Tag Archives: Copyright remuneration

SUISA remuneration is subject to AHV (pension) contributions

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

SUISA remuneration is subject to AHV (pension) contributions

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

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

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

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

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

AHV (pensions) – obligatory insurance for all

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

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

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

Copyright royalties are earned income

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUISA remuneration is subject to AHV (pension) contributions

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

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

Changes in relation to the distribution of Tariff CT 1 and CT 2 collections

In the last few years, cable network providers switched their offerings from analogue to digital. In order to take these changes into consideration, the distribution of the collections arising from Tariffs CT 1 (cable networks), CT 2a (retransmitters) and CT 2b (IP based networks) was aligned. In item 5.5.1 of the distribution rules the calculation basis of the reference parameter “number of subscribers” was changed to “daily reach”. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes in relation to the distribution of Tariff CT 1 and CT 2 collections

Even though there is a plethora of digital TV programmes available, only a few of them fill TV screens for a longer period. (Foto: Zeber / Shutterstock.com)

Cable network providers have carried out a migration of their offerings from analogue to digital in the last few years. The number of the radio and TV programmes on offer is now many times higher than before. Until recently, the number of subscribers acted as the calculation basis for the distribution of income from Tariffs CT 1, CT 2a and CT 2b. As a consequence, the distribution depended on the receptability, i.e. on how many subscribers of a cable network provider had the option to receive a specific channel.

With the increase of the broadcaster offerings, the significance of the subscriber numbers regarding the actual work usage has decreased remarkably. This is due to the fact that of the multitude of channels that consumers have at their fingertips today, they only use a few in reality. With the switch of the calculation basis to the reference parameter “daily reach”, what counts in terms of distribution now is what consumers actually watch.

The daily reach corresponds with the share of people who have watched or listened to a specific programme on an average day for at least 30 seconds. The relevant usage is thus registered which goes above and beyond a mere channel hopping.

Distribution more exact based on actual usage

Due to the daily reach as a calculation basis the actual usage is now taken into consideration more: The copyright royalties now flow to those channels that have really been watched or listened to. Channels which were not selected by the consumer or where consumers merely hop through, are not taken into consideration for the allocations into the three broadcaster groupings (SRG SSR, Swiss private channels, foreign channels).

The switch to the reference parameter of the daily reach will entail that more money is going to be distributed to Swiss channels. In the case of the calculation based on subscriber numbers so far, many foreign channels were taken into consideration which are in fact only used by a very small portion of subscribers. This will no longer be the case with a calculation basis in accordance with the daily reach.

IGE (Institute of Intellectual Property) decision dated 26/07/2017 (PDF 1.47 MB, only in German) in relation to “Review of item 5.5.1 distribution rules: Distribution of collections from CT 1, 2a and 2b”
Further information on the distribution keys of SUISA

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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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In the last few years, cable network providers switched their offerings from analogue to digital. In order to take these changes into consideration, the distribution of the collections arising from Tariffs CT 1 (cable networks), CT 2a (retransmitters) and CT 2b (IP based networks) was aligned. In item 5.5.1 of the distribution rules the calculation basis of the reference parameter “number of subscribers” was changed to “daily reach”. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes in relation to the distribution of Tariff CT 1 and CT 2 collections

Even though there is a plethora of digital TV programmes available, only a few of them fill TV screens for a longer period. (Foto: Zeber / Shutterstock.com)

Cable network providers have carried out a migration of their offerings from analogue to digital in the last few years. The number of the radio and TV programmes on offer is now many...read more

“Hands-on” – the new Common Tariff K

The new Joint Tariff K applies to events which have taken place since 01 January 2017. An overview of the changes to the concert tariff in force and some answers to frequently asked questions which have arisen based on the experience gathered with the new provisions in the first few months. Text by Chantal Bolzern

“Hands-on” – the new Common Tariff K

Since January 2017, a new concert tariff has been in force in Switzerland and in Liechtenstein. The picture shows SUISA member Seven (in the middle) on stage at the Tonart Festival in Altdorf, where he performed with a trio in March 2017. More information on Seven is available in the brochure “Where the music is new”, 2017 edition. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

What’s new?

There is now one instead of two tariffs. That way, all information that is relevant to customers, and the respective licensing terms and conditions are now combined into one single document. This makes life much easier, especially for event organisers who organise, apart from concerts, also other events such as theatre performances, cabarets etc.

The types of events are defined and explained in more detail and clarity. Apart from concerts, there are now specific event categories for concert-like performances, shows, ballet and theatre. These are intended to help customers to find their type of event and the licensing rates required for calculating the budget more quickly.

The licence fee percentages have been newly defined and reduced for many events depending on the type of event (concert, concert-like performance, show, ballet, theatre).

Apart from concerts, Common Tariff K (CT K) also governs licensing for music appearing in comedy, shows (such as “Art on Ice” or “Masters of Dirt”), sport tournaments with choreographies such as show dances or theatre performances with musical background or bedding. The calculation of the licence fees for comedy, tattoo festivals etc. in particular will become easier since the event is now relevant as a whole for the amount of the licence rate; it is no longer necessary to license individual works at different rates. This also helps making the budgeting process for event organisers easier and reduces the efforts of SUISA.

Small concerts are invoiced based on the works that were actually used (“pro rata temporis” rule) and no longer as a lump-sum. At the same time, licensing based on the costs of the music usage was re-introduced. Thus, the copyright remuneration will be calculated on the basis of the income generated or the costs incurred. The latter specifically applies to concerts which are free of charge and charity events.

Customers may also deduct the costs for external ticket sales up to a lump-sum of 10%, even for small concerts, if they submit the relevant supporting documents. SUISA thus takes into consideration that event organisers nowadays do use external ticket agencies, even for small or non-commercial events.

Performing artists of any recordings that are played by event organisers prior or after the event, or between the live performances, now also grant the event organiser reproduction rights. This entails a slight increase of the licensing rate for neighbouring rights from 0.2% to 0.25%.

Following the afore-mentioned lowering of the licensing fees, there was a review of the discount system. The volume discount is now only granted for small concerts and the contractual customer must be a member of a recognised association of event organisers in order to qualify for a discount.

What has not changed?

Services to concert goers by third parties that are included in the entrance fee, such as the use of public transport, a voucher for an inclusive drink etc. as well as ticket and value-added tax may still be deducted from the income if the relevant supporting documents are submitted.

The minimum licence fee has remained the same and still amounts to CHF 40 per event. Our contractual customers continue to receive the association discount as well as a 2% cash discount if they pay their invoice within 10 days.

