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Music in companies: What to bear in mind

Music plays an important role in many businesses. It creates a pleasant atmosphere for customers, guests, and employees, it enhances advertising messages, and is an important part of corporate events. The rights to use music are easy to obtain from SUISA. Depending on the type of use, different tariffs and rates apply. Text by Liane Paasila, Martin Korrodi and Giorgio Tebaldi

Music in companies: What to bear in mind

By playing the right background music in your shop, you assure your customers a pleasant shopping experience and may even influence their buying behaviour. (Photo: Tana888 / Shutterstock.com)

Companies are aware of the impact music has on their business. Retailers employ professional sound companies to offer their customers a pleasant shopping experience – and encourage them to buy your products. Medical practices play soothing background music to help their patients relax – none wants to listen to heavy metal during a medical examination or treatment. And commercials too only work with the right music, often specially commissioned. In short, there are any number of examples of the ways in which music can contribute to the success of a business.

Remuneration for composers, lyricists, and publishers

It follows that those who compose the music and write the lyrics – the authors – are entitled to payment. This is done through SUISA, which grants licences for the different music uses and collects the fees in exchange. The amount of the licence fees depends essentially on the value status of the music in the corresponding use. For example, in the case of a symphonic concert, which one generally attends just for the music, the fees will be higher than for the background music in the waiting room at the doctor’s where listening to music is not the main purpose of the visit.

Music from all over the world thanks to SUISA

The tariffs for the different music uses are negotiated at regular intervals between SUISA and the associations of users (e.g. Gastrosuisse for music uses in the hospitality industry); they are jointly set, and then approved by the Federal Arbitration Commission for Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights.

And because SUISA represents the entire world repertoire in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, a licence from SUISA allows the holder to use virtually any music, from anywhere the world over. SUISA distributes the proceeds worldwide to the authors and publishers of the music thus used. For each CHF 100 it collects, SUISA distributes CHF 87 to music authors and publishers.

SUISA issues licences to over 120.000 users, including radio and TV broadcasters, concert organisers, clubs, cafés and restaurants, event and party organisers, shop owners, and online music services. This year, SUISA is planning to conduct a targeted market campaign covering music uses in businesses and will be contacting potential customers directly with its offerings.

Music uses in companies

Three of the most common music uses in businesses are explained below:

1. Background music in sales rooms and offices

In Switzerland, over 100,000 businesses play music via different technologies to create the desired atmosphere on their premises – sales rooms, offices, waiting rooms, etc. In company cars, when on hold, or in the lift, music entertains your customers and employees. Various studies show that music also serves to steer consumer behaviour.

Such uses of music in businesses qualify as public uses and are subject to a fee. Businesses accordingly pay a fee under Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a) to the authors, publishers, artists, or producers. “Common” means that in addition to covering the copyrights managed by SUISA, the tariff also covers those of the other copyright administration societies like Swissperform (for performing artists and producers) and Suissimage (for film creators). SUISA acts as central collecting agent for this tariff on behalf of all the Swiss collecting societies and distributes their share of the collected revenues to the authors and publishers of the music.

Examples of background music uses (CT 3a)
Where?
• Office premises (e.g. common rooms, offices, meeting rooms)
• Sales areas (e.g. sales rooms, restaurants, inns and hotels)
• Company vehicles
• Lines on hold
• Museums, exhibitions
• Medical practices (patient rooms, surgeries, waiting rooms)
How?
• Retransmission of radio broadcasts and music recordings
• Retransmission of TV broadcasts and films (film projections with announced time and venue; public viewings on giant screens with a diagonal exceeding 3 metres are regulated separately).
• Operation of interactive multimedia terminals
Further information background music uses (CT 3a)
CT 3a portal
SUISA website, about CT 3a: www.suisa.ch/3a
Distribution of CT 3a revenues:
www.suisablog.ch/en/how-suisa-distributes-fees-collected-for-background-entertainment/

2. Videos and films with music on the Internet

Ever more businesses are relying on digital formats to reach their customers through professional websites or contributions to social media. Digital communication is important to reach and maintain a connection with customers and other target groups, and not only in extra-ordinary times like during this pandemic. Videos with a musical backdrop play an essential role in this regard, contributing to make a product or service more appealing to customers.

Persons wishing to use a music recording in a video must first understand the distinction between the two types of licensable rights, namely:

  • on the one hand, the rights in the audio recording which are held by the record label;
  • on the other, the copyrights in the work itself, i.e. the composition and lyrics, if any, which are held by the music publisher and/or the authors.

The record label is responsible for the neighbouring rights in the audio recording. In the case of a video recording with music, permission and licences for the synchronisation and re-recording of the recording must be obtained from the label.

