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M4music: Hit the World – this is how international female hit composers did it

Have you ever wondered how hits are created? How a song comes into existence which lets the feet across generations tap to the rhythm? SUISA has been researching these questions and is organising a panel on this topic at the M4music 2019. Text by Erika Weibel

M4music: Hit the World – this is how international female hit composers did it

At the M4music Festival 2019, KT Gorique and Valeska Steiner (top, from left to right) exchange their views on songwriting with Laurell Barker and Shelly Peiken (below, from left to right). (Photos: Jeremie Carron, Christoph Köstlin, Phantasm, Aerin Moreno)

There are female and male songwriters who create their songs entirely by themselves, others, however, write as a team. Sometimes they write for themselves, sometimes they write for performers fromr completely different music genres. How do they go about it? Do female and male composers have a feeling whether something becomes a hit? Can you live off songwriting?

SUISA panel Hit the World – four female songwriters tell their stories

On Friday, 15 March 2019, SUISA is going to organise a round of female experts which is going to discuss exactly those issues at the M4music Festival. For this purpose, SUISA invited four female songwriters who have already celebrated international and national successes in the pop and urban sector.

One participant is writing hits, among others, for Miley Cyrus, Céline Dion, Selena Gomez, Meredith Brooks or Christina Aguilera. The second has contributed to several hundred songs and travels across continents from one songwriting session to the next. The third is a successful Swiss singer songwriter who has a large and loyal fan community. The fourth in the round is currently writing Swiss hip hop history: In 2012, the then 21-year-old won the first freestyle rap world championship in New York. She writes lyrics as well as the beats herself and has been touring successfully in Europe and overseas for several years.

The four songwriters Valeska Steiner, KT Gorique, Laurell Barker and Shelly Peiken are going to answer questions regarding the writing process of successful songs and exchange their experience what their approach to composing their songs is. What matters in their opinion. How they master the challenges that automatically come with the territory.

SUISA-Panel at the M4music: Hit the World – four female songwriters tell their stories
Friday, 15 March 2019, 15:00 – 16:15, Matchbox

Speakers:
Valeska Steiner, musician, BOY, Zurich
KT Gorique, musician, Sion
Laurell Barker, musician, Vancouver/Zurich
Shelly Peiken, musician, Los Angeles

Presentation:
Nina Havel, Zurich

www.m4music.ch

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Festival Archip-elles – Women PowerFestival Archip-elles – Women Power The Geneva Festival for contemporary music creation has dedicated itself to music originating from the pen of women for its 2019 event. Archip-elles presents works by female composers of various generations, origin and aesthetics. On Friday, 05 April 2019, SUISA members are invited to a visit at the Festival. Read more
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Have you ever wondered how hits are created? How a song comes into existence which lets the feet across generations tap to the rhythm? SUISA has been researching these questions and is organising a panel on this topic at the M4music 2019. Text by Erika Weibel

M4music: Hit the World – this is how international female hit composers did it

At the M4music Festival 2019, KT Gorique and Valeska Steiner (top, from left to right) exchange their views on songwriting with Laurell Barker and Shelly Peiken (below, from left to right). (Photos: Jeremie Carron, Christoph Köstlin, Phantasm, Aerin Moreno)

There are female and male songwriters who create their songs entirely by themselves, others, however, write as a team. Sometimes they write for themselves, sometimes they write for performers fromr completely different music genres. How do they go about it? Do female and male composers have a feeling...read more

SUISA membership in numbers

More than 38,000 authors and publishers have instructed SUISA with the management of their rights. Where are they from, how old are they and are there more men or women who are composers? The figures and graphics below provide an insight into SUISA’s membership structure. Text by Claudia Kempf

SUISA membership in numbers

(Graphics: Crafft Communication)

Age distribution

The majority of members is between 31 and 60 years old. This is due to the fact that authors have an average age of 33 years when they join SUISA and that there has been a steep increase in new members over the last 20 years.

Age distribution

Gender

The overwhelming majority of active members are men. There is, however, a slight notable change: 45% of active female authors have joined SUISA in the last ten years.

Gender

Language composition

The language composition within SUISA roughly correspond with the linguistic distribution within Switzerland, except for the fact that French-speaking authors are represented in slightly higher numbers.