Event organisers must submit set lists or lists of the performed works to SUISA. Firstly, SUISA requires such lists so that it can calculate a correct licensing amount. If SUISA does not hold the rights in all the titles, because, for example, copyright protection has already lapsed, the licensing amount is reduced on a pro rata temporis basis. The licensing rate also gets reduced on a pro rata temporis base if music is not used throughout the entire performance, as is the case quite regularly for theatre performances or comedy. Secondly, SUISA requires the lists in order to distribute the income collected to those composers and publishers whose music has been performed during the event.

Answers to frequently asked questions

Why does the new tariff create more administrative effort?
Introducing a new tariff is always an opportunity to check with long-term customers whether the modalities for the notifications of the events are still suitable for both parties. Furthermore, it is possible that with the partial changes to the licensing rates or conditions under the tariff, SUISA requires different information from customers. This mainly affects such concerts for which event organisers had received a licence based on the Common Tariff Kb between 2009 and 2016 (small concerts). Unfortunately, this is linked to an increased administrative effort for customers as well as for SUISA during a transitional period. As soon as we have clarified with individual customers in each case how we can licence and distribute correctly, this will get easier again.

What is a small concert and why is there no longer a specific tariff for it?
Between 2009 and 2016, a proper tariff applied for small concerts, Common Tariff Kb. Since the beginning of this year, small concerts are governed by the same tariff again as major concerts, theatre performances or comedy events.

In order to continue to fall under the “small concert” category, the capacity of the event venue must be no bigger than 999 people, and the income generated from ticket sales may not exceed CHF 15,000 per event. In this segment, the basic licensing rates were lowered from 10% until 2008 via 9.5% in 2016 to 9% for this year. Until 2008 the same rules have applied, and now, from 2017 onwards, apply again for the declaration of the concerts and licensing such as major concerts. This means that customers deliver the same information to us and don’t have to ask themselves each time which category the event falls under and how they should submit their documentation to SUISA.

This is especially a simplification of matters for medium-sized clubs whose capacity is just less than 1,000 people and which have generated more than CHF 15,000 in ticket sales in one instance and less in another. It’s also facilitating matters immensely for the venues that organise cabarets and concerts. Until now, you had to adhere to CT Ka for comedy, dance, acrobatics etc., and CT Kb for concerts.

Why are sponsoring monies or subsidies suddenly taken into consideration as income in the case of small concerts?
The basic idea of copyright is that authors participate in the collections which have been generated from the exploitation of their works. In the event business, the main income source are usually the ticket sales. If an event organiser’s plans for their budget only caters for the music costs such as payment for musicians to be covered by way of third party means, such third party means (sponsoring, subsidies etc.) must be taken into consideration as an income. This rule has already been established in concert tariffs as early as 20 years ago. It applies for all major concerts, comedy and theatre performances and used to apply to small concerts up until 2008. Due to the combination of the two tariffs CT Ka and CT Kb, it now applies to small concerts again since the beginning of this year.

Many non-commercial clubs and stages create annual budgets, where they make a hybrid calculation. They receive subsidies from their municipalities or cantons, but finance themselves from ticket income and turnover generated by the gastronomy on top of that. As long as they assume in their annual budgets that their ticket sales cover the artists’ performance salaries, the new tariff entails no changes for them. For long-term customers it therefore suffices to glance over their old invoices (up until 2008) to see whether a change has taken place. During the tariff negotiations, we undertook thorough calculations and research together with the associations whose results are now confirmed when implementing the tariff: for the vast majority of the event organisers of the non-commercial sector and especially clubs and stages, nothing will change.

The changes do, however, affect event organisers of corporate events or events that are free of charge, but also categories which can only pay artists’ salaries and other costs related to music by means of subsidies or sponsors’ subsidies.

What are non-musical performances at major concerts and what do they entail?
Both the old Common Tariff Ka (item 25 CT Ka) as well as the new Common Tariff K (item 14.1 CT K) include the term “non-musical performances”. We found out in everyday application of the tariff, that it wasn’t always clear to event organisers what is meant by this term. In order to answer these questions in the tariff, we have clarified this term in the new tariff text: it includes sophisticated choreographies, elaborate costumes and costume changes, video installations or light shows which go beyond the ‘must-have’. By doing so, we want to – as is required by copyright law – take performance-related activities into consideration which are not music but are still protected by copyright.

In practice, this means that the entire concept is taken into consideration for concerts of artists such as Beyoncé or bands like Archive, and the event organiser has to pay a lower licensing rate for the copyright in musical works. It also means that even in big stadiums, concerts sometimes will take place without elaborate artistic production and the event organiser will pay the usual basic licensing rate. That does not only apply to big classical concerts but can also be the case for concerts of certain singer songwriters, like Bruce Springsteen or Neil Diamond.

Why were the new provisions of the concert tariff made known so shortly before its introduction?
In June 2016, SUISA had announced that a new tariff had been negotiated with the relevant user associations such as SMPA, petzi, KTV, ATP etc. and that an agreement had been made. The result of the negotiations was submitted to the Federal Arbitration Commission for copyright and neighbouring rights (ESchK) for approval. The EschK approved the new Common Tariff K on 20 December 2016 and the tariff could thus come into force on 01 January 2017. The relevant tariff documents could not be officially published prior the approval had been given by the ESchK. SUISA had no influence on the date of the approval.

Further information:
«Concerts, comedy shows, shows, ballets, etc.» on www.suisa.ch

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The new Joint Tariff K applies to events which have taken place since 01 January 2017. An overview of the changes to the concert tariff in force and some answers to frequently asked questions which have arisen based on the experience gathered with the new provisions in the first few months. Text by Chantal Bolzern

“Hands-on” – the new Common Tariff K

Since January 2017, a new concert tariff has been in force in Switzerland and in Liechtenstein. The picture shows SUISA member Seven (in the middle) on stage at the Tonart Festival in Altdorf, where he performed with a trio in March 2017. More information on Seven is available in the brochure “Where the music is new”, 2017 edition. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

What’s new?

