19 pandemic would have disappeared with the cold winter air, just like a flu virus, were soon proved wrong: From 13 March 2020, no live concerts, no parties in clubs were allowed any longer. The music business, made up of composers, performing artists, event organisers and suppliers for the event sector was forcibly deprived of its existential basis.

Meanwhile, we find ourselves in the second Covid-19 year and have been experiencing enormous difficulties when it comes to holding music events with a physical audience. How is SUISA as a cooperative society for authors and publishers of music and as a collective management organisation dealing with that?

Financial losses and unpredictability

About a month after the first lockdown had been ordered, the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of SUISA revised the budget for 2020. This so-called “Covid-19 budget” target which forecast 23% less in terms of collections and 8.5% more in terms of costs, could be met. As the annual accounts finally showed, the overall turnover losses were fortunately limited: The collections of SUISA in Switzerland and from abroad amounted to CHF 138.5m in 2020 which was 12% less than the previous record year (CHF 155.2m). Costs rose by only 1.1% compared to the previous year and therefore less dramatically as anticipated in the Covid-19 budget.

The drastic effects of the Covid-19 ordinances only become apparent when you look at the sectors individually: The decrease of the collections from concerts (–51%), entertainment events (–47%), the hospitality industry (–46%) and cinemas (–58%) is blatant compared to the 2019 results. The good results achieved for broadcasting rights, compensation claims and online usages partially offset these losses. However, rights owners whose income mainly stems from the success of live events had to face huge losses in terms of their distribution amounts.

Due to the second wave of the pandemic, all events were banned again in December 2020. Again, a Covid-19 budget had to be created where the expectations are lower yet again on the income side for the 2021 financial year: compared to 2020, 11% less. At the same time, savings of 11% in terms of costs should be achieved compared to the year before. Particularly with regard to the collections from concerts (tariff K), a further slump must be expected. The prognosis for the second Covid-19 year projects CHF 6m collections in this area. In 2020, this tariff generated CHF 11m and before the crisis in 2019, CHF 23m in remuneration for authors and publishers of music.

Two “buffers” help in this situation; they are expected to cushion the inclement framework conditions in the financial results as per the current status of the 2021 financial year: On the one hand, the situation regarding the securities investments is good. On the other hand, the money which could not be allocated to any rights owners during the last five years is used to cover costs. If possible it is paid out in the form of a supplementary distribution once this period has expired.

Relief measures for rights owners

Due to the effect of the pandemic, all collective management organisations in Europe decided to set up aid measures in favour of their rights holders. The aid measures launched by SUISA are based on three “columns”: First, advance payments on the distribution settlements with an extended payback period, second, contributions from the Covid-19 emergency fund which had been specially set up, and third and last, the emergency assistance for authors from the Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers (UVF).

These aid measures are gratefully received: Since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis in March 2020, CHF 1,416,084 advance payments were made up to 25 October 2021. CHF 251,250 were awarded as contributions from the emergency fund and CHF 170,500 were granted as emergency assistance via the UVF fund. You can continue to submit applications via “My account”. Due to the high number of rights owners, the extent of the losses only become apparent when it comes to the distributions in the years 2021 or 2022 which will be much lower for many since the events in 2020 and 2021 could not be held. Publishing companies have the option to request advance payments or contributions from the Covid-19 emergency fund. The UVF fund emergency assistance is only possible to be granted to authors due to legal reasons.

Lobbying

Just like if you had a short circuit, the lights went out for the entire event sector regarding public performances. From one day to the next, performers, event organisers, stage technicians and other staff in the public event sector were without work and income. For authors the concert stoppage meant that their works were no longer performed live and therefore no licence fees were paid for the performance of their music any longer. The collections from live events slumped to their lowest ever as described further above. These copyright royalties are, however, an important basis for the existence of many rights owners.

