Tag Archives: Board

General Meeting 2022: Face to face again at last

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

General Meeting 2022: Face to face again at last

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voting members welcome

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

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

New criteria for members who are entitled to vote
The SUISA Board of Directors decided in December 2020 to adapt the criteria for members who are entitled to vote. Authors and publishers will be admitted as members with voting rights if they have been SUISA principals for at least one year and had at least CHF 3,000 in royalties paid out to them since their registration. Previously, this amount was CHF 2,000. This change entered into force in 2021.
Furthermore, the contractual membership relationship will be reverted into a mandate relationship if members received less than CHF 3,000 in distribution payments overall for their works during the last ten years.
Related articles
New features in member services of SUISANew features in member services of SUISA SUISA has been enhancing its online service for years now, especially for music authors and music publishers. Self-service is key: It should be easy and comfortable for members to access all SUISA services online. This does not just save time for members: SUISA can thus also increase its efficiency and therefore distribute more money to rightsholders. In 2022, the conditions for membership will also be amended. Read more
Spring meeting of the SUISA Board of DirectorsSpring meeting of the SUISA Board of Directors The SUISA Board of Directors and its committees held their spring meetings on 11/12 April 2022. After a long break, it is back in full for the first time with face-to-face personal meetings at SUISAʼs headquarters in Zurich. Read more
General Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of DirectorsGeneral Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of Directors For the second time running, the SUISA General Meeting took place in writing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Altogether 1,486 composers, lyricists, music publishers and heirs participated in the voting process by letter and e-mail. Read more
Collapse article

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.

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

General Meeting 2022: Face to face again at last

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

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

Spring meeting of the SUISA Board of Directors

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

Spring meeting of the SUISA Board of Directors

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

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

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

Risk management

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

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

Partial revision of the Articles of Association, #creatorsforUkraine

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

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

Other agenda items

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

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

Related articles
Board meetings December: Budget established for the year 2022Board meetings December: Budget established for the year 2022 The meetings of SUISA’s Board of Directors on 12 and 13 December 2021 had unfortunately to be held in the form of a video conference again due to the recommended protective measures. Among other things, the budget for 2022 was approved at the last meetings of the year. Read more
Common Tariff 3a: A hundred thousand new SUISA business customersCommon Tariff 3a: A hundred thousand new SUISA business customers | plus video With regards to Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a), SUISA has been managing all customers directly again since 01 January 2019. In order to do so, data of about 100,000 customers which received their 3a invoices via Billag in the past years, has been migrated into the SUISA systems. A new team of 16 staff is responsible for all customers of this tariff and provides customer service in four languages. Read more
New features in member services of SUISANew features in member services of SUISA SUISA has been enhancing its online service for years now, especially for music authors and music publishers. Self-service is key: It should be easy and comfortable for members to access all SUISA services online. This does not just save time for members: SUISA can thus also increase its efficiency and therefore distribute more money to rightsholders. In 2022, the conditions for membership will also be amended. Read more
Collapse article

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.

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

Spring meeting of the SUISA Board of Directors

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

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

Board meetings December: Budget established for the year 2022

The meetings of SUISA’s Board of Directors on 12 and 13 December 2021 had unfortunately to be held in the form of a video conference again due to the recommended protective measures. Among other things, the budget for 2022 was approved at the last meetings of the year. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

Board meetings December: Budget established for the year 2022

The outlook with regard to the staging of concert events and the associated collections for performing rights for 2022 remains a foggy one. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli & Dirk Hoogendoorn)

Due to the pandemic, the last meetings of the Board of Directors and its commissions were once again held by video conference on 12 and 13 December. Shortly before that, the Board of Directors still had the opportunity to meet physically in the course of a conference.