There is now one instead of two tariffs. That way, all information that is relevant to customers,...read more

Swiss music lives thanks to SRG’s special interest stations

The Transport and Telecommunications Committee of the National Council has moved to close down six SRG special interest stations and has filed a motion in this sense. For Swiss music creators the consequences would be devastating. These stations are precisely those that play and promote local Swiss music. Sign the online petition “Hands off special interest stations” now! Text by Giorgio Tebaldi and Manu Leuenberger

Swiss music lives thanks to SRG's special interest stations

From the streets of Berne to the stage of the Kulturfabrik in Lyss: The band Troubas Kater performing in dialect appears during the 14th edition of “8×15.” in November 2015. At each of these concert evenings of SRF Virus, 8 Swiss bands can present their talent, and be discovered by the audience in a 15-minute slot. (Photo: SRF)

At the Swiss Music Awards in February 2017, the Zurich duo Dabu Fantastic and their co-composer Gianluca Giger were awarded prizes for the best hit and best composition. The Zurich band is currently one of Switzerland’s most successful pop acts. According to singer Dabu Bucher in a recent interview with SRG (Swiss Broadcasting Company), the band owes its popularity in great part to the SRG radio stations. SRF Virus first played its songs over 10 years’ ago, actively encouraging the band’s career.

The SRG youth station is important for other Swiss artists too. It serves as a springboard for young and (still) unknown musicians. The station provides an important platform for newcomers, through its “8×15.” concert broadcasts for example. 50% of the music broadcast by SRF Virus is Swiss music. Hardly any other station offers its audience so large a proportion of local music.

But if the Transport and Telecommunications Committee of the National Council has its way, that will soon be over. In Motion 17.3010 for a “Reduction in special interest radio stations”, the Committee asks for six SRG radio broadcasting stations to be closed: SRF Virus, SRF Musikwelle, Radio Swiss Classic, Radio Swiss Jazz, Radio Swiss Pop and the French-speaking station Option Musique. According to the motion, these stations “do not perform any true public service mission”.

Public service also means promoting Swiss cultural creation

In its “Report on the revision of the definition and provision of the SRG public service taking into account private digital media”, the Federal Council reviewed the meaning of public service in radio and television broadcasting. In its report, the Federal Council pointed out that the SRG provides “numerous unprofitable services in the interest of society”. These services include promoting Swiss films, Swiss music and Swiss literature. This would hardly be possible without reception fee revenues.

Special interest stations extensively promote Swiss music – pop and rock as well as jazz on SRF Virus, and classical and especially folk music on SRF Musikwelle. As SUISA claims on its website, altogether 22% of the music played on the six special interest stations is Swiss, as against 20% overall for all the SRG stations. By comparison, Swiss private broadcasters play less than 10% of Swiss music on average.

Special interest stations discover and promote Swiss music

Special interest stations are instrumental in discovering and promoting Swiss music. Their reporting about the current Swiss music scene is irreplaceable. It is difficult to imagine private broadcasters throwing themselves into the breach left by closing the special interest stations. Private broadcasters are guided by profit-making principles and are primarily financed by advertising. Therefore, they have to gear most of their programming to an audience which wants to hear hits. Swiss musicians hear this all the time in statements like:  “we don’t make the hits, we just play them”, says singer-songwriter Christoph Trummer, President of the association Musikschaffende Schweiz (Swiss Musicians), in an interview with Musikmarkt, the music magazine.

Closing down the special interest stations would also affect Swiss music creators financially. Between them, the six stations played about 550,000 minutes of music by Swiss authors in 2015. According to SUISA’s 2015 annual report, the licence fees for SRG radio stations average CHF 2.70 per minute of playing time. Thus, broadcasting royalties for the works of Swiss composers, lyricists and publishers on the six SRG special interest stations totalled about CHF 1.5 million. This money does not only go to well-established stars, it also goes to unknown Swiss artists.

Favorable framework conditions for Swiss culture

The motion of the Transport and Telecommunications Committee if accepted would have serious implications for the Swiss music scene. Not only would Switzerland lose these important platforms for showcasing the broad diversity of Swiss musical creation, closing down the special interest stations would have significant financial consequences for artists.

Moreover, one substantive question remains to be answered: is it truly Parliament’s role to decide on broadcasting content? Should the legislative not confine itself to setting the framework conditions for radio and television broadcasters? The proposed motion seeks to decide the fate of individual SRG stations. This goes far beyond setting framework conditions. Swiss music creators have more than deserved favorable framework conditions in their own country.

SRG has been operating «mx3 – The Swiss Music Portal» since 2006. Musicians can use the portal www.mx3.ch to present their music to the public; the SRG stations use the portal for their programming. SRF 3, SRF Virus, Couleur 3, Rete Tre and Radio Rumantsch include songs that musicians have uploaded onto mx3 in their broadcast programming. In 2015, about 22,900 bands showcased their music on the mx3 portal.

Petition: Hands off special interest radios!

The purpose of this petition is to ask the competent parliamentary bodies not to close SRG’s special interest stations.

Sign the online petition “Hands off special interest stations” at www.petitionen24.com

Sie können die Petition auch auf dem Unterschriftenbogen unterzeichnen (PDF).

The petition is sponsored by a broad interest group representing the Swiss music scene. Among others, the following stakeholders support the petition: Schweizer Musikrat, Musikschaffende Schweiz, Schweizer Musiksyndikat, Schweizer Tonkünstlerverein, Schweizerischer Musikerverband SMV, Helvetia Rockt, IndieSuisse, IFPI, Schweizer Interpretengenossenschaft SIG, Orchester.ch, Eidgenössischer Jodlerverband EJV, Schweizerischer Blasmusikverband SBV, Schweizerische Chorvereinigung SCV, Verband Schweizer Volksmusik VSV.

Every single signature counts and is important to ensure that radio stations like Radio Swiss Pop, Radio Swiss Classic, Radio Swiss Jazz, Radio SRF Virus, Radio SRF Musikwelle and Radio RTS Option Musique can continue to broadcast and help audiences discover Swiss music. Further information is available on the petition initiators’ website: www.prospartenradio.ch

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SUISA settlement dates 2017 – an overviewSUISA settlement dates 2017 – an overview SUISA members whose works are performed, broadcast, reproduced or used online a lot can look forward to receiving remuneration at least four times per year for their work on lyrics or compositions or their publishing activities. In 2017, SUISA will continue with its quarterly distributions that it had successfully introduced previously. Minor modifications serve the purpose of distributing the income swiftly and cost-effectively. Read more

 

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

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The Transport and Telecommunications Committee of the National Council has moved to close down six SRG special interest stations and has filed a motion in this sense. For Swiss music creators the consequences would be devastating. These stations are precisely those that play and promote local Swiss music. Sign the online petition “Hands off special interest stations” now! Text by Giorgio Tebaldi and Manu Leuenberger

Swiss music lives thanks to SRG's special interest stations

From the streets of Berne to the stage of the Kulturfabrik in Lyss: The band Troubas Kater performing in dialect appears during the 14th edition of “8×15.” in November 2015. At each of these concert evenings of SRF Virus, 8 Swiss bands can present their talent, and be discovered by the audience in a 15-minute slot. (Photo: SRF)

At the Swiss Music Awards in February 2017, the Zurich...read more

SUISA settlement dates 2017 – an overview

SUISA members whose works are performed, broadcast, reproduced or used online a lot can look forward to receiving remuneration at least four times per year for their work on lyrics or compositions or their publishing activities. In 2017, SUISA will continue with its quarterly distributions that it had successfully introduced previously. Minor modifications serve the purpose of distributing the income swiftly and cost-effectively. Text by Manu Leuenberger

SUISA settlement dates 2017 – an overview

During financial year 2016, 15,106 authors and 1,373 publishers received one or several settlements from SUISA. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

SUISA payments are a “bonus in June” for Sophie Burande and Léonard Gogniat of Carrousel, as mentioned in an interview, and “a recognition of the work involved in writing lyrics and composing music”. In another conversation with us, Camilla Sparksss alias Barbara Lehnhoff said that she considered SUISA settlements as a helpful and “lovely Christmas present each year”.