The first aid measures by the Swiss Confederation were insufficient and also not really tailored to resolve the problems in the cultural sector. Lobbying therefore became rather important during the crisis. It has been and still continues to be paramount to persuade public authorities, parliaments and the government that culture is vitally important for society, just like shops for your daily needs. If, therefore, cultural performances may no longer take place due to event bans, the creatives, event organisers but also the publishers and suppliers affected must be compensated accordingly. What needs to be taken into account in such situations is that, particularly in the culture sector, many work as self-employed freelancers or in the form of small organisations, e.g. associations.

Furthermore, the understanding needs to be firmed up that there are different types of events: Studies show that there often is a lower risk of getting infected at cultural events than at large sports events or funfairs. Lobbyists have not yet managed to anchor this differentiation in the minds of the decision-makers so far. Nevertheless, the “Taskforce Culture” which had been spontaneously set up during the crisis, has achieved a lot and has become an important contact point for authorities, parliaments and the government. SUISA is a part of the extended support circle of the Taskforce.

Manage from a distance and work remotely

The Cooperative Society SUISA employs about 250 people. They share 187 full time positions. All staff whose tasks could be done by working remotely had to be sent home in the week of 16 to 23 March 2020. The IT team created the required plans for such a completely unexpected process from scratch and made sure that staff could continue to work from home on devices provided by the employer, without major difficulties.

Working in your home office, a recommendation issued by the authorities, later turned from being optional to mandatory. As such, it was not just a challenge it also entailed completely new experiences in terms of managing and organising the operations. How do you reach your co-workers and colleagues if you cannot simply pop over to the next office space if the meeting and break out rooms cannot be used?

The previously existing and used options to hold virtual meetings and one-to-one conversations via video conference were expanded. Thanks to these technical means the connection which is so important for a good collaboration between management and staff but also among colleagues could be maintained. Executive staff were trained in how to lead and manage their staff from home. Every two weeks, a web meeting with the Executive Committee, the HR manager and the IT manager took place, moderated by the communications manager. All staff could participate in this meeting and ask questions via the chat function. We thus managed to transition the collaboration “across the distance” into a daily work routine.

Business operations were functioning, thanks to the flexible, committed and disciplined staff as well as the advanced digitisation. SUISA was always available to its members and its customers. This new experience made the Executive Committee decided to also enable home office work in future, up to 50% of the work time. Home office deployments must, however, be coordinated within the teams and this cannot be carried out for some positions in the extent reflecting a maximum.

More self-service – process automation

The obligation to work from home particularly highlighted how indispensable and important digitisation has been for a collective management organisation like SUISA. Working from home is only possible if the necessary data is available electronically and extensive paper dossiers do not have to be accessed. The immense advantages in terms of availability of the required information was proven as a consequence of the digitisation of all member and customer files in the last few years. The developments in terms of computerisation further contributed that it was possible to quickly switch to working from home in a successful manner.

Customers and members of SUISA also benefited from progress for efficient and satisfying contacts with the company triggered by the digitisation. Due to the closure months for the hospitality industry and shops ordered by the authorities, many customers had requested a refund of the unusable licence for music performances. The process of refunding licence fees can now simply be triggered via a web form.

Since the middle of 2020, members can access the royalty report via “my account”. All members who have a valid online access can retrieve the up-to-date data for their works and the licences issued for them and view and arrange them according to selected criteria. More recently, the login process for members and customers was enhanced via a two-factor authentication which means that the digital business exchange with SUISA offers an even higher security standard. Further developments will follow.

The applications and digitisation projects mentioned above were only implemented in such a successful and timely manner because the staff continued to work on them at full steam and without any limitations during the pandemic. After some lengthy discussions, Executive Committee and Board of Directors had decided that SUISA would not apply for and introduce short-time work. A wise decision, as the situation which we have been experiencing since March 2020, shows more and more clearly: In a roundabout way under pressure from the authorities’ ordinances regarding the pandemic, SUISA was able to develop its services much further over the last few months. Despite the losses in collections, we are ready with digitised and automated processes to manage the music licences for event organisers and to distribute the royalties to rights owners reliably and, above all, cost-effectively.