Language composition

Residence

Unfortunately, notifications on the change of address to SUISA sometimes gets forgotten. As a consequence, SUISA does not know the address of around 15% of its members. In the case where SUISA does not hold a valid correspondence address during a period of five years, the respective Rights Administration Agreement and membership lapse at the end of that year. The rights then fall back to the author and are no longer managed by SUISA.

Residence

Associate members, full members

Music creators and publishers are, first of all, accepted asassociate members. Once they have been registered for at least one year with SUISA and have reached the minimum threshold of CHF 2,000 in revenue from authors’ rights, they become full members with voting and election rights. Subsidiary publishing entities can never attain full membership status; this explains the high share of publishers that do not have voting rights.

Associate members, full members

Membership years

The graphics provide an impressive insight into the strong growth of new member numbers over the last few years, especially among authors. Compared to that, new memberships among publishers have remained constant for quite a few years now.

Membership years

All information correct as of April 2018.

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More than 38,000 authors and publishers have instructed SUISA with the management of their rights. Where are they from, how old are they and are there more men or women who are composers? The figures and graphics below provide an insight into SUISA’s membership structure. Text by Claudia Kempf

SUISA membership in numbers

(Graphics: Crafft Communication)

Age distribution

The majority of members is between 31 and 60 years old. This is due to the fact that authors have an average age of 33 years when they join SUISA and that there has been a steep increase in new members over the last 20 years.

Age distribution

Gender

The overwhelming majority of active members are men. There is, however, a slight notable change: 45% of active female authors have joined SUISA in the last ten years.

Gender

Language composition

The language composition within SUISA roughly...read more

Swiss creations at Festival Archipel

By placing four Swiss composers in the limelight on Wednesday 21 March 2018, Festival Archipel demonstrated that Swiss composers are still very present in contemporary music. Text by guest author Sébastien Cayet

Swiss creations at Festival Archipel

Katharina Rosenberger, a Swiss composer who was born in Zurich and works in the US, and festival director Marc Texier at the introductory discussion for the “Swiss Concert Evening“ at the Festival Archipel on 21 March 2018 in Geneva. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

With the support of SUISA, the Cooperative Society of Music Authors and Publishers, Archipel proposed an evening in two parts. In cooperation with SUISA, Marc Texier, General Manager of the Festival, invited Swiss composers Katharina Rosenberger and Michael Pelzel for a pre-concert interview. This was a good opportunity to hear about their activities, influences, composition methods and projects.

The least one can say is that their influences are at opposite ends of the spectrum: Katharina Rosenberger draws her musical references from the Renaissance, namely Willaert and De Rore in particular, while Michael Pelzel willingly avows that, in his piece he used Indian and African techniques to create a contrast between western and non-European music, and between tradition and innovation. The range of their activities does not, however, stop at composition; one teaches in the United States, the other plays the organ.

This means that neither of them have to rely solely on composing for their livelihood; they agree that the surge in streaming, is eliminating – or strongly eroding – CDs and live shows, which are an important source of income for them. Fortunately for the composers, SUISA is committed to safeguarding their copyrights, and makes sure they are remunerated when their compositions are performed.

Swiss creations and international creations

After the interview, the concert was ready to start. Four pieces are on the programme: two Swiss creations, namely “Tempi agitati“ by Katharina Rosenberger and “Ante Litteram“ by Oscar Bianchi, and two international creations, namely “Etüdienbuch zu Diabelli“ by Michael Pelzel and “Präludien Buch 1-4“ by Mischa Käser.

The Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, a German vocal ensemble, performed a customised repertoire composed especially for them. They had already performed the piece by Oscar Bianchi in 2012 and that by Katharina Rosenberger in 2016.

In “Tempi agitati“ – performed in an abridged version that evening – Katharina Rosenberger creates contrasted settings thanks to alternating aesthetics and a staging based on the acoustics and architecture of the concert hall. The performance starts in the dark. The soloists are sitting among the audience. Suddenly, one of them starts a dialogue of onomatopoeia. With precision, the vocalists answer, wait for and interrupt one another. They then come together on stage and strike up a polyphonic song in Renaissance style, with a nod to Adrian Willaert and Cipriano de Rore.

In revisiting the music of the Renaissance, the composer is seeking the natural sound of the voice. The voices of the soloists are pure, linear and without artifice – but not without emotion. The beginning of “Tempi agitati“ is characteristic of the piece; the singers move about the room, alternate and juxtapose the aesthetics, tempi and characters, and finish like they started: in the dark, offstage and non visible to the audience.