Whether Christmas present or “summer bonus”: The points in time where SUISA members can look forward to receiving their copyright royalties are connected to the SUISA settlement dates. Members who are due royalties on the basis of SUISA’s distribution rules, receive a payment on these dates.

The rhythm of payments to authors and publishers had been increased a while ago: From 2015 onwards, SUISA introduced quarterly settlements. As a consequence, the collected remuneration will be passed on to rights holders four times per year.

Quarterly distribution of collections to authors and publishers

In 2017, SUISA will continue with its quarterly distributions that it had successfully introduced previously. There are only minor modifications compared to the previous year. These few improvements are another step in the direction of SUISA’s goal to pay out the remuneration as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

The distribution category SRG TV is paid out more quickly: Previously, the distribution of collections from this category took place twice a year. From 2017 onwards, the relevant remuneration will be paid out four times per year in the course of the quarterly settlements. SRG is the biggest licensee, or customer, of SUISA. As a consequence, the remuneration amounts in category SRG TV that are now paid out more quickly to authors and publishers of the broadcast music are relatively high.

From 2017 onwards, advertising window settlements will no longer be run separately but as part of the 3rd quarterly payment in mid-September. The integration of this supplementary settlement into the quarterly distribution is a simplification of the handling process and thus saves costs.

Overview of SUISA’s 2017 settlements calendar

Settlement Date
Quarterly settlement 2017-1 15/03/2017
Domestic performing rights, tariffs: D, K, Z (3rd quarter 2016)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG Radio 3rd quarter 2016)
Reproduction rights, tariffs: PA, PI, PN, VI, VN (3rd quarter 2016)
Reproduction rights online (Downloads & Streaming)
Supplementary settlements
Adjustments 2017, 1st settlement End of March
Settlements from abroad: Performing, broadcasting and reproduction rights 2017, 1st settlement End of May
Quarterly settlement 2017-2 15/06/2017
Domestic performing rights, tariffs: B, C, D, E, H, Hb, HV, K, Z (2016)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG Radio 4th quarter 2016)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG TV, 2nd semester 2016)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG commercials 2016)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariffs: S, Y (2016)
Reproduction rights, tariffs: PA, PI, PN, VI, VN (4th quarter 2016)
Reproduction rights, central licensing (2nd semester 2016)
Reproduction rights, online (Downloads & Streaming)
Supplementary settlements
Publishers’ pension benefits Beginning of July
Authors’ pension benefits Mid-July
Quarterly settlement 2017-3 15/09/2017
Domestic performing rights, tariffs: D, K, Z (1st quarter 2017)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG Radio & TV, 1st quarter 2017)
Advertising windows (2015)
Reproduction rights, tariffs: PA, PI, PN, VI, VN (1st quarter 2017)
Reproduction rights, online (Downloads & Streaming)
Blank media levy (CT 4), settlement 2017
Sub-publisher shares cable networks, settlement 2017
Supplementary settlements
Adjustments 2017, 2nd settlement End of September
Re-recording rights settlement, 2017 End of October
Settlements from abroad: Performing, broadcasting and reproduction rights 2017, 2nd settlement End of November
Quarterly settlement 2017-4 15/12/2017
Domestic performing rights, tariffs: D, K, Z (2nd quarter 2017)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG Radio & TV, 2nd quarter)
Reproduction rights, tariffs: PA, PI, PN, VI, VN (2nd quarter 2017)
Reproduction rights, central licensing (1st semester 2017)
Reproduction rights, online (Downloads & Streaming)

Further information is available on the SUISA website in the form of explanations of the SUISA settlement and a list of the private broadcasters included in the settlements.

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Sustainable growth for members Cooperative societies excel by their solid economic activities. This is also true for SUISA. The cooperative society for composers, lyricists and publishers of music has slightly increased its income in 2015. SUISA pays out approx. 88% of its income to the rightsholders. That’s a total of CHF 125m. The cooperative society thus makes a substantial contribution to the financial livelihood of its members. Below is an analysis of the annual result. Read more
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SUISA members whose works are performed, broadcast, reproduced or used online a lot can look forward to receiving remuneration at least four times per year for their work on lyrics or compositions or their publishing activities. In 2017, SUISA will continue with its quarterly distributions that it had successfully introduced previously. Minor modifications serve the purpose of distributing the income swiftly and cost-effectively. Text by Manu Leuenberger

SUISA settlement dates 2017 – an overview

During financial year 2016, 15,106 authors and 1,373 publishers received one or several settlements from SUISA. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

SUISA payments are a “bonus in June” for Sophie Burande and Léonard Gogniat of Carrousel, as mentioned in an interview, and “a recognition of the work involved in writing lyrics and composing music”. In another conversation with us, Camilla Sparksss alias Barbara Lehnhoff said that she considered SUISA...read more

Concerts and Festivals in Switzerland

In a commentary for IQ magazine, the publication of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), Chantal Bolzern, Head of the Performing Rights Department at SUISA, outlines the importance of co-operation between collective management organisations and promoters.

Concerts and Festivals in Switzerland

Chantal Bolzern used to organise concerts herself in the past; she also completed a cultural management training course. In 2004, she started to work for SUISA in the legal department. Since 2010, she has been Head of the Performing Rights Department. (Photo: Sebastian Vollmert)

The Swiss apparently love concerts and festivals. Every year new festivals are founded and are taking place even in remote areas in the mountains. Some disappear again after a short time, others can look back on a long tradition of 40 years or more. There is also a wide range of alternative music clubs who attract a large crowd every week.

In 2015, SUISA licensed more than 20,000 concerts and festivals where over 360,000 different songs were performed. The tariff for concerts generated royalties of CHF 20.3m in 2015 which is nearly 50% of all revenue from performing rights. Considering that Switzerland only has a population of 8m, these figures are rather impressive.