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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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Since the end of February 2020, it’s not just the music sector that has been confronted with an unforeseen challenge. As a cooperative society for authors and publishers of music and a collective management organisation, how is SUISA dealing with the Covid-19 crisis which has been around for nearly two years? Text by Andreas Wegelin

SUISA and the Covid-19 crisis

With the bans for public performances, many people in the music sector had neither work nor income overnight. SUISA kept its business and its services up and running during the Covid-19 crisis for its members and its customers. (Photo: Jirsak / Shutterstock.com)

At the gala for the 13th Swiss Music Awards on 28 February 2020, of all things, the Swiss-wide restrictions of events with music kicked in. That evening, only a maximum of 1,000 people were permitted to...read more

General Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of Directors

For the second time running, the SUISA General Meeting took place in writing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Altogether 1,486 composers, lyricists, music publishers and heirs participated in the voting process by letter and e-mail. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

General Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of Directors

The SUISA General Meeting elected National Councillor Johanna Gapany (pictured), FDP Fribourg, as a new Board member. (Photo: Luan Bardi)

Due to the current Covid-19 situation, SUISA had to renounce on a physical General Meeting this year, just like it had to in 2020. Instead, the General Meeting was held again in written form. SUISA members could vote by letter or e-mail again this year.

As usual, SUISA members decided on the statutory business of their Cooperative Society and the SUISA Group. They approved, among others, the annual financial account and exonerated the SUISA Board and auditing firm, BDO.

National Councillor Johanna Gapany new in the SUISA Board of Directors

The General Meeting elected National Councillor, Johanna Gapany, FDP Fribourg, to the Board of Directors to replace Géraldine Savary who had stepped down; her term of office is until 2023.

Johanna Gapany grew up in Gruyère and began her political career early on. Among other activities, she held the Presidency of the Jungfreisinnigen (Young Liberals) of the Canton Fribourg and also held the position of Vice President of the Jungfreisinnigen Switzerland. In 2019, Johanna Gapany was elected as the first woman from the Canton Fribourg into the National Council. She is Vice President of the Finance Committees member of the Science, Education and Culture Committees (WBK/SECC), the Social Security and Health Committees (SGK/SSHC) and the delegation at the inter-parliamentarian Union.

In her video message to the General Meeting, she mentioned that the reason for her candidacy for the SUISA Board was that “music has a special value, for me personally and for our culture and our country.” SUISA gained a committed politician to the Board with Johanna Gapany who intends to support the issues of music creators. In the video, she directed her message to musicians as follows: “I would like to support you so that your work is recognised. The career of a music creator should not be regarded as a whim, a child’s dream or a calling but as a real profession.”

Gapany succeeds former National Councillor Géraldine Savary (SP, VD), who had been a strong supporter of the interests of music creators over the ten years as a SUISA Board member. Savary’s postulate entitled “Does Switzerland need a law against illegal music downloads?” was the trigger for a copyright reform in 2010, and that the Swiss Copyright Act was adapted to the digital age.

Géraldine Savary now intends to dedicate her entire time to her new role as editor-in-chief of the French-speaking women’s magazine “Femina” and therefore decided to leave the SUISA Board.

SUISA’s investment rules now also take sustainability into consideration

Another item on the agenda was the general investment rules of SUISA. The SUISA Board of Directors moved to the General Meeting that the additional criterion “sustainability” should be added to the existing criteria “security” and “liquidity”. The sustainable investments are categorised in line with the ESG criteria: Environment, Social and Governance. These criteria will be taken into account for each new decision on investments.