Each musical effect has a meaning

In “Ante Litteram“, Oscar Bianchi is inspired by David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest“ and Nietzsche’s “Antechrist“ where he finds “the same empathy and lucidity in the exploration of the reasons preventing man from achieving deeper self-knowledge and self-awareness”. The piece has three underlying themes: evil, morality and salvation, and each musical effect has a meaning.

After a beginning spoken in homorhythm, the voices stagger out slowly, adopting different rhythms and renditions, like clear and coherent thought which becomes lost in the meanders of the mind. The dissonance between the sopranos, for example, evokes pain, the imitated laughter tends towards absurdity, while the variations in pace run parallel to the variation of our own internal agitation.

Diabelli, in the work of Michael Pelzel, refers neither to the composer Anton Diabelli, nor to Beethoven’s “Diabelli variations“. “Etüdenbuch zu Diabelli“ for six voices a cappella is based on a story by Hermann Burger in which a magician decides to put an end to his life as an artist. The studies, which can be sung in random order, play on the rhythms provoked by the synchronisation and desynchronisation of the voices. Moreover, the tempi are sometimes superimposed, with the female and male voices beating to different pulsations so that the voices enter into opposition.

Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart lived up to expectations

To end the evening, Mischer Käser’s “Präludien Buch 1-4“ was rich in musical elements: superposed effects – spoken voice, operatic cell, rhythmic cell – rendering the voices independent from each other, dramatisation, with sighing, breathing and perfectly synchronised surprise effects. The composer wanted “exotic song techniques to cohabit with familiar sounds and make them alien”. Surprise and originality are the characteristic features of the work, as well as the dichotomy between the western form of the prelude and the “exotic techniques” used.

Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart lived up to our expectations; the apparent ease with which they performed the virtuoso repertoire was disconcerting. There is no question about their versatility in mastering the works, effects and even the aesthetics. The performance highlighted the perfect understanding and osmosis between the members of the group which enables them to grasp every aspect of these virtuoso works and transcend them in their interpretation.

www.archipel.org

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By placing four Swiss composers in the limelight on Wednesday 21 March 2018, Festival Archipel demonstrated that Swiss composers are still very present in contemporary music. Text by guest author Sébastien Cayet

Swiss creations at Festival Archipel

Katharina Rosenberger, a Swiss composer who was born in Zurich and works in the US, and festival director Marc Texier at the introductory discussion for the “Swiss Concert Evening“ at the Festival Archipel on 21 March 2018 in Geneva. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

With the support of SUISA, the Cooperative Society of Music Authors and Publishers, Archipel proposed an evening in two parts. In cooperation with SUISA, Marc Texier, General Manager of the Festival, invited Swiss composers Katharina Rosenberger and Michael Pelzel for a pre-concert interview. This was a good opportunity to hear about their activities, influences, composition methods and projects.

The least...read more

SUISA remuneration is subject to AHV (pension) contributions

Copyright royalties paid out by SUISA are deemed as earned income from independent activities and therefore have to be taken into consideration for the Swiss Compensation Office (pension funds). That way, later claims and pension reductions at a later stage in life can be avoided. Text by Martin Korrodi

SUISA remuneration is subject to AHV (pension) contributions

Many musicians have several income streams. These can include concert fees, honorariums for commissioned compositions as well as salaries for working at a music school or in an orchestra. Copyright royalties paid out by SUISA are yet another income category. It is worth making retirement provisions and therefore to pay AHV contributions (pension scheme contributions) on the relevant income. (Photo: Crafft)

All authors who receive remuneration from SUISA for the usage of their works have to declare it as income and pay taxes on it as well as settle the respective social security payment contributions with the pension funds. The remuneration paid out by SUISA is deemed as earned income from independent activities and are thus subject to AHV (pension) contributions.

If the income from independent activities within a year do not amount to more than CHF 2,300, the Compensation Office will only claim the amounts upon request (see info box at the end of the text). Nevertheless it is recommended that members settle smaller amounts, too: This helps to avoid potential contribution gaps which would lead to pension reductions at a later stage in life.

Especially in the case of freelance music creatives it is worth the effort to request a statement of account from the respective Compensation Office branch in order to discover any contribution gaps they might have. If these gaps have arisen over the last five years, the missing amounts can still be paid in.