SUISA serves as hub between songwriters and concert promoters

In order to make all this possible you need a great song as a basis, you need performers who translate the song into an inspiring live performance on stage. And last but not least you need the promoter to organize the event, make it run smoothly and make the crowd happy.

SUISA serves as a hub in this business. As a co-operative society we are owned by our members and therefore our aim is to help songwriters and publishers to participate in the income others generate with their songs. On the other hand, we want promoters to have easy access to the rights they need to create their event and to generate their revenue.

For two years, SUISA negotiated a new concert and festival tariff with all the relevant trade organisations in order to simplify the calculations for the promoters. The tariff sets  a license rate for concerts or festivals between 7% and 10% of ticketing revenue and a discount for the membership in a trade organization. Our tariff is also a one stop shop for the neighbouring rights which facilitates especially the lives of festival promoters.

Respect helps conquering new challenges in the live business ecosystem

Every 3 months we distribute royalties with detailed statements so that songwriters and publishers can verify where their money is coming from. We have full transparency in the revenue stream. All licensing and distribution work is done at a low administration cost of 12%.

Live business is an ecosystem where all parties involved need each other in order to keep things going. When all of them do a good job, they have not only a great time but they also make money. This allows composers to create new songs, which makes new performances and new concerts possible. Therefore we should all value and respect each other’s share and efforts in this business and work on solutions for new challenges together.

This contribution was written for IQ magazine where it has been published in the print edition of January 2017 on page 27 as well as online on the magazine websit. IQ magazine is an annual publication with 6 editions per year of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC).

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If bands and event promoters organise a concert together The event organiser of a concert has to pay the copyright licence fee. How does it affect the legal situation, if musicians and organisers jointly run the performance by way of a cooperation? The concert organiser is responsible for paying the copyright licence fee in the case of artist engagement agreements. It occurs that events are organised by the bands themselves or in cooperation with third parties. In such cases, the type of cooperation between the band and the organiser determines who has to pay the copyright licence fee. Read more
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In a commentary for IQ magazine, the publication of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), Chantal Bolzern, Head of the Performing Rights Department at SUISA, outlines the importance of co-operation between collective management organisations and promoters.

Concerts and Festivals in Switzerland

Chantal Bolzern used to organise concerts herself in the past; she also completed a cultural management training course. In 2004, she started to work for SUISA in the legal department. Since 2010, she has been Head of the Performing Rights Department. (Photo: Sebastian Vollmert)

The Swiss apparently love concerts and festivals. Every year new festivals are founded and are taking place even in remote areas in the mountains. Some disappear again after a short time, others can look back on a long tradition of 40 years or more. There is also a wide range of alternative music clubs...read more

Interim review on hit boxes, three years after their introduction

After a two-year test phase, hit box monitoring has been the basis for the distribution of remuneration for music on sound recordings since January 2014. Now, a first review can be made regarding this new system, both in relation to the data collected and the reactions of the members and owners of the clubs in question. Text by Nicolas Pont

Interim review on hit boxes, three years after their introduction

Verified by hit box monitoring: “Jung verdammt” by Lo &Leduc has been played more often in Swiss clubs during 2015 than Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love”. (Photo: Luca Monachesi)

The aim of the revision of distribution category 12 which is affected by the hit boxes, as well the functionality of such devices have been explained in SUISAinfo 3.13 (in German, PDF, 730 KB). Just to clarify: Hit boxes are mainly used for the distribution of the copyright royalties relating to dance and entertainment events inside (discotheques) and outside of the hospitality industry (fairs, street festivals) i.e. at events where music is important but is not the only reason stated for attending.

If a DJ performs at a concert, the distribution shall be made, just like before, based on the programmes that are submitted by the artists and then forwarded by the organisers to SUISA. This also applies to festivals with electronic music such as the Electron Festival in Geneva. In total, about CHF 6m are distributed for entertainment events live and sound recording music per annum, arising from 13 different tariffs. The distribution for sound recording music is made on the basis of a data analysis by Yacast, a French system provider.

Aim of the hit boxes: a fair distribution of the remuneration to authors and publishers

For a representative selection of clubs which takes the different music genres and linguistic regions of the country into consideration, statisticians from the University of Zurich were involved. During the initial phase of installation, some club owners had reservations regarding the hit boxes. In the meantime, however, these reservations have mostly subsided. Admittedly, occasional technical problem during installation or maintenance of the hit boxes. Cables that do no longer work, or have accidentally been removed can be the cause for problems.

Other initial fears could be allayed or rebutted: In the beginning, some assumed that the box would also record personal conversations and thus could be manipulated to record the music of a smartphone instead of the music actually played in the discotheque. Verifications of test recordings showed, however, that private conversations cannot be heard. Furthermore, an external ambient microphone fixed to the hit box serves the purpose to prove the matching between the music recorded and the music that was actually played in the club.

The openness of the club owners vis-a-vis the hit boxes has to be applauded. Especially places where niche music is being played, help promoting local artists with such hit box installations and challenges those who accuse the monitoring system to favour majors and so-called mainstream music. The aim to allocate the collections as fairly as possible to the authors of the played music can be reached by selecting the most representative clubs possible, where monitoring takes place.

Detection rate above 95%

Yacast has committed itself by contract to guarantee a specific detection rate. This aspect was also thoroughly verified during the test phase. Since the hit boxes have been introduced two years ago, the detection rate rose to 96% in 2014 and to 97% in 2015. Furthermore, a system was introduced which provides members who doubt the recognition of their works with a direct access to the database of Yacast so that they can upload their audio files. In order to be able to do so, you need to register here.

Several members and users wanted to know the criteria upon which the venues had been selected where a hit box was installed. They also asked for a list of such venues. SUISA was not able to satisfy this request. It has to be able to guarantee that the monitoring system cannot be manipulated. If the places where such hit boxes are installed were to become known, there is a possibility that performance venues could be selected and targeted based on these details. As a consequence, the representative character of the data and thus the distribution of the collections would be manipulated. It is not the aim to avoid transparency or to mask the data, but to guarantee a confidentiality which is indispensable for the smooth functioning of the system.

Nevertheless, the following details can be provided: In 2014 and 2015, 43, resp. 45 of the approx. 500 clubs and discotheques in Switzerland were equipped with a hit box. The recordings are not made on a continuous basis but at alternating points in time, which are not evident due to the installation in the club to anyone. The varying times of the recordings and recognition is another measure to ensure that the system cannot be manipulated. An average of 6,000 hours of music are recorded each year, and were allocated to nearly 30,000 works.