Future of online licensing

In this information and retreat session on 24 November 2021, the Board of Directors discussed the current situation regarding the global management of our members’ rights for online uses with SUISA’s Executive Committee and the CEO of Mint Digital Services AG. SUISA is competing with other collective management organisations and licensing companies through its joint venture company established together with the American SESAC: ICE, founded by PRS (UK), Gema (DE) and Stim (SE), and Armonia, founded by Sacem (FR). The possible scenarios for the acquisition of further customers were therefore discussed with the Mint CEO. The Board was also able to take note of the benefits that direct licensing of SUISA repertoire brings to our members worldwide.

2022 Budget

The main topic of the December Board meeting was the approval of the 2022 budget presented by management. As is well known, the situation regarding performing rights remains critical. Due to Covid-19, large events are only possible under restrictive conditions, if at all. These requirements entail that ticket sales are also more tentative and often worse than before the pandemic. As a result, performing rights revenue is expected to be lower in 2022 than it was prior to Covid-19 (–35% compared to 2019). Nevertheless, there should be an increase compared to 2020 (+12%).

Important pillars for achieving a better result in all areas compared to 2020 and probably also 2021 are the continuously improved market coverage, adjusted tariffs and new contracts. As a result of the new tariff relating to the blank media levy for external hard disks and laptops valid from 1 July 2022, revenue from compensation claims is expected to increase by around 20% compared to 2020.

On the expenditure side, we continue our cautious course. Expenditures are expected to be lower in 2022 than in 2020. Nevertheless, investments must be made in the further development of IT. The aim is to carry out as many communication processes as possible between members and SUISA and between clients and SUISA online: Our contact persons should be able to get in touch with us at any time via the web portal.

Within the framework of the budget, the Board also decided on the cost deductions for settlements to rightsholders in 2022. These cost deductions remain unchanged, i.e.: a maximum of 15% for performing and broadcasting rights and for online uses (video, websites). For online distribution of audio recordings, the cost deduction is 10%.

Code of conduct and conflicts of interest

The 2014 EU Directive on collecting societies also applies in the Principality of Liechtenstein. SUISA has therefore amended its Articles of Association accordingly in 2018. As a further consequence of the provisions of the Directive, the rules on conflicts of interest need to be defined more precisely. The board approved these rules at the December meeting. To this end, the Board of Directors and the Executive Board will disclose to the General Meeting corresponding declarations on vested interests and the remuneration from their SUISA mandates.

Projects

The Board of Directors also decided to continue its work on and planning of two projects: on the one hand, the celebrations for SUISA’s 100th anniversary in 2023 and, on the other hand, a joint project with Gema to automate and thus improve market registration for performing rights. Details of this will be able to be elaborated in the reports following the upcoming board meetings.

Related articles
Residuals from online collections – what’s that and how can I participate in them?Residuals from online collections – what’s that and how can I participate in them? In mid-December, we pay our members the fourth settlement of their online revenues this year. But this time, we’ll put a cherry on top! This “cherry” comes from the so-called “residuals” about the distribution of which the SUISA Board had decided in autumn 2021. In this context, here’s the most important piece of advice: Register all works as soon as possible with SUISA! Read more
SUISA and the Covid-19 crisisSUISA and the Covid-19 crisis Since the end of February 2020, it’s not just the music sector that has been confronted with an unforeseen challenge. As a cooperative society for authors and publishers of music and a collective management organisation, how is SUISA dealing with the Covid-19 crisis which has been around for nearly two years? Read more
Legal consequences of concert cancellations for Covid-19Legal consequences of concert cancellations for Covid-19 Regrettably, owing to the coronavirus, some musical events have had to be cancelled. What are the consequences of such cancellations for the artists and organisers concerned? Is the artist still entitled to the contractual fee? Read more
Collapse article

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.

The meetings of SUISA’s Board of Directors on 12 and 13 December 2021 had unfortunately to be held in the form of a video conference again due to the recommended protective measures. Among other things, the budget for 2022 was approved at the last meetings of the year. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

Board meetings December: Budget established for the year 2022

The outlook with regard to the staging of concert events and the associated collections for performing rights for 2022 remains a foggy one. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli & Dirk Hoogendoorn)

Due to the pandemic, the last meetings of the Board of Directors and its commissions were once again held by video conference on 12 and 13 December. Shortly before that, the Board of Directors still had the opportunity to meet physically in the course of a conference.

