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“Get Going!” goes into the fourth round

Since 2018, “Get Going!” has been a regular feature of the support portfolio of the FONDATION SUISA. Now the kick-off financing programme which promotes innovative creative approaches outside the usual “pigeonholes”, enters its fourth round. Text by FONDATION SUISA

Fondation Suisa: “Get Going!” goes into the fourth round

Last year’s recipients of “Get Going!” (Clockwise from the top left) Isandro Ojeda-García, OY, Réka Csiszér, Pirmin Huber. (Photos: Caio Licínio; Sash Seurat Samson; Romina Kalsi; Gian Marco Castelberg)

When invitations to tender for “Get Going!” were launched for the first time, in 2018, it was “a shot in the dark”, says Urs Schnell, Director of the FONDATION SUISA. Back then, the idea was to look ahead. “Instead of patting an artist on the back after the fact by awarding them a prize, we now invest the money available to us into the future instead.”

So far, four “Get Going!” contributions of CHF 25,000 each have been allocated three times. The unabated interest in this promotion process underlines the changing conditions that music creators find themselves in with respect to many issues. Since the kick-off financing is not linked to a result, it allows musicians to work free from financial and time-related pressures. “On the one hand, the environment over the last years has become more hectic, on the other hand, the pandemic has left many in a void. You can look at it from any which angle, the time factor has become a commodity that should not be underestimated”, explains Schnell.

Applications for “Get Going!” contributions until 30 August 2021

“Get Going!” is aimed at innovative and creative projects that are in danger of falling through the cracks in any conventional application system. FONDATION SUISA intends to move towards artists with “Get Going!”, says Schnell, and adds: “We want to move free creative thinking back into the centre of interest.”

From now on, creators, authors and musicians who can prove a clear relation to current music creation in Switzerland or Liechtenstein, can apply again for “Get Going!”. Four of those kick-off financing packages of CHF 25,000 each will be granted by an expert jury again this year. The deadline to submit applications is 30 August 2021.

In order to show what “Get Going!” actually offers in terms of opportunities, we are going to publish portraits of the recipients of last year’s “Get Going!” contributions on the FONDATION SUISA website and the SUISAblog over the next few weeks.

“Get Going!” on the website of FONDATION SUISA

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Are royalties subject to social security (AHV/AVS) contributions?Are royalties subject to social security (AHV/AVS) contributions? Do royalties qualify as earnings from self-employment? Swiss AHV/AVS compensation offices follow different practices. Read more
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Since 2018, “Get Going!” has been a regular feature of the support portfolio of the FONDATION SUISA. Now the kick-off financing programme which promotes innovative creative approaches outside the usual “pigeonholes”, enters its fourth round. Text by FONDATION SUISA

Fondation Suisa: “Get Going!” goes into the fourth round

Last year’s recipients of “Get Going!” (Clockwise from the top left) Isandro Ojeda-García, OY, Réka Csiszér, Pirmin Huber. (Photos: Caio Licínio; Sash Seurat Samson; Romina Kalsi; Gian Marco Castelberg)

When invitations to tender for “Get Going!” were launched for the first time, in 2018, it was “a shot in the dark”, says Urs Schnell, Director of the FONDATION SUISA. Back then, the idea was to look ahead. “Instead of patting an artist on the back after the fact by awarding them a prize, we now invest the money available to us into the future...read more

Are royalties subject to social security (AHV/AVS) contributions?

Do royalties qualify as earnings from self-employment? Swiss AHV/AVS compensation offices follow different practices. Text by Michelle Moser

Are royalties subject to social security (AHV/AVS) contributions?

Saving for retirement: Swiss compensation offices do not agree on whether or not royalties are subject to social security contributions. (Photo: Nattapol Sritongcom / Shutterstock.com)

Musicians often earn their living from several different sources: fees from concerts, a teacher’s salary from the music school, fees for commissioned works, or remuneration collected by SUISA on their behalf.

The different cantonal compensation offices have no uniform position on whether the remuneration distributed by SUISA qualifies as income from gainful self-employment – which would be subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

AHV/AVS – mandatory insurance for all

All Swiss residents and persons gainfully employed in Switzerland are subject to mandatory retirement, disability, and survivors’ insurance. And all those insured (except children) are accordingly required to pay social security (AHV/AVS) contributions. The contributions are normally assessed on the income earned from gainful employment.

For persons who are gainfully self-employed, contributions are assessed on the income earned from one’s own entrepreneurial, commercial, or business activities.