Altogether 1,486 composers, lyricists, music publishers and heirs participated in the written voting and electing process. An overview of the results of the SUISA General Meeting 2021 can be found at www.suisa.ch/en/members/general-assembly.html

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For the second time running, the SUISA General Meeting took place in writing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Altogether 1,486 composers, lyricists, music publishers and heirs participated in the voting process by letter and e-mail. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

General Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of Directors

The SUISA General Meeting elected National Councillor Johanna Gapany (pictured), FDP Fribourg, as a new Board member. (Photo: Luan Bardi)

Due to the current Covid-19 situation, SUISA had to renounce on a physical General Meeting this year, just like it had to in 2020. Instead, the General Meeting was held again in written form. SUISA members could vote by letter or e-mail again this year.

As usual, SUISA members decided on the statutory business of their Cooperative Society and the SUISA Group. They approved, among others, the annual financial account and exonerated the SUISA Board...read more

SUISA continues to be a reliable partner, even in difficult times

Dear members, we have been stuck with the corona crisis for 15 months and have been trying, as best as we can, to be a reliable partner for you when it comes to managing your copyright, despite of corona. It is now the second time round that we must hold our General Meeting by circular procedure. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

SUISA continues to be a reliable partner, even in difficult times

SUISA continues to be a guiding light and a reliable partner in these dark times. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Executive Committee, Board of Directors and staff regret very much that there won’t be a physical General Meeting in 2021 again. The General Meeting is the highlight of the yearly cycle of your company. Only a direct encounter with you shows us whether we are on the right track and whether our services cover your needs, or what we might actually have to improve yet.

We also would have liked to discuss in more detail and in person how the financial situation of your Cooperative Society has been developing in these difficult times, now that concerts have no longer taken place and no licensing fees have been collected for them anymore.

The 2020 annual results have been reasonably acceptable (-12%). For the current year’s results, we hope that there will be a relaxation of the event bans and an opening of restaurants so that the losses remain within 10% compared to 2020.

Impact of the event bans only visible after a delay

You are probably also going to feel this decline of SUISA’s collections in the settlements. Lost licence fees for cancelled live events will only result in lower amounts in the settlements which we pay out in the course of 2021 from the 2020 collections. With the 2021 settlements it thus becomes evident with a delay how the corona measures decreed by the authorities affect the pay-out of copyright remuneration.

The same applies for measures which has led to another shutdown in the context of the second wave of the pandemic from 21 December 2020. This will impact on settlements way into the year 2022.

Corona emergency fund for SUISA members

The 2020 General Meeting had decided that an emergency fund should be created for members that have a lower SUISA income due to the corona crisis. This fund continues to exist. SUISA offers its members further possibilities to bridge financial shortages: It is also possible to get advances for future settlements. Finally, there is the option that creators who get into financial hardship situations can get a support payment from the Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers.

Expansion of online services

SUISA is therefore also your point of contact throughout the crisis. We try to be there for you, subject to keeping to a strict expenses discipline when it comes to staff costs.

This is possible, among other things, because of an increased digitisation of the business transactions between you and SUISA. Since mid-May 2021, our “business intelligence” tool, the Royalty Report, has been activated for all rightsholders. It is therefore high time that you get an online access to your SUISA account and that you benefit from the digital services as soon as possible. That way, we can continue to increase transparency and expand our services for our members despite the pandemic.

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Dear members, we have been stuck with the corona crisis for 15 months and have been trying, as best as we can, to be a reliable partner for you when it comes to managing your copyright, despite of corona. It is now the second time round that we must hold our General Meeting by circular procedure. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

SUISA continues to be a reliable partner, even in difficult times

SUISA continues to be a guiding light and a reliable partner in these dark times. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Executive Committee, Board of Directors and staff regret very much that there won’t be a physical General Meeting in 2021 again. The General Meeting is the highlight of the yearly cycle of your company. Only a direct encounter with you shows us whether we are on the right track and whether our services cover your...read more

A worthy result despite Covid

2020 was an annus horribilis for many music creators. Concerts and other events were by and large prohibited. Most organisers, artists and authors thus lost a large part of their income. Thanks to the good performance in other areas and to its prompt action, SUISA managed to contain the financial damage for many entitled parties. Text by Andreas Wegelin

A worthy result despite COVID

Concerts were hardly possible from February 2020 onwards. However, thanks to an increase in the online sector, SUISA’s annual result turned out relatively good. (Photo: Oleksii Synelnykov / Shutterstock)

After being hit by the Covid pandemic, the world went into a state of shock. The pandemic impacted – and continues to impact – large segments of the economy. The cultural sector, and music creators as part of it, were hit especially hard. “First to close, last to open”. Creators and organisers were the first to be affected by the shutdowns and restrictions, and they will be the last able to fully resume their work.