The tax authorities notify the data in relation to the assessable income to the compensation offices. Based on this data, the Compensation Office can then determine that no AHV contributions were paid in relation to certain portions of the earned income. They can then claim the missing amounts retrospectively. In the case of such later claims, interest on arrears is due on top. It therefore is well worth while to notify the SUISA remuneration to the Compensation Office in good time and to pay the contributions.

AHV (pensions) – obligatory insurance for all

In the case of the federal retirement, death and disability insurance, insurance is mandatory for all persons who live in Switzerland or work in this country. All insured parties – with the exception of children – are obliged to pay in AHV contributions. In this case the yielded earned income usually acts as the basis for calculation.

In the case of earned income arising from employment this is the salary that the employer has paid out. In the case of self-employment, the amounts are due in relation to the income that has been yielded from self-organised entrepreneurial, operational or business activities.

The following directive can be used as a rule of thumb: AHV contributions must always be paid out on those amounts which you declare in your tax assessment as arising from an occupation. The situation is different regarding income such as revenue gained from capital investment or real estate which are – in terms of tax law – regarded as income but not as earned income in the sense of attracting an obligation to pay AHV contributions.

Copyright royalties are earned income

Not only the composition of commissioned music and stage appearances of performing artists but also the exploitation of rights are a type of occupation by means of which income is generated. As a consequence all authors who claim their rights vis-a-vis users and thus generate licence income are deemed to be self-employed.

This also applies in cases when you have assigned your rights for management to third parties – in this case, this is the norm in the area of non-theatrical music, via collective management by a collective management organisation such as SUISA. If you register with SUISA, you sign a rights administration agreement. With this agreement, members assign their rights to SUISA combined with the instruction to SUISA to carry out the rights management.

In such cases it does not matter, by the way, whether composers – whether as a fixed employee or via a one-off honorarium – have already been paid for the creation of the works and whether AHV contributions have already been paid on said type of income. The exploitation of the rights of your own works is an activity which is independent of the former and it leads to additional earned income. As such, it must be settled with the Compensation Office.

“Exemption limit” up to CHF 2,300 per calendar year

In the case of the exemption limit it is important to take into consideration that this amount includes all income from self-employed activities (cumulative). If SUISA income in a specific year were CHF 1,600 but additional income was generated from independent activities (whether as a main or subsidiary occupation) these types of income must be added to the amount above. If the final total lies above the tax exemption limit, AHV contributions must be paid out to the entire amount – including SUISA remuneration.

In the case of employees (those with a dependent occupation) the tax exemption limit shall also be applicable, but separately on a per-employment basis. If the respective salary is below the amount of CHF 2,300, the amounts will only be collected by request of theemployee. In such cases it is recommended to demand the statement, in particular on occasions when you have held several employments with minimal salaries. Certain employers in the creative sector are obliged to settle AHV contributions from the first CHF 1.00 of salary in order to protect the employees. These include dance and theatre producers, orchestras, audio and audiovisual producers, radio and TV as well as schools offering artistic educations.

If the income is made up of self-employed (independent) and non-self-employed (dependent) activities, the tax exemption limit is usually applicable on a per income category basis. The limit of CHF 2,300 applies for the total of all income from independent activities which includes SUISA remuneration. Salaries that have been paid to you as an employee do not have to be added since the income from dependent (employed) occupation can be regarded separately with respect to the exemption limit as described before.

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Copyright royalties paid out by SUISA are deemed as earned income from independent activities and therefore have to be taken into consideration for the Swiss Compensation Office (pension funds). That way, later claims and pension reductions at a later stage in life can be avoided. Text by Martin Korrodi

SUISA remuneration is subject to AHV (pension) contributions

Many musicians have several income streams. These can include concert fees, honorariums for commissioned compositions as well as salaries for working at a music school or in an orchestra. Copyright royalties paid out by SUISA are yet another income category. It is worth making retirement provisions and therefore to pay AHV contributions (pension scheme contributions) on the relevant income. (Photo: Crafft)

All authors who receive remuneration from SUISA for the usage of their works have to declare it as income and pay taxes on...read more

Career and calling | plus video

How do I found and run an ensemble for contemporary music? Where do I get subsidies for my music projects from? What is the purpose of SUISA and Swissperform? How do I distribute my works via the internet? Impressions gathered during the first ever “Journée d’orientation professionelle” at the Festival Archipel 2017. Text, photo and video by Manu Leuenberger

On Saturday, 01 April 2017, at the Festival Archipel in Geneva, it was possible to witness the reasons why music can be both career and calling. During the day, an information event took place for young music creators. Based on their wealth of expertise and experience, 12 field experts shared their input in presentations which included many tips on how to enter a career as a musician.