In principle, the following guidelines apply: AHV/AVS contributions must be paid on the earnings declared in one’s tax return. This is not the case for income from capital investments or real property, for example, which is taxable income but is not subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

Royalties: income from employment or from capital investment?

For SVA Zurich, the social security institution, royalties basically qualify as income from self-employment and should be declared accordingly. As a result, authors must register as self-employeds.

SVA Zurich does, however, make a distinction between authors who actively exploit their works and authors who do not. Authors who actively exploit their works after creating them (e.g. as a member of a band playing its own compositions) qualify as gainfully employed. This includes collective administration by SUISA. The earnings from such gainful employment are subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

The subsequent royalties received by authors who do not actively exploit their works after creating them, on the other hand, qualify as income from capital investments, and are not subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

In summary, for SVA Zurich what is decisive is whether an author participates in the performance of the works or merely “reaps” the proceeds from his earlier compositions.

Different practice from one canton to the other

Whether AHV/AVS contributions are payable on remuneration distributed by the collecting societies is decided differently by the compensation offices depending on who is asking, and the amount involved.

Unlike SVA Zurich, the compensation office of the canton of Vaud, for example, holds that remuneration for the creation of works is by definition subject to AHV/AVS contributions, while the remuneration from subsequent uses distributed by the collecting societies qualifies as capital gains and is not subject to social security contributions. It follows, therefore, that none of the remuneration distributed by the collecting societies is subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

In the final analysis, the decision on these social insurance issues does not lie with the collecting societies but with the compensation offices. For this reason, the Swiss collecting societies advise their members to contact the competent compensation office to establish what exactly their AHV/AVS contribution obligations are.

The different practices of cantonal compensation offices with regard to social security contributory obligations on royalties offers no legal certainty and is unsatisfactory. The Swiss collecting societies will follow this issue closely and keep their members informed of any changes.

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  1. Ich bin erstaunt bezüglich unterschiedlicher Handhabung von Ausgleichskassen von Urheberrechten/-entschädigungen. Jede AHV-Ausgleichskasse hat die gesetzlichen Grundlagen anzuwenden und wenn etwas unklar ist, ist dies durch das BSV klarzustellen. Der unterschiedlichen Handhabung wären u.a. auch Autoren (mit oder ohne Vorlesung) ausgesetzt. Dies meine Ansicht als Eidg. Dipl. Sozialversicherungsexperte.

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Do royalties qualify as earnings from self-employment? Swiss AHV/AVS compensation offices follow different practices. Text by Michelle Moser

Are royalties subject to social security (AHV/AVS) contributions?

Saving for retirement: Swiss compensation offices do not agree on whether or not royalties are subject to social security contributions. (Photo: Nattapol Sritongcom / Shutterstock.com)

Musicians often earn their living from several different sources: fees from concerts, a teacher’s salary from the music school, fees for commissioned works, or remuneration collected by SUISA on their behalf.

The different cantonal compensation offices have no uniform position on whether the remuneration distributed by SUISA qualifies as income from gainful self-employment – which would be subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

AHV/AVS – mandatory insurance for all

All Swiss residents and persons gainfully employed in Switzerland are subject to mandatory retirement, disability, and survivors’ insurance. And all those insured (except children) are accordingly...read more

«Get Going!» goes into the third round

«Get Going!» enables new perspectives: The idea of «Get Going!» is based on the philosophy of «making it possible». «Get Going!» consist of a start-up financing. Four such contributions of CHF 25 000.- each per year are advertised. Text by FONDATION SUISA

«Get Going!» goes into the third round

The recipients of the “Get Going!” contributions 2019 (from top left to bottom right): Anna Gosteli, Michel Barengo, Jessiquoi, Félix Bergeron (Iynnu) and Jérémie Zwahlen. (Photos: zVg)

«Get Going!» should be accessible to as many musically creative people as possible. Musicians should be restricted as little as possible in their creative ideas.

«Get Going!» 2020: Call for applications

Application deadline: 31.08.2020

The call for applications is intended to be broadly open and deliberately avoids the usual categories of musical genre, age or project.

Applications may be submitted by authors and musicians who can demonstrate a clear connection with the current Swiss or Liechtenstein music making.

Please note that:

  • We will not accept any additional documents, neither in electronic form nor as hard copies
  • We shall neither engage in any correspondence nor give any information by phone about the selection procedure and the final decision
  • If necessary, the jury may request further information
  • The jury, consisting of four members of the Board of Trustees, will evaluate the applications and make the final selection. The substance and originality of the applicant’s submission will play a decisive role in the selection.