Needless to say, the difficult situation for the cultural sector also affected SUISA’s annual results. After all, in the past, performance rights, i.e. revenues from concerts and other performances, music usage in businesses and restaurants, and music for parties, accounted for 35% of SUISA’s rights administration revenues. After nearly all events were prohibited in March 2020, it was clear that SUISA’s revenues – especially from performance rights – would fall short of the prior year’s. It was hard to predict, however, how steep the downturn would be, and whether revenues from other rights would also be adversely affected.

The steep downturn in revenues from performance rights was partially compensated by other rights revenues

As it fortunately turned out, SUISA’s turnover was less severely impacted than had been feared. Last year, SUISA recorded total revenues, domestic and international, of CHF 138.5m: this is 12% less than the prior year (CHF 155.2m). As expected, the shortfall in performance rights accounted for greater part of the downturn: while in 2019, revenues from performance rights had attained CHF 51.2m, in 2020 they only reached CHF 34.4m, i.e. 34% less.

SUISA managed to make up for this shortfall in other areas. Revenues from broadcasting rights increased slightly – from CHF 63.6m in 2019 to CHF 64.3m in 2020. Downturns that had been feared, for example in advertising revenues from TV and radio broadcasts following the cancellation of many large events, failed to materialise.

Positive trend in online business thanks to SUISA Digital Licensing and Mint

The trend in revenues from online uses was extremely positive: online revenues climbed from CHF 8.8m in 2019 to CHF 11.4m last year. This was especially thanks to the growth in revenues realised by SUISA’s subsidiary SUISA Digital Licensing. The latter succeeded in acquiring a number of new customers including foreign sister societies and music publishers, and also managed to negotiate improved contract terms with online providers of streaming and downloading platforms.

This satisfactory development in the online area is all to the benefit of the authors and publishers whose works are increasingly streamed on the various platforms. Even Mint, the joint venture with the US society SESAC, continued its expansion last year as a provider of services to various music publishers and foreign sister societies.

SUISA has responded to the crisis

The fact that, from the outset of the pandemic, SUISA responded promptly – with a view to cutting costs on the one hand, and to distributing as much as possible to authors and publishers on the other – also contributed to the relatively good year.

Projects that were not urgent were deferred or even cancelled and, wherever possible, staff departures were not replaced. Certain expenditures, such as sponsoring contributions and travel expenses, disappeared anyway because of the pandemic. And SUISA did everything possible to invoice all and every use of music – including those pertaining to prior years – and collect the revenues. At a time when nearly all performances have been barred, the royalties from SUISA are more important than ever for many music creators.

Supplemental distributions from released settlement liabilities

In 2021, SUISA was again able to allocate a supplemental distribution of 7% on all settlement amounts from the released provisions for settlement liabilities which could not be distributed after five years in absence of the necessary information on the entitled parties.

Understanding for customers

Its efforts to collect the greatest amount in revenues does not mean, however, that SUISA is blind to the circumstances of its customers. On the contrary: precisely in the case of the inns and restaurants which were severely affected by the shutdowns ordered by the authorities, SUISA demonstrated goodwill with regard to invoice payments, granting extended payment terms for example, and permitted refunds to customers who had made down payments but had no music usage in the period. Ultimately, it is in the interest of SUISA and its members to ensure that businesses, organisers, and other music users survive and continue to use music. After all, there will be a time after the Covid-pandemic, and SUISA must do its utmost to ensure that, in that future, it can continue to distribute the largest possible amount in royalties to the authors and publishers of music.