Future...read more

New features in member services of SUISA

SUISA has been enhancing its online service for years now, especially for music authors and music publishers. Self-service is key: It should be easy and comfortable for members to access all SUISA services online. This does not just save time for members: SUISA can thus also increase its efficiency and therefore distribute more money to rightsholders. In 2022, the conditions for membership will also be amended. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold and Claudia Kempf

New features in member services of SUISA

SUISA is constantly enhancing its online services for members and for customers in terms of self-service. (Photo: PopTika / Shutterstock.com)

In June 2021, SUISA set a milestone for its members: Thanks to graphics which are easy to understand, music authors and publishers have a quick overview of the development of their copyright revenues of the last five years now that the Royalty Report has been launched. In addition, the tool lets you run individual analyses with one mouse click.

Self-service: Constant enhancement of online services

SUISA took a major step towards self-service with these new features: Members and customers can access all of the information and services of SUISA relevant to them, as easily as possible via internet. For a few years now, SUISA has been constantly expanding its online services. Authors, publishers but also users of music will be able to use more and more services via web portals – in a simple and comfortable manner. SUISA is going to publish news about the new services via all of its channels.

Members will benefit from this on the one hand: Instead of reverting to time and cost consuming queries via phone, letter or e-mail, they can now access all details on the contractual relationship with SUISA online via their personal login to the membership portal “My account”. SUISA, on the other hand, will also benefit from this by saving time and cost for providing advice via phone, e-mail or letter. This, in turn, is an advantage to the authors and publishers because SUISA will then be in a position to pay out more to its rightsholders thanks to the costs savings made.

New criteria for members who are entitled to vote

The SUISA Board of Directors decided in December 2020 to adapt the criteria for members who are entitled to vote. Authors and publishers will be admitted as members with voting rights if they have been SUISA principals for at least one year and had at least CHF 3,000 in royalties paid out to them since their registration. Previously, this amount was CHF 2,000. This change entered into force in 2021.

Furthermore, the contractual membership relationship will be reverted into a mandate relationship if members received less than CHF 3,000 in distribution payments overall for their works during the last ten years. This amendment shall be made in line with item 5.5.4 of the SUISA Articles of Association:

5.5 Membership shall end:
[…]
5.5.4 if the remuneration distributed to a member over a ten-year period does not reach the threshold set by the Board, and the membership status reverts to a simple mandate relationship; […]

Principals shall be equal to members with voting rights with respect to financial matters. They have, just like the members, the same entitlements to licensing and distribution of the collections for the works which are broadcast, performed, reproduced or used online. They do, however, not have voting rights in the General Meeting of the Cooperative Society.

Changes to the SUISA membership structure

The reason for this change is today’s membership structure of SUISA: At the end of 2020, SUISA had more than 12,000 members entitled to vote and nearly 28,000 principals. Among these 40,000 rightsholders, only about 60% generate income from the exploitation of their works. More than a third of principals and members never receive a distribution at all because their works are neither performed, recorded, broadcast nor used online. Even among the 12,000 rightsholders with voting rights, nearly half has hardly generated any copyright revenues during the last few years.

Even though SUISA is hardly playing a major role for them in terms of income, they were entitled to vote about the future and fate of the Cooperative Society at the SUISA General Meeting. In future it should only be members for whom SUISA is a major source of income who can decide on the topics presented to the SUISA General Meeting.

Members who do not fulfil the conditions mentioned, will revert to principals without a voting right at the General Meeting. Those who are affected will receive a letter in January 2022 where they will be personally informed about this.

Register now for “My account”

Benefit from the online services of SUISA and register for the membership portal “my account”: www.suisa.ch/my-account. All rightsholders, members and principals, can get information regarding their settlements and register their works or launch queries on a 24/7 basis there.