To apply:

You have until 31.08.2020 to fill out the online form below:

«Get Going!» 2020 application form

In the course of autumn 2020, the jury will consider the submitted dossiers. You will then receive feedback on your application.

www.fondation-suisa.ch/en/work-grants

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«Get Going!» enables new perspectives: The idea of «Get Going!» is based on the philosophy of «making it possible». «Get Going!» consist of a start-up financing. Four such contributions of CHF 25 000.- each per year are advertised. Text by FONDATION SUISA

«Get Going!» goes into the third round

The recipients of the “Get Going!” contributions 2019 (from top left to bottom right): Anna Gosteli, Michel Barengo, Jessiquoi, Félix Bergeron (Iynnu) and Jérémie Zwahlen. (Photos: zVg)

«Get Going!» should be accessible to as many musically creative people as possible. Musicians should be restricted as little as possible in their creative ideas.

«Get Going!» 2020: Call for applications

Application deadline: 31.08.2020

The call for applications is intended to be broadly open and deliberately avoids the usual categories of musical genre, age or project.

Applications may be submitted by authors and musicians who can demonstrate a clear connection...read more

The Artist’s Agreement compared with the Publishing Agreement

The economic producer (a label, for example) finances the production of sound recordings containing performances by p artists with the intent to subsequently promote and exploit the recordings commercially. The artist’s agreement regulates the resulting rights between the performer and the producer. The artist’s agreement is often confused with the publishing agreement. An overview of the differences between the two contracts. Text by Céline Troillet

The Artist’s Agreement compared with the Publishing Agreement

The artist’s agreement regulates the performer’s rights to their performance; the publishing agreement on the other hand regulates the exclusive rights of the composer and the lyricist in their work. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

An artist’s agreement between a performer and an economic producer (a label, for example) can be defined as the transfer by the performer of their performance rights to the producer for the purpose of producing and marketing a sound recording.

Transfer of the artist’s rights

The neighbouring rights transferred by the performer (performance rights) to the producer are the performer’s exclusive rights in their performance. These include the exclusive right:

  • to fix their performance on blank media and to reproduce such fixations (mechanical rights);
  • to offer, transfer or otherwise distribute copies of their performance; (right to market or distribution right);
  • to make their performance perceptible in some place other than that in which it was performed, either directly or through any kind of medium, in such a way that persons may access it from a place and at a time individually chosen by them (the right of recitation, presentation and performance, and the right to make available);
  • to broadcast their performance by radio, television or similar method, including by wire, as well as to retransmit the broadcast performance by means of technical equipment, the provider of which is not the original broadcasting organization, and to make their performance perceptible when they are broadcast, retransmitted or made available to the public (broadcasting right).

Obligations of the producer

The producer’s function is to produce, at their own expense, a recording containing the artist’s performance, and to promote and exploit the recording. The producer is responsible for promoting the recording in accordance with industry practice.

Royalties

In consideration of the transfer of the performer’s rights, the producer is required to pay a fee for each recording sold. The fee is calculated on the wholesale price of every sound recording sold, at varying rates depending on the type of sale. For recordings sold in retail outlets (physical distribution), the rate is generally 8%, but it may go up to 12%. For online sales (internet and other), rates are usually between 15% and 30%. For other uses (e.g. for advertising or use in a film), the fee due to the performer is generally 50% of the amount received by the producer of the sound recording.

Comparison with the publishing agreement

A publishing agreement between an author and a publisher can be defined as the transfer by the author (composer, lyricist, arranger) to the publisher of the rights in the author’s work with a view to its publishing.

Transfer of the author’s rights

The author’s rights transferred to the publisher are the author’s exclusive rights in their work (i.e. in the composition and lyrics). These rights include:

  • the right to produce copies of the work, particularly in printed form, or as sound recordings, audiovisual recordings or on other media carriers (mechanical rights);
  • the right to offer to the public, to sell or otherwise distribute copies of the work (right to market or distribution right);
  • the right to recite, present or perform the work, or enable it to be viewed or heard in a place other than that where the work was presented, and to make it available (the right of recitation, presentation and performance, and the right to make available);
  • the right to broadcast the work via radio or television (broadcasting right).

Other rights may also be transferred by the author, i.e. remuneration claims managed by collecting societies (uses for teaching purposes, for example), graphic rights (the right to publish sheet music and/or lyrics and to distribute such copies of the work), arrangement rights (remixes, arrangement of a work), synchronisation rights (the right to combine the work with works of other genres, in particular with films or video games), or the advertising right (the right to use the work for advertising purposes).