SUISA’s detailed 2020 results can be found in the 2020 Annual Report, in which this article (on pages 9/10) also appeared: www.suisa.ch/annualreport

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2020 was an annus horribilis for many music creators. Concerts and other events were by and large prohibited. Most organisers, artists and authors thus lost a large part of their income. Thanks to the good performance in other areas and to its prompt action, SUISA managed to contain the financial damage for many entitled parties. Text by Andreas Wegelin

A worthy result despite COVID

Concerts were hardly possible from February 2020 onwards. However, thanks to an increase in the online sector, SUISA’s annual result turned out relatively good. (Photo: Oleksii Synelnykov / Shutterstock)

After being hit by the Covid pandemic, the world went into a state of shock. The pandemic impacted – and continues to impact – large segments of the economy. The cultural sector, and music creators as part of it, were hit especially hard. “First to...read more

Full speed ahead

The Corona pandemic continues to direct the course of SUISA’s business. This was clearly perceptible at the Board meeting in April. Which is why it is all the more important to set the course for the future. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

Report from the Board of Directors: Full speed ahead

Despite adverse circumstances, the Cooperative Society SUISA stayed its course in the interest of its members and principals. (Photo: Lobroart / Shutterstock.com)

Business as usual – this expression may sound odd in Corona year 2. And yet, at the last spring meeting, much remained the (new) same. After one year of Corona, SUISA’s Board and Executive Committee have grown accustomed to meeting via videoconference. Just as they have become inured to the rolling budgeting rendered necessary by the uncertain situation in the cultural sector.

And yet, this year, the first Board meeting was special. After a bumper year in 2019, SUISA saw a downturn in revenues in 2020 – as was only to be expected given the pandemic. However, the decline was less steep than had been feared. Turnover dropped 12% overall. This was primarily due to the drastic fall in revenues from performance rights. Corona-related bans on events, and recurrent business shutdowns led to a 34% decline in revenues from this sector. The most affected were concert licence fees (–51%), restaurants (–46%), entertainment events (–47%) and cinemas (–59%).

Relatively good performance thanks to broadcasting rights and online uses

That total sales “only” declined by 12% was due to a slight increase in broadcasting rights and, above all, to the growth in revenues from online business. Good secondary income and strong cost awareness within SUISA also contributed.

It follows, therefore, that the amount distributable to authors and publishers also declined – by 10.5% overall. Moreover, the Board decided to allocate an unchanged additional distribution of 7% from the released settlement provisions on all uses of works to be settled in 2021.

The business activities of our subsidiary SUISA Digital Licensing, responsible for global online licensing, developed satisfactorily. In 2020, SUISA Digital Licensing generated about CHF 5.5m in revenues. The Board acknowledged the financial situation of SUISA Digital Licensing and the current status of the joint venture Mint Digital Services. Since both companies are still in development, the Board decided the necessary measures to ensure the equilibrium of SUISA Digital Licensing’s balance sheet. SUISA’s claims on Mint for business development costs (under del credere provisions) were extended for an additional year and the additional claim from 2020 was in its turn written off in the financial statements.

The 2021 General Meeting will take place by written correspondence again

In view of the continuing uncertainty with regard to indoor assemblies, the Board decided that the General Meeting would perforce be held for a second time by written correspondence. The Board nominated State Councillor (FDP/Freibourg) to succeed Géraldine Savary who was withdrawing. Video messages from Johanna Gapany, SUISA President Xavier Dayer, and CEO Andreas Wegelin, and information about the 2021 General Meeting to be held by written correspondence is available under www.suisa.ch/en/members/general-assembly.html and on the SUISAblog.

Status of 2021 budget with the ongoing Corona crisis

The uncertain situation in the cultural sector owing to the Corona crisis continues to cause concern. When and how performances will be able to be staged anew, and music halls and theatres will be able to open, is still unknown. As a result, rolling budget planning continues to be the order of the day as in past months. The Board’s Finance Committee will decide in early June 2021 whether the budget approved in December 2020 needs re-adjusting because of Corona.