Related articles
The Royalty Report is onlineThe Royalty Report is online News about “My account”: Thanks to user-friendly graphics, the Royalty Report provides a quick overview of how the copyright royalties developed over the last five years and allows individual analyses per mouse click. Read more
General Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of DirectorsGeneral Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of Directors For the second time running, the SUISA General Meeting took place in writing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Altogether 1,486 composers, lyricists, music publishers and heirs participated in the voting process by letter and e-mail. Read more
SUISA membership in numbersSUISA 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. Read more
Collapse article
  1. LINDE HANS-MARTIN says:

    Die sicherlich gutgeplanten Neuerungen sind viel zu umständlich und nichts für ein normales SUISA-Mitglied.

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.

SUISA has been enhancing its online service for years now, especially for music authors and music publishers. Self-service is key: It should be easy and comfortable for members to access all SUISA services online. This does not just save time for members: SUISA can thus also increase its efficiency and therefore distribute more money to rightsholders. In 2022, the conditions for membership will also be amended. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold and Claudia Kempf

New features in member services of SUISA

SUISA is constantly enhancing its online services for members and for customers in terms of self-service. (Photo: PopTika / Shutterstock.com)

In June 2021, SUISA set a milestone for its members: Thanks to graphics which are easy to understand, music authors and publishers have a quick overview of the development of their copyright revenues of the last five years now...read more

SUISA Board meeting, autumn 2021

The Board of Directors and the Committee for Tariffs and Distribution and the one for Organisation and Communication gathered on 29 and 30 September 2021 for their autumn meetings in Lausanne. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

SUISA Board meeting, autumn 2021

During its autumn meeting, the SUISA Board of Directors elected Francine Jordi (pictured) into the Board of FONDATION SUISA. (Photo: Thomas Buchwalder)

Fortunately, the epidemiological situation allowed the members of the SUISA Board of Directors and the Executive Committee to meet in person again. Of all people, it was ausgerechnet? Councillor of States, Johanna Gapany, newly elected to the Board at the General Meeting 2021, who was only able to join the meeting of the Committee for Organisation and Communication (O+K) via video link due to her participation in the session of the Federal Councillors in Bern. The SUISA meeting schedule 2022 is going to be adapted with the Council sessions in mind.

Cost unit accounting

The Board of Directors dealt with the results of the cost unit accounting for 2020, like every year in its autumn meeting. Based on the cost unit accounting, it can be determined how high the expenditure for collection and distribution is for each tariff in detail.

It is generally known that SUISA deducts a fixed percentage from the settlements to the rightsholders as a cost contribution for its expenditure related to collection and distribution. This percentage, i.e. 15% for performing and broadcasting rights, is a mixed calculation in relation to the effective costs. For example, collecting licence fees for music usages in the hospitality industry (CT H) or for dance and entertainment (CT Hb) is more costly than the collection from radio stations (Tariff A and CT S).

This cost unit accounting also makes these differences visible, and it can also be shown in a time dimension whether the costs for a specific tariff are showing a downward trend thanks to savings and rationalisation measures. The result of the cost unit accounting 2020 was somewhat clouded by the difficult collection situation due to the pandemic, less income but still costs which could not be reduced to the same extent.

Strategy

Every year in its autumn meeting, the Board of Directors takes a look at the strategy of SUISA. The basis paper for this was created in 2019. It was now time to check whether the defined strategic objectives are still to be weighted equally and can be achieved in a meaningful way.

Due to the pandemic, slight adjustments were made; however, the fundamental strategic stance of “asserting oneself in the face of increasing competition through high yields with high cost-awareness and best service quality” remains the same.

Special meeting to discuss online usages

In relation to the company’s strategy, the Board of Directors is going to meet at the end of November in a special meeting to discuss online usages. One reason for this, among others, is also the five-year anniversary of Mint Digital Services, the Joint Venture with the US-American organisation SESAC.