The video impressions only grant a glimpse into the expansive range of topics which were discussed. Further presentations during this first ever “Journée d’orientation professionelle”, the organisation of which was supported by SUISA, were given by: Johannes Knapp – Director of the STV/ASM (Association of Swiss Musicians), Damien Pousset – Founder of the Aeon label, François Passard (Director) und Alain Renaud (Head of the production studio) of L’Abri, Lucas Fagin – composer and co-director of Babelscores, Bruno Serrou – music critic and Marie-Christine Papillon – Director of Papillon publishing.

Career and calling | plus video

Inspiration and profession were also touched upon during the discussions with composers on 01 April 2017 at the Festival Archipel prior to the evening concert in the Alhambra. On the podium, on the far right: Xavier Dayer, President of the SUISA Board.

In the evening prior to the concert in the Alhambra, a public discussion with composers was held. Xavier Dayer, President of the SUISA Board, was also on the podium. The audience at the well attended event found out why copyright remuneration is particularly important for composers who do not receive any concert fees. Due to the copyright remuneration they receive for their work, composers such as Hanspeter Kyburz, William Blank or Tristan Murail can create works like the ones that were performed in the concert just after the discussion by the Lemanic Modern Ensemble.

www.archipel.org, festival website

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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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How do I found and run an ensemble for contemporary music? Where do I get subsidies for my music projects from? What is the purpose of SUISA and Swissperform? How do I distribute my works via the internet? Impressions gathered during the first ever “Journée d’orientation professionelle” at the Festival Archipel 2017. Text, photo and video by Manu Leuenberger

On Saturday, 01 April 2017, at the Festival Archipel in Geneva, it was possible to witness the reasons why music can be both career and calling. During the day, an information event took place for young music creators. Based on their wealth of expertise and experience, 12 field experts shared their input in presentations which included many tips on how to enter a career as a musician.

The video impressions only grant a glimpse...read more

The beats from others – but your own songs

The melody is a catchy tune but the groove just doesn’t match. For days, you haven’t got rhythm while some ingenious lyrics are on the tip of your tongue. There are many reasons why creators use someone else’s raw material for their own songs. The following legal and practical tips on how to deal with bought-out beats help you keep in sync with formalities. Text by Martin Korrodi and Claudia Kempf

The beats from others – but your own songs

Those who produce their own songs with bought-out beats have to familiarise themselves with the licensing terms and conditions of the supplier and to mention the “beat maker” on the works registration at SUISA. (Photo: PrinceOfLove / Shutterstock.com)

Producing new works using pre-existing creations is probably one of the oldest and most successful cultural techniques in existence. Due to the technical developments, the integration of “third-party” beats into your own songs becomes simpler every day, and is thus widespread – especially in the genres of hip-hop and rap.

Raw material for the song production

Under the term “Sampling”, this practice has been in place for several decades. Whereas, in the case of sampling, elements are taken from market-ripe productions and processed further, a multitude of platforms nowadays offer a huge range of beats which are produced specially as raw material for “building” your own songs.

When implementing such pre-fabricated elements it is vital to observe that you don’t just have to “buy” the recording but also acquire the legal authorisations in order to use the recording and the underlying composition for your own works. What the purchaser may do with the acquired beat is set out in so-called licensing terms and conditions. Such “small print” may, for example, carry different names on the websites of the suppliers, such as “license agreement”, “terms of use”, “licensing contract” or “legal matters”.

Watch out for the small print!

Customers usually assume that they may do anything they like with the acquired material as soon as they have purchased the respective beat. This process is, however, usually not a typical purchase agreement but a licensing agreement which often contains limiting terms and conditions and may therefore prevent the registration and exploitation of the finished song.

Under a purchase agreement, the title to a specific work copy is acquired (e.g. on a CD). In this process the buyer has, however, not acquired any rights in the works (compositions) and performances (recordings) which are included on the CD.

Especially when working with pre-fabricated beats, buyers must be clear which copyright-relevant actions are permitted with regards to the beats and which ones are not (reproduction, arrangement etc.) This also applies if you obtain the beats free of charge.