For your information
Publishing agreement: “Publishing agreements: What do I need to consider?” (SUISAblog)
For more about music and films: SUISAinfo 2.09 (PDF, in German)
For more about arrangements: “Arranging works protected by copyright”, “Setting to music” as well as “Sampling and Remixes” (SUISAblog)

Obligations of the publisher

The function of the publisher is to publish, reproduce, and distribute the author’s work, to mediatise it, combine it with other works (in an arrangement, film or commercial), present it to the public (interviews, galas, show-casings), and to conclude contracts with sub-publishers for the publication of the work in other countries.

Royalties

The remuneration for the exclusive rights and for the compensation claims managed by collecting societies are split between the author and the publisher following the distribution key of the competent collecting society, or by mutual agreement. According to SUISA’s Distribution Rules, the publisher’s share of performance and broadcasting rights may not exceed 33.33%. There is no cap on the publisher’s share of the mechanical rights. The remuneration from the management of the other rights is shared between the parties as provided in the publishing contract. As a rule, the remuneration is split on an equal 50: 50 basis. For sheet music, the author is entitled to between 10% and 15% of the retail price.

In a nutshell

The artist’s agreement is different to the publisher’s agreement. The artist’s agreement applies to a performer while the publishing agreement concerns the author (composer, lyricist, arranger). In the artist’s agreement, the performer transfers their neighbouring rights (performance rights) in their performance whereas in the publishing agreement, the author transfers the copyrights in their work. Lastly, the producer and the publisher do not have the same function in respect of their respective co-contractor, and the remuneration deriving from the artist’s agreement and the publishing agreement is specific to each. For example, if a film producer wishes to use a piece of music in their new film, they must obtain the recording rights from the label (which obtained them from the performer under the artist’s agreements) and the copyrights in the work (composition and lyrics) from the publisher (who obtained them from the author under the publishing agreement).

For your information
Specimens of publishing and sub-publishing agreements are available on SUISA’s website. The main points of these agreements are presented in a commented version. www.suisa.ch/en/members/publishers/publishing-agreement.html
SUISA manages authors’ rights for authors and publishers. Swissperform manages the neighbouring rights of performers and producers in their recordings.
“Why SUISA members should also consider joining SWISSPERFORM” (SUISAblog)
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  1. Mathias Haut says:

    Hallo Liebes SUISA Team,
    ich bin Musiker und möchte mich auch gleichzeitig als Verleger anmelden. Wie sieht es da mit dem Vertragsrecht aus ? Haben Sie ein Musterbeispiel für so ein Anliegen ?
    Vielen Dank
    Mathias

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All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

The economic producer (a label, for example) finances the production of sound recordings containing performances by p artists with the intent to subsequently promote and exploit the recordings commercially. The artist’s agreement regulates the resulting rights between the performer and the producer. The artist’s agreement is often confused with the publishing agreement. An overview of the differences between the two contracts. Text by Céline Troillet

The Artist’s Agreement compared with the Publishing Agreement

The artist’s agreement regulates the performer’s rights to their performance; the publishing agreement on the other hand regulates the exclusive rights of the composer and the lyricist in their work. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

An artist’s agreement between a performer and an economic producer (a label, for example) can be defined as the transfer by the performer of their performance rights to the producer for the purpose of producing...read more

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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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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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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All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

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More than 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. 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)

Introductory comment, supplemented on 9 June 2021: The information in this article is partially outdated. See SUISAblog for an up-to-date article “Are royalties subject to social security (AHV/AVS) contributions?”

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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  1. Un.e musicien.ne qui n’a pas de statut d’indépendant, comment fait-il.elle pour déclarer ces revenus ? Est-il légalement possible de salarier ces revenus ? Ou est-ce que la SUISA pourrait salariés les musicien.ne.s qui le désirent ? Puisque c’est elle qui gère ces revenus pour eux.elles?

    • Merci pour votre question.
      Non, SUISA ne peut pas salarier les musicien-ne-s qui le désirent. La raison est que SUISA n’est pas l’employeur de ses membres, il n’y a pas de contrat de travail entre SUISA et ses membres. Les revenus versés par SUISA doivent dans tous les cas être déclarés par la ou le contribuable comme revenus d’une activité indépendante, cela en plus des revenus d’une éventuelle activité salariée.
      SUISA Communication

Leave a Reply

All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

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. 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)

Introductory comment, supplemented on 9 June 2021: The information in this article is partially outdated. See SUISAblog for an up-to-date article “Are royalties subject to social security (AHV/AVS) contributions?”

All authors who receive remuneration from SUISA for the usage of their works have to declare it as...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