For this special meeting, the Board of Directors approved an agenda and determined the main issues. The objective is to define the needs and expectations of the SUISA members and satisfy them by way of finding suitable measures at Mint Digital Services and the SUISA group of companies.

Distribution of “residuals”

Changes in the distribution rules normally have to be approved by the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (in Switzerland) and the Office for Economic Affairs (in Liechtenstein). The competence in the case of distribution rules for collections for online licensing is different: The management of online rights is not subject to federal supervision. As such, the respective changes to distribution rules exclusively fall under the competence of the Distribution and Works Committee and the SUISA Board of Directors.

As part of this competence, the Board of Directors decided in its meeting on 30 September 2021 that item 5.6.1 of the distribution rules be changed respectively reviewed with regards to the distribution of the “residuals” paid by online platforms. “Residuals” are amounts paid by online music platforms for works or parts of works whose rights owners could not be determined and as such no claims were established by any collective management organisation.

Such difficulties arise in such cases when musical works have not been registered in time. For such cases, online providers pay so-called “residuals” after 18 months to the collective management organisation of the country where the music was used.

A so-called “multi-stage invoicing” has been agreed with the online music providers: The usage data of the distribution period will be matched after 90 and after 180 days again against the works database. During that time, it is possible to submit a late registration of the works resulting in a settlement for the work that has been registered late.

The Board of Directors decided that after 180 days, the payments for non-identified works (the “residuals”) shall be paid out as a supplement on top of the other used works in the corresponding distribution period. The alternative that up to five years after the usage, unidentified works can still be registered has been dismissed by the Board of Directors due to cost reasons. It is therefore important that new titles are registered as soon as possible so that online usages can be distributed as adequately as possible.

Francine Jordi elected to the Pension Board of the FONDATION SUISA

The Board of Directors of SUISA is the election committee of the Board of FONDATION SUISA, the foundation for music promotion of SUISA. In its autumn meeting, the Board elected Francine Jordi as a new Pension Board member.

Related articles
Online licensing activities require early work registrationsOnline licensing activities require early work registrations From a sales perspective, online music distribution provides enormous opportunities. With little effort, music can be made available to a global audience within an instant. The distribution of copyright royalties, however, is complex when it comes to online usages. This is also due to the fact that the processes differ from those for performing and broadcasting rights. The most important advice is: First, register the work with SUISA as early as possible, then publish it online. Read more
SUISA and the Covid-19 crisisSUISA and the Covid-19 crisis Since the end of February 2020, it’s not just the music sector that has been confronted with an unforeseen challenge. As a cooperative society for authors and publishers of music and a collective management organisation, how is SUISA dealing with the Covid-19 crisis which has been around for nearly two years? Read more
SUISA Board of Directors holds a physical meeting for the first time in 15 monthsSUISA Board of Directors holds a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months While the General Meeting could only take place by postal vote due to the precautionary measures taken in the context with the corona pandemic for the second time, the Board of Directors decided to hold a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months in Muri near Berne on 24 and 25 June 2021, adhering to the prescribed protective measures. Read more
Collapse article

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.

The Board of Directors and the Committee for Tariffs and Distribution and the one for Organisation and Communication gathered on 29 and 30 September 2021 for their autumn meetings in Lausanne. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

SUISA Board meeting, autumn 2021

During its autumn meeting, the SUISA Board of Directors elected Francine Jordi (pictured) into the Board of FONDATION SUISA. (Photo: Thomas Buchwalder)

Fortunately, the epidemiological situation allowed the members of the SUISA Board of Directors and the Executive Committee to meet in person again. Of all people, it was ausgerechnet? Councillor of States, Johanna Gapany, newly elected to the Board at the General Meeting 2021, who was only able to join the meeting of the Committee for Organisation and Communication (O+K) via video link due to her participation in the session of the...read more