Check list: Check these 9 items first before buying the beats

The following overview collates the most important items that you ought to observe from a legal perspective when acquiring beats via the internet:

  • The licensing terms and conditions (license agreement, terms and conditions, etc.) must always be examined thoroughly! In the case of uncertainties, it is imperative that you consult with the supplier or with SUISA before you complete the purchase transaction.
  • Certain offers only allow the non-commercial exploitation: In such cases, neither the sale of the song (via digital or physical media), nor TV or radio plays are permitted. As a consequence, a monetisation via Youtube is not allowed either.
  • The licence often only covers a specific number of copies of the finished song (e.g. “up to 3,000 units”). If this number is exceeded, a new licence has to be acquired, depending on the respective provisions, or a share in the collected revenue for the exploitation has to be paid to the beat maker.
  • Some licensing models explicitly provide for an exclusion of specific exploitations (e.g. “TV/Radio plays not included”).
  • The producers of the beats are often members of a collective management organisation themselves and demand that they participate with a certain percentage as co-authors when the finished songs are registered.
  • In nearly all cases, the name of the beat maker has to be mentioned when the finished song is used in line with the beat maker’s stipulations (Credits).
  • In the case of non-exclusive licences it is imperative to observe that other customers may also use the same material for their songs.
  • It is often possible to acquire the material on an exclusive basis if you pay a higher fee. In such cases, the respective beat will be deleted from the store once the purchase process has been completed and is thus no longer available to any other customers. In the case of exclusive deals, all necessary authorisations are usually granted in order to be able to exploit the finished song without any limitations.
  • Guarantee and indemnity: Customers who invest a lot of time and money also want to be sure that the finished production is free from third-party claims. In the licensing terms and conditions, the beat maker should therefore issue a guarantee to this end and indemnify customers from any third-party claims.

Registration of the finished songs with SUISA

Due to the rights administration agreement, SUISA has the duty to license the works of its members vis-a-vis the customers. The rights administration agreement applies consistently to all works of a member – it is usually not possible for SUISA to take limitations for a specific song contained in the licensing agreement with the beat maker into consideration.

In particular, SUISA shall not monitor the number of licensed copies or exempt specific exploitations of a song from its licensing activities. As a consequence, SUISA cannot accept any work registrations which contain beats whose use is only permitted subject to restricted conditions.

Mention the beat maker in the work registration

The work registration must be in line with the contents of the licensing agreement. As a consequence, the shares for the exploitation of the beats must be clearly stipulated in the agreement or in the terms and conditions of business. If the shares are not clearly specified, and this does, unfortunately, sometimes happen, they have to be clarified with the supplier.

The following provisions can often be found:

  1. The beat maker must receive a specific percentage of the collected income for the exploitation. In the work registration, the beat maker must be mentioned as a composer with this very percentage.
  2. The beat maker will not receive a share but demands “Credits”; his/her name therefore has to be mentioned. In the work registration, the beat maker must be mentioned as a composer with a 0% share.
  3. The beat maker neither asks for a share nor for “Credits”. The beat maker must still be mentioned as a composer with a 0% share. If the name of the composer is not known, “unknown” may be entered in the composer field.

Independently of the licensing provision, the beat maker must therefore always be mentioned in the work registration. On top of that, a note needs to be made in the comments field when registering the work that it contains a purchased beat. Moreover, it is mandatory to provide a copy of the licensing agreement.

The following shall also apply here: If works are created where several authors have contributed, the shares and authorisations must be clearly specified prior to publication.

Purchase via the internet
The purchase of beats via the internet from an unknown supplier holds the same risks as any other purchase on the internet. The government has therefore issued some basic guidelines which should be observed when making purchases on the internet.
Jamahook – a social network for musicians
A portal by musicians for musicians is currently in its infancy, which shall facilitate the collaboration between musicians, beat makers and producers. The core piece of this platform is a sophisticated algorithm which allows to find suitable sounds or beats matching your own music – in an instant. The search includes harmonies, rhythms, tempo and timbre. Jamahook does not just simplify the musical collaboration but also the regulation of copyright-related legal aspects. In this context, SUISA supports the makers of this platform which has its registered office in Switzerland. More info on this project: www.jamahook.com as well as www.youtube.com/jamahook
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The melody is a catchy tune but the groove just doesn’t match. For days, you haven’t got rhythm while some ingenious lyrics are on the tip of your tongue. There are many reasons why creators use someone else’s raw material for their own songs. The following legal and practical tips on how to deal with bought-out beats help you keep in sync with formalities. Text by Martin Korrodi and Claudia Kempf