Lo & Leduc beat Beyoncé!

The Swiss is a music import country, SUISA distributes about half of its collections to rightsholders abroad. When SUISA decided to begin a distribution based on the hit boxes, it was acutely aware of the fact that this tendency could be confirmed. It was, in fact, the case, but to a much lesser degree than anticipated, and with a few surprises in waiting. One example is the title “Jung verdammt” by the Berne band Lo & Leduc, exclusively consisting of SUISA members. This title was among the ten most played titles and was way ahead of Beyoncé’s «Crazy in love».

One of the reasons for using the hit boxes is that the old system, based on programme reports, led to misuse and also had gaps. Reports had previously been submitted concerning music events in clubs which had ceased their operations many months before. That way, a significant share of collections went into the pockets of rightsholders that may have been SUISA members, but only authors ‘on paper’ – at the detriment of those artists – including Swiss artists – whose works were actually played.

The hit boxes cannot be installed all over Switzerland due to financial considerations, and it is possible, that certain performances cannot be captured. Thanks to today’s system, there is more information available than there was with the manual reports of DJ programmes in the past. The remuneration can thus be distributed in a fairer way. In addition, the previously high costs for “manual” handling of data can be reduced.

Today, where each customer can use their smartphone to recognise titles and artists of works played in a disco, it is no longer contemporary and plausible to base the distribution of copyright remuneration on paper reports. Even more so, when the collective management organisations explicitly demand the development of electronic processing systems, in particular in the context of the copyright review.

Related articles
New distribution key for performing and broadcasting rights The SUISA distribution key for performing and broadcasting rights will be changed from 01 January 2017 onwards. For works with an original publisher, the share of the author shall be 66.67% and that of the publisher 33.33%. The distribution rules are thus adapted to the CISAC key which is applied at international level. Read more
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All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

After a two-year test phase, hit box monitoring has been the basis for the distribution of remuneration for music on sound recordings since January 2014. Now, a first review can be made regarding this new system, both in relation to the data collected and the reactions of the members and owners of the clubs in question. Text by Nicolas Pont

Interim review on hit boxes, three years after their introduction

Verified by hit box monitoring: “Jung verdammt” by Lo &Leduc has been played more often in Swiss clubs during 2015 than Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love”. (Photo: Luca Monachesi)

The aim of the revision of distribution category 12 which is affected by the hit boxes, as well the functionality of such devices have been explained in SUISAinfo 3.13 (in German, PDF, 730 KB). Just to clarify: Hit boxes are mainly used for the distribution...read more

Tariff negotiations 2016 – an overview

While companies in other sectors are at their busiest during the Christmas period, SUISA “sales” hit their peak time during spring – this is when tariff negotiations must be brought to a conclusion and the approval for the tariffs to be valid from 1st January of the following year must be obtained from the Federal Arbitration Commission for the Administration of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights. Text by Anke Link

The Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (see picture), www.tonhalle-orchester.ch, is a member of orchester.ch, an association of Swiss professional orchestras with which SUISA has successfully reached a new tariff for copyright licence fees for performances by concert consortiums. (Photo: Priska Ketterer / Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich)

SUISA and many of its negotiation partners have agreed upon adding a new clause to the tariffs in the last few years, allowing an automatic extension of the relevant tariff in cases where none of the parties desire a new round of negotiations. This has now shown its benefits: None of the relevant tariffs has been terminated so that it has not been necessary to hold negotiations for these tariffs.

This has opened up additional capacity for the negotiation of new tariffs that come to an end in 2016. At the same time, SUISA has also been able to participate intensively in the negotiation process for tariffs managed by its sister organisations Suissimage and ProLitteris.

As early as in autumn 2015, SUISA had agreed a new Tariff D with orchester.ch, the association of Swiss professional orchestras, which will come into force from 01 July 2016. The tariff has been edited in terms of the wording, but the remuneration and the tariff system remain unchanged. The same applies for Common Tariff HV (hotel TV) and Common Tariff 4 (blank media levy) where an approval of the associations for the new version of the tariffs from 01 January 2017 could be swiftly reached.

Agreement on a new concert tariff from 2017

The negotiation of the new Common Tariff K (CT K) for concerts, concert-like performances, shows, ballet and theatre required more time to settle. Negotiations for this tariff had already begun in December 2013. The preceding tariffs CT Ka and CT Kb had been extended twice, in order to provide enough time for the negotiation of the new tariff.

This turned out to be a good investment as the time was used so that SUISA and its negotiation partners could agree upon a new tariff CT K which will enter into force from 01 January 2017. The new CT K will apply to all concerts and performances which have previously been covered by CT Ka and CT Kb. Individual performance categories have been formulated more clearly in the new tariff.

The tariff structure has also been changed compared to the previous tariffs. A basic criterion – the fact that organisers pay a licence fee based on a percentage of their income – still remains the same. Depending on the type and size of the event, different percentages apply. The different percentage rates take it better into account that there may be additional artistic performances during concerts which influence the character of the performance.

If such additional performances take place they have a diminishing effect on the percentage. In return, the previous discounts were deleted. Only those organisers who are members of an association for organisers may be subject to rebates if the respective association collaborates with SUISA. Overall, the new CT K provides for a fair remuneration and also contributes to an increased legal certainty for all partners.

The importance of the legal certainty can be illustrated by the seemingly never-ending process which preceded the first legally binding and valid Common Tariff 4e (Levy for private copying via smartphones). Rights holders had to wait more than five years until the remuneration due to them could finally be collected. SUISA is trying, wherever possible, to avoid such situations.

Number of tariffs reduced

Negotiations for the new Common Tariff 4i (Levy for integrated digital storage media in devices) which is going to combine the previous common tariffs 4d (MP3 player and hard disc recorders), 4e (mobile phones) and 4f (tablets). Instead of three tariffs, there will only be one, the CT 4i. This is another step towards a reduction of the number of tariffs requested by the public and the politicians.

During the negotiations for the new CT 4i, SUISA and its negotiation partners agreed on a lowering of the tariff rates per GB for smart phones and tablets and a lowering of the tariff rates per GB for hard disc recorders with a storage space of more than 2 TB. That way, the established increased storage capacity of these devices in the market has been taken into consideration.

Unfortunately, SUISA could not reach an agreement for Common Tariff 3a (background music and making available of broadcasts). This tariff procedure is unfortunately in dispute and may – see above – drag on over a longer period of time.