SUISA and the Covid-19 crisis

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

SUISA and the Covid-19 crisis

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

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

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

Financial losses and unpredictability

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

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

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

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

Relief measures for rights owners

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

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

Lobbying

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

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

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

Manage from a distance and work remotely

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

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

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

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

More self-service – process automation

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

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

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

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

Related articles
The Royalty Report is onlineThe Royalty Report is online News about “My account”: Thanks to user-friendly graphics, the Royalty Report provides a quick overview of how the copyright royalties developed over the last five years and allows individual analyses per mouse click. Read more
General Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of DirectorsGeneral Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of Directors For the second time running, the SUISA General Meeting took place in writing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Altogether 1,486 composers, lyricists, music publishers and heirs participated in the voting process by letter and e-mail. Read more
Livestream licensing by SUISALivestream licensing by SUISA Driven by the pandemic, livestreaming of the most varied forms of events has grown in significance. Thanks to this technology, it is possible to share an event with a virtual audience despite the applicable bans and restrictions. This article outlines SUISA’s licensing practice and terms and conditions for livestreams. Read more
Collapse article

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.

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

SUISA and the Covid-19 crisis

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

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

Erika Hug: Committed and combative

SUISA and FONDATION SUISA are mourning Erika Hug. The publisher and entrepreneur had been influencing the promotion of Swiss music creation for more than three decades, on the SUISA Board of Directors, as a co-founder of FONDATION SUISA and as the president of the foundation board. She passed away unexpectedly on 14 July 2021 at the age of 76. Obituary by Andreas Wegelin and Urs Schnell

Erika Hug: Committed and combative

Erika Hug (1945-2021). (Photo: FONDATION SUISA / Musik Hug)

The Swiss music scene is mourning the loss of Erika Hug, publisher and owner of the established and traditional music business. She passed away completely unexpectedly on 14 July 2021.

Erika Hug had taken on leadership of the renowned Zurich music company as a young woman in the sixth generation. Apart from traditional publishing and sheet music business, the company grew well in the 1980s and entered the new sales business with CDs at an early stage. With her husband, German music entrepreneur Eckard Harke, the sales of music instruments also saw a strong development. One speciality were the two Steinway Piano Galleries in Lausanne and Zurich.

The profound changes in the music business in the course of internet digitisation led to a decline in demand for sheet music, sound recordings or instruments after the turn of the millennium. The Swiss-wide branch network was reduced at the start of the 2000s and the company was finally sold in 2017.

Contribution at SUISA and FONDATION SUISA

Over many years, Erika Hug had been giving her know-how and experience as an entrepreneur to the Cooperative Society, SUISA and the FONDATION SUISA by way of being a member of the SUISA Board of Directors and of the Pension Board of the FONDATION SUISA. From 1985 to 1995, Erika Hug was a Board member of the Cooperative Society SUISA and President of their committee for international relations.

Erika Hug was a founder member of the SUISA foundation for music (today: FONDATION SUISA) in 1989. For 27 years, until the end of 2015, she had been a member of the Foundation Board. From 1990 onwards, Erika Hug first presided the Finance Committee of the Foundation, from 1996 onwards, she became Vice President. Finally, from 2005 she led the Foundation for 10 years as President of the Foundation Board.

Erika Hug had been a major influence on the Cooperative Society and the Foundation over the last 30 years as a publisher and expert in the music business sector. She got involved when it came to access to music and to playing an instrument, especially also with respect to the younger generation and less well-off members of society. The project “make music in the classroom” of FONDATION SUISA is a proof for this. Erika Hug was also a fighter for more women in music and in business.

We mourn a great Swiss personality when it comes to bringing music to the people, and we are grateful for her commitment in the managing committees of our Cooperative Society and Foundation and would like to express our heartfelt condolences to her family.