The beats from others – but your own songs

Those who produce their own songs with bought-out beats have to familiarise themselves with the licensing terms and conditions of the supplier and to mention the “beat maker” on the works registration at SUISA. (Photo: PrinceOfLove / Shutterstock.com)

Producing new works using pre-existing creations is probably one of the oldest and most successful cultural techniques in existence. Due to the technical developments,...read more

New Pension Fund Regulations in force from 01 January 2017

During SUISA’s ordinary General Assembly on 24 June 2016 in Berne, the review of the Pension Fund Regulations was ratified by SUISA members. The changes came into force per 01 January 2017. What do the new regulations mean for our members? Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

New Pension Fund Regulations in force from 01 January 2017

The current regulations for the SUISA Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers is available in Italian, French and German on SUISA’s website. (Image: Manu Leuenberger)

There were various reasons for SUISA tabling a review of the Pension Fund Regulations: The old regulations set off discussions time and again on whether they sufficiently reflected practice, and that the wording was not specific enough. These issues could be remedied with the review. On top of the above issues, the regulations had to be adapted to the current legislation (Federal Law on Occupational Retirement, Survivors’ and Disability Pension Plans/foundation law). Following these amendments, we now have a set of current and fair Pension Fund Regulations.

This is what the system now looks like for our members:

Authors

The Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers (UVF) provides for pension support for our members and affiliates. Once they have reached their pension age, a payment to authors and their respective survivors is guaranteed subject to specific conditions and up to a specific amount at previous levels. The UVF pays such guaranteed income as a pension benefit in such cases if less or no remuneration at all is paid in the course of ongoing distributions. In contrast to a support for the second pillar, the UVF fund only finances the part which authors do no longer receive from the ongoing SUISA distributions.

The UVF fund guarantees authors an income from SUISA when they reach pension age. This is calculated based on the annual average of their previous earnings from the SUISA distributions (the so-called reference income), depends on the membership length and is also multiplied with a factor to be determined by the Pension Board.

The effective pension payment corresponds to the difference between the reference income and the SUISA remuneration in the pension year. The level of the guaranteed income is set at a maximum of CHF 38,500 per annum. Those who receive royalties of more than CHF 38,500 from SUISA distributions for performances and broadcasts, even at pension age, will not be eligible to benefit from the UVF.

The fund is financed by the deductions that SUISA makes from all distributions of the collections arising from performances, broadcasts and compensation claims in Switzerland and Liechtenstein (7.5%).

Publishers

SUISA also makes a deduction on behalf of publishers for the UVF. The UVF thus also provides for pension benefits for publishers if they fulfil the conditions in terms of publishing activities in Switzerland. Publishing companies can, however, not be pensioned. As a consequence, they receive benefits from the fund as soon as they are accepted as affiliates and/or members of SUISA; these benefits are made in the form of contributions to their own occupational benefit institution of the second pillar. It is important that publishers inform SUISA about their occupational benefit institution and submit the relevant payment details.

Revised Pension Fund Regulations

There are no fundamental changes to the SUISA benefits system. The most important changes, apart from some specifications and formulations, are:

  1. Various adaptations to the Federal Law on Occupational Retirement, Survivors’ and Disability Pension Plans (BVG).
  2. Conditions for the pension of civil partners – as per the new BVG definition – are: The same regulation shall apply for registered and (unregistered) surviving partners as for surviving spouses.
  3. New competence of the Pension Board (Board of SUISA) for regulation changes.

On SUISA’s website, under www.suisa.ch/fuersorgereglement the new regulations as well as a synoptical representation is available, comparing the old and currently valid regulations with the relevant amendments and comments.