SUISA cooperates with others for further tariff negotiations

Apart from these “main negotiations”, SUISA also supported its sister society ProLitteris with the negotiations on a new Common Tariff 7 (“School tariff”) and other new common tariffs 8  and 9 (levy on photocopying and remuneration for digital networks). All three tariff negotiations could be concluded with agreements whereby a slight increase could be reached for CT 8 and 9.

SUISA also supported the negotiations led by Suissimage for Common Tariff 1 (cable re-transmission) and Common Tariff 12 (virtual video recorders and catch-up TV). An increase could be reached with the negotiation partners for both tariffs.

The broadcasters, however, on the side of the rights holders, have not supported this agreement for the CT 12. They deem the option provided by catch-up TV to skip the ads to be a threat to their business models and therefore wish to directly represent their own interests in the impending tariff approval procedure with the Federal Arbitration Commission.

Even though it has not been possible to reach mutually agreed deals in all negotiations, SUISA and its sister societies did manage to reach agreements in the majority of cases and therefore continue to safeguard the interests of all of its members.

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While companies in other sectors are at their busiest during the Christmas period, SUISA “sales” hit their peak time during spring – this is when tariff negotiations must be brought to a conclusion and the approval for the tariffs to be valid from 1st January of the following year must be obtained from the Federal Arbitration Commission for the Administration of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights. Text by Anke Link

The Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (see picture), www.tonhalle-orchester.ch, is a member of orchester.ch, an association of Swiss professional orchestras with which SUISA has successfully reached a new tariff for copyright licence fees for performances by concert consortiums. (Photo: Priska Ketterer / Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich)

SUISA and many of its negotiation partners have agreed upon adding a new clause to the tariffs in the last few...read more

Stream ripping – tape recorders on the internet

Stream ripping software records audio and video streams. A copy of the entire stream can thus be saved as a file. Swiss copyright legislation provides for a private copy remuneration which is applicable to recording and storage media. Stream ripping apps are not covered by the statutory obligation to pay a levy – just like the tape recorders in the past. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Stream ripping works just like a tape recorder on the internet: Audio and video streams can be recorded in their entirety by means of an application. The statutory obligation to pay a levy exists pursuant to Swiss copyright law for the resulting reproduction on the storage medium, but not for the actual software. (Photo: Evgeniy Yatskov / Shutterstock.com)

The consumers are happy: Thanks to streaming, music collections, video shop stock, radio and TV transmissions are available – always and anywhere. All you need is an internet connection. Contents which are otherwise only available online are now also accessible offline due to stream ripping. Special software applications for this purpose make it possible to create complete copies of the streamed audio or video files on a storage medium. The saved file can then also be played back without an internet connection.

From a technical perspective, a permanent flow of data packets is being transmitted via an internet connection from a server to a receiving device. Receiving devices can be smartphones, tablets or computers, for example. The incoming data packets are played back via such devices by means of a stream player software as a continuous music piece or video. After playback, the data packets are deleted on the receiving device at once.

A stream ripping application thus allows a tape-recording of such audio and video streams, as it were. Such applications store the data packets from the streaming service permanently on the receiving device. Put together, the data packets stored in the memory of the target device result in a complete copy of the audio or video file retrieved from the streaming service.

Remuneration for private copies for authors

You could also refer to the stream ripping application as a recording software. The functionality corresponds to that of a tape recorder. Instead of an audio or video tape, the content is recorded onto a storage medium as a file. The final result is a copy of the played, transmitted, or streamed original.

The possibility to make tons of music copies on audio tapes led to private copying to be anchored into legislation nearly 25 years ago. Since then, it is permitted in line with the Swiss Copyright Act to make copies of protected works for the use in people’s private circles or home life. In return, rights holders have a statutory entitlement to receive a remuneration for such private copies.

Such a remuneration or levy must be paid by the manufacturers and importers of the recording and storage devices. The levies are collected by the Swiss collective management organisations (CMOs) and distributed to the rightsholders. The selection of blank media carriers subject to a levy has increased due to technological developments from audio and video tapes via CD/DVD blanks to digital memory in MP3 players, smartphones and tablets.

Blank media levies apply for recording and storage media

The statutory duty to pay a levy only applies to recording and storage media. In the analogue example, the recording medium would be the tape, not the tape recorder. In the digital equivalent, the blank media carrier is the storage item. The recording software is the recorder.

Since the law only covers blank data carriers, levies for private copying cannot be claimed and collected from the makers of stream ripping applications. For the same reason it is not possible to claim levies from the providers of such applications i.e. the operators of software or app stores. They do not qualify as importers of a recording or storage medium, but as software sellers.

The stream ripping software as a product meanwhile depends on the contents of third parties. That’s nothing new, as it was the same case with tape recorders back in the day. Whether someone records music from a vinyl on to a tape or an audio or video stream onto a digital storage medium: It always involves the creation of a copy. For such reproductions to be used for private purposes, the so-called blank media levy was introduced in Switzerland. On the basis of this levy, authors, publishers and producers of music and films get their due remuneration for the copies that are being made.

Stream ripping – an obsolescent model?

Users of stream ripping applications should be aware that they might infringe the usage conditions of streaming platforms. There are providers which permit only the streaming as per their terms and conditions, but no downloads or copying of the music tracks or videos. A potential consequence of a detected infringement could be that the personal user account is blocked or deleted.

The propagation of subscriptions for (mainly mobile) internet access without any limitations of the data volume could have an impact on the usage of stream ripping applications anyway. If the capacities are not limited, it is possible to constantly access streaming platforms. This could reduce the demand to copy audio and video streams and save them locally for offline use.

Legal streaming services pay licence fees for authors’ rights

On top of that, the legal offer of the streaming providers has become so comprehensive in the meantime that the consumer demand for niche repertoire can be satisfied much better. Furthermore, streaming services such as Tidal, Apple Music, Spotify or Google Play Music offer functions to listen to the music offline as an integrated part of their subscriptions. Stream ripping apps are therefore no longer necessary to locally store personal music preferences for offline usage.

Said legal streaming providers also conclude licensing agreements with the CMOs and pay licence fees for the copyright in question. Composers, lyricists and publishers of the used music thus participate in the collections from the streaming services.

After all, this is something any music or film lover should definitely know: If you buy a streaming app, you pay the software provider, not the creators and artists whose works you would like to listen to or watch.