Collapse article
  1. Ho avuto il piacere di lavorare con Erika Hug per 14 anni nel Consiglio di fondazione della Fondazione Suisa per la musica e, di questa donna, ho sempre apprezzato la chiarezza d’intenti nel promuovere la musica “Made in Switzerland”, la tenacia e le brillanti idee.
    Un’altra sua qualità che ho sempre apprezzato in lei era la capacità di saper mettere a proprio agio le persone, di saperle ascoltare e, se le idee che venivano proposte le sembravano buone, di impegnarsi nella realizzazione senza mai risparmiarsi.
    Di lei serberò sicuramente un buon ricordo.
    R.I.P. Erika

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.

SUISA and FONDATION SUISA are mourning Erika Hug. The publisher and entrepreneur had been influencing the promotion of Swiss music creation for more than three decades, on the SUISA Board of Directors, as a co-founder of FONDATION SUISA and as the president of the foundation board. She passed away unexpectedly on 14 July 2021 at the age of 76. Obituary by Andreas Wegelin and Urs Schnell

Erika Hug: Committed and combative

Erika Hug (1945-2021). (Photo: FONDATION SUISA / Musik Hug)

The Swiss music scene is mourning the loss of Erika Hug, publisher and owner of the established and traditional music business. She passed away completely unexpectedly on 14 July 2021.

Erika Hug had taken on leadership of the renowned Zurich music company as a young woman in the sixth generation. Apart from traditional publishing and sheet music business, the...read more

SUISA Board of Directors holds a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months

On the day before the General Meeting, the SUISA Board and its committees usually hold a physical meeting at the venue of the General Meeting. This year, it was different for the second time in a row. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

SUISA Board of Directors holds a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months

SUISA partition wall set up at a venue: The meeting of a nearly full Board of Directors took place for its regular June sessions in Muri near Berne. (Photo: Natalie Schlumpf & Wolfgang Rudigier)

While the General Meeting could only take place by postal vote due to the precautionary measures taken in the context with the corona pandemic for the second time, the Board of Directors decided to hold a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months in Muri near Berne on 24 and 25 June 2021, adhering to the prescribed protective measures.

Except for one Board member who did not want to expose itself to a heightened risk of getting infected due to imminent concert performances and therefore took part via video, all of the members of the Board of Directors joined the Executive Committee in the meeting and cherished the opportunity to be able to have an exchange outside the meetings in the evening.

Encouraging perspectives in the online licensing business

The Board of Directors received a thorough report on the annual results of the subsidiary Mint Digital Services, jointly held with SESAC, whose financial year had ended on 31 March. The result is encouraging even if the organisation needs to receive further support. Perspectives for the new financial year are looking up and are going to improve the earnings situation further. It is important to know that the bundling of the copyright of our members with the rights of large publishers and sister societies lead to a situation whereby we can act in the online licensing market with more market power and subsequently negotiate better conditions with the online providers of music.

On 1 July 2021, the Act on Collective Management Organisations entered into force in the Principality of Liechtenstein. It contains, among others, provisions to cater for transparency among collective management organisations. The EU Directive of 2014 has thus been implemented. So that SUISA can take these provisions into account, the code of conduct and the rules on the disclosure of conflicts of interest at Board level were adapted. There are also new disclosure obligations for the Executive Committee. The Board of Directors has passed the respective documents.

Amendments to the budget due to Covid-19

The Board of Directors has adapted the budget to the continuing corona situation for the current year. As early as in December 2020, a cautious budget had been passed for 2021. Nevertheless, the income side must be adjusted to reflect a minus of 1.5% which is expected compared to the original budget. Expenditure is anticipated to be 2.2% less.

Another topic at the meeting was the situation regarding the handling of the double taxation provisions between the Italian sister society SIAE and SUISA. SUISA, just like other European sister societies, is going to approach the Italian tax authorities in order to keep withholding tax deductions for SUISA rights owner members who have their residence outside of Switzerland as low as possible.

Finally, the Board of Directors approved an amendment to the distribution rules regarding the pay-out of licensing income of streaming and download platforms. For another amendment regarding the question how long SUISA can process adjustment distributions for online usages, the Board is going to wait for a more detailed report by the Executive Committee.