Thanks to the emergency Corona fund, the Pension Fund for authors and publishers, and the extended rules on advances, SUISA has been able to support its members in these difficult times. In this regard, the Board decided to extend the time limit for the repayment or compensation of advances against current settlements until the end of June 2022.

Mint joint venture to be strengthened

Apart from music publishers – including BMG for Australia, Africa and India – Mint’s customers for online licensing now also include European sister societies. Mint offers their repertoires in bundles to online providers such as Spotify, Apple Music, or Youtube.

By bundling repertoires, Mint is strengthening its market position in online music rights. Despite the small Swiss repertoire, SUISA has become a serious negotiating partner thanks to Mint and SUISA Digital Licensing and the bundling of its repertoire. Depending on the country, its market share of the global repertoire varies between 4 and 10%. At the meeting, the Board defined the conditions to be applied to large European collecting societies wishing to participate in the Mint joint venture. This will further strengthen Mint’s market position in the constantly growing market for online music rights.

Adapting the range of services for members and principals

In the Report on the December meeting, we mentioned that the Board was looking to reorganise the services provided to members and principals with a view to saving costs. As of 2022, principals will only be able to access SUISA’s extended range of services through the online service portal. Comprehensive information on revenues and invoicing will be even easier for principals to find on the portal thanks to the new functionalities. Instead of time-consuming inquiries by phone, letter or email, principals will be able to call up all the data on their relationship with SUISA online through their individual “My account” access. Voting members will have access to these same services via the online service portal; in addition, however, they will continue to be entitled to personal advisory services.

As the above-mentioned Report says, in December 2020, the Board decided that authors and publishers would be admitted as members with full voting rights once they have been principals for at least one year and have received over CHF 3000 (previously 2000) in settlements since first registering as principals. Moreover, members who have received distributions totalling less than CHF 3000 over the last ten years would revert back to the status of principal. This change is in accordance with Article 5.5.4 of SUISA’s Articles of Association. Principals do not have voting rights in the Society, but they are entitled to the same licensing and distribution of revenues from the use of their works; principals have no financial disadvantage over voting members.

These measures – especially the upgrading of services through the members portal – are designed to further enhance SUISA’s efficiency. And, as a result, to distribute a higher share of revenues to authors and publishers.

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SUISA General Meeting: Emergency fund for authors and publishers approvedSUISA 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. Read more
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The Corona pandemic continues to direct the course of SUISA’s business. This was clearly perceptible at the Board meeting in April. Which is why it is all the more important to set the course for the future. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

Report from the Board of Directors: Full speed ahead

Despite adverse circumstances, the Cooperative Society SUISA stayed its course in the interest of its members and principals. (Photo: Lobroart / Shutterstock.com)

Business as usual – this expression may sound odd in Corona year 2. And yet, at the last spring meeting, much remained the (new) same. After one year of Corona, SUISA’s Board and Executive Committee have grown accustomed to meeting via videoconference. Just as they have become inured to the rolling budgeting rendered necessary by the uncertain situation in the cultural sector.

And yet, this year,...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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  1. Martin LUTHER-OWUSU says:

    Bravo! Thanks for looking after authors and publishers during this period of Covid-19. The devastation of the pandemic is enormous and I pray that we would get rid of it sooner than later. And now a question:
    As a member living in Ghana, is there a chance to apply for a little bit from the fund to sustain me?
    Thank you very much.

    • The fund approved by the General Meeting is intended to compensate members, principals and clients in need and in distress due to the COVID-19 crisis, for SUISA income they demonstrably missed out on. They have the possibility to submit an online application on the member portal “My Account”. The application must prove that the affected person has suffered losses due to a lack of copyright income and that there is a state of need. Thus, the only decisive factor is SUISA membership and not residence or nationality. Claudia Kempf, SUISA Members Department

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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