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During SUISA’s ordinary General Assembly on 24 June 2016 in Berne, the review of the Pension Fund Regulations was ratified by SUISA members. The changes came into force per 01 January 2017. What do the new regulations mean for our members? Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

New Pension Fund Regulations in force from 01 January 2017

The current regulations for the SUISA Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers is available in Italian, French and German on SUISA’s website. (Image: Manu Leuenberger)

There were various reasons for SUISA tabling a review of the Pension Fund Regulations: The old regulations set off discussions time and again on whether they sufficiently reflected practice, and that the wording was not specific enough. These issues could be remedied with the review. On top of the above issues, the regulations had to be adapted to the current legislation (Federal...read more

New distribution key for performing and broadcasting rights

The SUISA distribution key for performing and broadcasting rights will be changed from 01 January 2017 onwards. For works with an original publisher, the share of the author shall be 66.67% and that of the publisher 33.33%. The distribution rules are thus adapted to the CISAC key which is applied at international level. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

8/12 for authors, 4/12 for publishers: SUISA will adapt its distribution key for performing and broadcasting rights to European standards again. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

The majority of SUISA’s European sister societies apply the so-called “CISAC key” when it comes to originally published works in the performing and broadcasting rights sector. CISAC is the international umbrella for collective management organisations (Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Auteurs et Compositeurs). The shares of the distribution key recommended by the umbrella organisation for performances and broadcasts amount to 66.67% for authors and 33.33% for publishers.

SUISA’s distribution key

SUISA’s distribution key had deviated from the internationally established CISAC standard in the past. Up to now, SUISA distribution rules provided that the shares for originally published works for performing and broadcasting rights was 65% for authors and a maximum of 35% for publishers. Regarding the production of sound and audio-visual recordings, the composers receive 60% and the publishers 40%.

In the case of works with a sub-publisher, the author has an entitlement as per the distribution rules to receive 50%, and the publisher and sub-publisher to claim the remaining 50% for performances and broadcasts. Regarding the production of sound and audio-visual recordings, the composers receive 40% and the publisher and sub-publisher share the remaining 60%. In this context, it is worth mentioning that SUISA usually adopts the contractually agreed split between the publisher and the sub-publisher in the case of sub-published works. Only in the absence of such agreed splits will SUISA apply the keys established by the distribution rules.

Alignment with the European CISAC standard

The distribution keys by SUISA will now be adapted in the case of originally published works in the performing and broadcasting rights to European standards. The keys relating to the production of sound and audio-visual recordings (mechanical reproduction rights) shall remain unchanged in the distribution rules. Strictly speaking, the application of the CISAC key of 67% for authors and 33.33% for publishers is nothing new, but rather a re-introduction of a previous provision.

The key applied on a Europe-wide level is actually expressed in fractions 8/12 (author’s share) resp. 4/12 (publisher’s share). When SUISA began working with IT systems back in 1962, the aim was to avoid decimal places after the decimal point. As a consequence, SUISA changed the key, and rounded it to 65%, resp. 35%. The majority of the other European societies kept the translated fractions i.e. 66.67% and 33.33%.

Effects of the changed distribution rules

Thanks to the adaptation of the distribution keys, authors will be remunerated with the share that is deemed as standard in the European area. While the publisher share will be decreased by 1.67%, they will, together with the authors, benefit from positive effects which the changes bring about.

Apart from the harmonisation with other European societies, the (re)introduction of the CISAC key for originally published works entails further significant advantages:

  • Important increase in efficiency during work registration: Processing of SUISA works with international contributors will become simpler. Difficult conversions in the case of joint productions with international authors become redundant.
  • Processing distributions of the sister societies will be significantly simplified: The matching distribution keys will facilitate the processing of distributions by international sister societies to a great extent.

Validity of the changes to the distribution rules

Both the SUISA Board of Directors as well as the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) have agreed to this change. The new distribution keys will come into force from 01 January 2017 without any retroactivity. This means, that all works declared after 01 January 2017 will be registered with the new distribution key. In the case of works that had been registered before that date, the distribution key in place shall remain valid. These works will not be changed.

The decision of the IPI dated 28 July 2016 is published at the SUISA website.

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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 distribution key for performing and broadcasting rights will be changed from 01 January 2017 onwards. For works with an original publisher, the share of the author shall be 66.67% and that of the publisher 33.33%. The distribution rules are thus adapted to the CISAC key which is applied at international level. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

8/12 for authors, 4/12 for publishers: SUISA will adapt its distribution key for performing and broadcasting rights to European standards again. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

The majority of SUISA’s European sister societies apply the so-called “CISAC key” when it comes to originally published works in the performing and broadcasting rights sector. CISAC is the international umbrella for collective management organisations (Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Auteurs et Compositeurs). The shares of the distribution key recommended by the...read more