Related articles
General Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of DirectorsGeneral Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of Directors For the second time running, the SUISA General Meeting took place in writing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Altogether 1,486 composers, lyricists, music publishers and heirs participated in the voting process by letter and e-mail. Read more
Full speed aheadFull speed ahead The Corona pandemic continues to direct the course of SUISA’s business. This was clearly perceptible at the Board meeting in April. Which is why it is all the more important to set the course for the future. Read more
How private copying produces revenue – distribution of blank media leviesHow private copying produces revenue – distribution of blank media levies Nowadays, the lion’s share of private copying is done from the internet rather than from CDs as in the heyday of the record market. SUISA’s Distribution Rules have now been amended to reflect present circumstances. The adjustments are designed to ensure a more equitable distribution of the remuneration from private copying. Read more
Collapse article

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.

On the day before the General Meeting, the SUISA Board and its committees usually hold a physical meeting at the venue of the General Meeting. This year, it was different for the second time in a row. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

SUISA Board of Directors holds a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months

SUISA partition wall set up at a venue: The meeting of a nearly full Board of Directors took place for its regular June sessions in Muri near Berne. (Photo: Natalie Schlumpf & Wolfgang Rudigier)

While the General Meeting could only take place by postal vote due to the precautionary measures taken in the context with the corona pandemic for the second time, the Board of Directors decided to hold a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months in Muri near Berne on 24 and 25...read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Councillor Johanna Gapany new in the SUISA Board of Directors

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

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

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

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

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

SUISA’s investment rules now also take sustainability into consideration

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

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

Related articles
A worthy result despite CovidA worthy result despite Covid 2020 was an annus horribilis for many music creators. Concerts and other events were by and large prohibited. Most organisers, artists and authors thus lost a large part of their income. Thanks to the good performance in other areas and to its prompt action, SUISA managed to contain the financial damage for many entitled parties. Read more
The Royalty Report is onlineThe Royalty Report is online News about “My account”: Thanks to user-friendly graphics, the Royalty Report provides a quick overview of how the copyright royalties developed over the last five years and allows individual analyses per mouse click. Read more
Report from the Board of Directors: Full speed aheadFull speed ahead The Corona pandemic continues to direct the course of SUISA’s business. This was clearly perceptible at the Board meeting in April. Which is why it is all the more important to set the course for the future. Read more
Collapse article

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Full speed ahead

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

Report from the Board of Directors: Full speed ahead

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

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

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

Relatively good performance thanks to broadcasting rights and online uses

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

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

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

The 2021 General Meeting will take place by written correspondence again

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

Status of 2021 budget with the ongoing Corona crisis

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

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

Mint joint venture to be strengthened

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

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

Adapting the range of services for members and principals

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

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

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

Related articles
No physical General Meeting in 2021 eitherNo physical General Meeting in 2021 either | plus video Members with voting rights can still co-determine the fate of the SUISA Cooperative by casting their votes in writing. Read more
Online licensing activities require early work registrationsOnline licensing activities require early work registrations From a sales perspective, online music distribution provides enormous opportunities. With little effort, music can be made available to a global audience within an instant. The distribution of copyright royalties, however, is complex when it comes to online usages. This is also due to the fact that the processes differ from those for performing and broadcasting rights. The most important advice is: First, register the work with SUISA as early as possible, then publish it online. Read more
SUISA General Meeting: Emergency fund for authors and publishers approvedSUISA General Meeting: Emergency fund for authors and publishers approved SUISAʼs General Meeting approved the emergency fund for composers, lyricists and publishers of music in the amount of CHF 1.5 million. In addition, Swiss yodeller, singer, composer and publisher Melanie Oesch was elected to the SUISA Board. For the first time in SUISAʼs history, the General Meeting was held in written form due to the Covid-19 pandemic this year. Read more
Collapse article

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.

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

Report from the Board of Directors: Full speed ahead

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

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

And yet, this year,...read more