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Stream ripping software records audio and video streams. A copy of the entire stream can thus be saved as a file. Swiss copyright legislation provides for a private copy remuneration which is applicable to recording and storage media. Stream ripping apps are not covered by the statutory obligation to pay a levy – just like the tape recorders in the past. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Stream ripping works just like a tape recorder on the internet: Audio and video streams can be recorded in their entirety by means of an application. The statutory obligation to pay a levy exists pursuant to Swiss copyright law for the resulting reproduction on the storage medium, but not for the actual software. (Photo: Evgeniy Yatskov / Shutterstock.com)

The consumers are happy: Thanks to streaming, music collections, video...read more

New Concert Tariff 2017

After some intensive negotiations, SUISA and the association of concert organisers have agreed on a new concert tariff. The new Common Tariff K shall replace the tariffs CT Ka and CT Kb still valid until the end of 2016, and enter into force on 01 January 2017. Text by Chantal Bolzern and Manu Leuenberger

Stefan Buck during a sold out gig (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

According to the SMPA index, Swiss music on Swiss concert stages has been on the upswing (pictured: Stefan Buck during a sold out gig by the band Band Hecht on 24 March 2016 in the Lucerne concert house Schüür). A new concert tariff for the remuneration to composers and lyricists of the performed songs shall be in force with effect from 2017. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

For six years now, the applicable Common Tariffs Ka and Kb have already been in place for concerts, shows and theatre performances. The music business and together with it, the concert market, have progressed further in the meantime. It was time for a new concert tariff which takes the current conditions in the live business into consideration. As always, whenever negotiations are on the cards, SUISA intends to simplify the tariff landscape. This means: reducing the number of tariffs and streamlining structures.

Tariff negotiations for the new concert tariff with the SMPA, Petzi, the Swiss Stage Association as well as other significant trade associations had started in February 2014. After intensive discussions, SUISA and the associations of the concert organisers managed to agree on a new concert tariff in April 2016. From now on, there is only one Common Tariff K which shall replace the two old tariffs Ka and Kb, and enter into force with effect from 01 January 2017.

By way of agreeing this new tariff, SUISA has achieved the intended simplification: There is now only one tariff instead of previously two. The advantage for customers is that they can now locate all the answers relating to their concerts, irrespective of the size of the event, in one single tariff. The animated exchange with representatives from the concert sector had another positive aspect i.e. that important customer concerns – such as tiered licence fees depending on the type of event – could be taken on board and have influenced the creation of the new tariff.

Financial importance of the concert market for SUISA members

The agreement is good news, not least because the concert business has a great significance for SUISA members. The concert and festival landscape in Switzerland is in full swing. SUISA licences more than 20,000 concerts and festivals and looks after nearly 10,000 concert organisers and stages. In 2015, the income from tariffs Ka and Kb amounted to CHF 20.3m. These two tariffs thus nearly made up half of SUISA’s total income from performing rights (CHF 46m).

The financial importance of the Swiss concert market can also be illustrated by means of some figures from the SMPA index for 2015. The SMPA index is issued by the Swiss Music Promoters’ Association. According to their own accounts, members of the association for professional Swiss concert, show and festival organisers more than 80% of the tickets sold in Switzerland were for concerts, shows and festivals.

In line with the 2015 index, members of the SMPA sold 3.6m tickets to an audience amounting to 5.2m of about 1,700 events. At an average ticket price of CHF 78.65 they reached a gross turnover of approx. CHF 357.7m which represents an increase of 11.5% compared to the previous year.

It is positively noteworthy that the number of Swiss artists who are hired for the events has, according to the SMPA index, continued to rise. As such, 1,087 Swiss Acts as well as 1,687 foreign artists participated in SMPA events in 2015. Since 2011, the number of Swiss artists hired for these events has doubled, as per the information provided by the association in a media bulletin dated 21 April 2016.

The new concert tariff CT K

Irrespective of whether Swiss or international artists perform: The new concert tariff CT K shall apply for all events which take place in Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein. Even if the two old tariffs (Ka and Kb) have been contracted to one new tariff, a lot is still the same.

As previously, SUISA will continue to request set lists in future, so that the income can be distributed correctly to the composers and lyricists of the pieces used in the performance. In 2015, SUISA processed 360,000 works arising from the set lists of such events. Based on the set lists, the income from tariffs Ka/Kb could be distributed, resp. paid out to the rightsholders of these works.

The difference between major events and small concerts

In the new concert tariff, the 10% discount continues to apply for all customers if they are members of an association (such as SMPA or Petzi), which support SUISA in its work as mentioned in the tariff wording. As before, major events are distinguished from small concerts. In a nutshell: For small concerts, the volume discount continues to be applicable, but there are no tiered licence fees. For major events, new, tiered licence fee rates have been introduced, but the volume discount has been discontinued.

In practice, this means: Organisers of small concerts are granted up to 20% volume discounts in addition to the association membership discount if they regularly organise concerts. In the case of major events, however, newly tiered licence fee rates for different event types such as concerts, open air festivals, shows, theatre performances etc. shall be applicable. Depending on the type of major event, the base licence rate varies between 3% and 10% of the gross income generated by ticket sales.

With this innovation of the tiered licence fee rates, the diverse significance of music in major events is taken into consideration. The negotiating parties agreed that an open air might essentially depend on the programme and the performing artists, but that the choice of the grounds and additional offers also contribute to the atmosphere and success of a festival. In the case of stadium concerts, on the other hand, artists work with screens, choreographies and elaborate light shows which differentiates them from acoustic concerts in a more intimate circle. Finally, the versatile use of music in the cabaret sector or in theatre performances had to be duly taken into consideration.

Approval and validity of the new tariff

The new Common Tariff K is yet to be approved by the arbitration tribunal in charge, the Federal Arbitration Commission (ESchK) so that it can enter into force with effect from 2017. Once it has been approved, the new Tariff CT K shall act as the basis for the remuneration for music in concerts, shows, and theatre performances etc. which are performed after 01 January 2017. Any events performed up to the end of 2016 shall still be licensed based on the existing Common Tariffs Ka and Kb.

All event organisers that have an agreement with SUIA shall receive a letter with further details on the new tariff in order to facilitate their budgeting of the events in the next year. It is also planned to provide further information via SUISA’s publication channels.

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After some intensive negotiations, SUISA and the association of concert organisers have agreed on a new concert tariff. The new Common Tariff K shall replace the tariffs CT Ka and CT Kb still valid until the end of 2016, and enter into force on 01 January 2017. Text by Chantal Bolzern and Manu Leuenberger

Stefan Buck during a sold out gig (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

According to the SMPA index, Swiss music on Swiss concert stages has been on the upswing (pictured: Stefan Buck during a sold out gig by the band Band Hecht on 24 March 2016 in the Lucerne concert house Schüür). A new concert tariff for the remuneration to composers and lyricists of the performed songs shall be in force with effect from 2017. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

For six years now, the applicable Common Tariffs Ka and Kb have already been...read more