For the author’s rights in the work, the music publisher and SUISA are responsible. SUISA grants licences for the reproduction of the work as part of the video production, and for the making available of the work in the video on an own website and/or on social media platforms. The music publisher grants the licence for the synchronisation right in a work. To publish a video with a musical backdrop, one must first contact the publisher and ask whether the song can actually be used in a video.

The licensing procedure is basically the same for any company. For smaller firms with no more than 49 employees and annual turnover up to CHF 9 million, SUISA offers an all-in solution with its partner Audion. You can purchase a licence covering both the author’s rights and those of the label/producer for an annual fee of CHF 344. Thanks to this all-in arrangement, small businesses may use as many short videos with music as they wish to promote their image, products, and services on their website and social media profiles. This arrangement ensures easy access to a licence for the use of music protected by copyright.

Further information about the use of videos with music on websites
Customer portal Music on websites
FAQs:
www.suisa.ch/en/customers/online/music-on-the-internet-for-small-businesses/questions-answers.html
SUISAblog articles about the all-in arrangement:
www.suisablog.ch/en/collective-management-is-a-service-for-music-creators-and-music-users-alike/

3. Music for company events

Christmas parties, general meetings, product presentations – music is often an important component of company events. These are licensed under Common Tariff Hb (CT Hb) which regulates music for dance and entertainment outside the hospitality industry. CT Hb applies to live performances: a band hired for the Christmas party, for example, or a DJ at a staff party, as well as events with musical intermissions such as general meetings, or company events organised for customers.

In terms of rates, the tariff distinguishes between small and large events. Small events are those organised in venues with a capacity of up to 400 people. The fees here are flat fees, per day and per event, depending on the number of persons attending. In the case of large events, since companies do not generally sell tickets for admission, tariff rates are calculated based on the costs sustained in connection with the use of the music. These costs typically consist of the artists’ fees and expenses, instrument rental fees, and the rent charged for the venue. If admission is charged, other calculation bases may apply.

The tariff also provides for a number of discounts – for example, for companies that conclude a contract with SUISA under CT Hb for all their events, or which organise more than 10 events per year.

Companies in the hospitality industry
Inns, pubs, and restaurants:
For entertainment and dance events in restaurants and the like, the applicable tariff is CT H, not CT Hb. CT H applies to the same events as CT Hb, but because of the association with food and beverage, another calculation model is used which takes into account the price of the cheapest alcoholic beverage in addition to the number of persons attending and the admission price.
Hotels:
It is not always clear for hotels what surface areas to use as the calculation basis, so the following should be helpful: CT 3a also applies to the surface area of hotel rooms. SUISA often receives reports from hotels where the surface areas of the rooms have not been included in the total usage area. For hotel rooms, depending on the total area concerned (rooms and common rooms), an additional fee is charged on top of the base fee (Common Tariff 3a, section 6).
Further information about music events
Outside the hospitality industry, CT Hb:
www.suisa.ch/en/customers/organisers-of-events/events-parties/parties-and-other-dance-events.html
For the hospitality industry, CT H:
www.suisa.ch/en/customers/restaurants-hotels/clubs-bars-restaurants/djs-or-musicians.html
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Music plays an important role in many businesses. It creates a pleasant atmosphere for customers, guests, and employees, it enhances advertising messages, and is an important part of corporate events. The rights to use music are easy to obtain from SUISA. Depending on the type of use, different tariffs and rates apply. Text by Liane Paasila, Martin Korrodi and Giorgio Tebaldi

Music in companies: What to bear in mind

By playing the right background music in your shop, you assure your customers a pleasant shopping experience and may even influence their buying behaviour. (Photo: Tana888 / Shutterstock.com)

Companies are aware of the impact music has on their business. Retailers employ professional sound companies to offer their customers a pleasant shopping experience – and encourage them to buy your products. Medical practices play soothing background music to help their patients relax –...read more

Common 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. In the meantime, more than 58,000 invoices have left the building – time to take a first provisional look back. Text by Martin Korrodi; Video by Sibylle Roth

On 15 February 2019, SUISA dispatched the first 1,000 CT 3a invoices for usage period 2019 to customers such as selling businesses, shopping malls, catering outlets or guesthouse landlords. Prior to the first dispatch, the migrated Billag data was analysed and manually cleaned up in order to ensure that the invoices were going to be correctly generated. The dispatch scope was intentionally kept small so that any technical or organisational problems could be detected and resolved quickly.

With increasing experience, the dispatch volume could be increased step by step – this way, after five months (February to June), more than half of the 3a customers have already received an invoice. Until mid-June, about 58,000 invoices were sent out with a total invoiced of nearly CHF 17 million. From April onwards, and in addition to the invoices, the first reminders had to be dispatched, from May the second reminders so that up to 20,000 mailings per month left the building.

CT 3a customer service in numbers

In line with the big number of invoices and reminders, the customer service must process a lot of feedback and queries. More than 2,000 phone conversations with customers were held in May alone, and about 600 electronic messages (contact forms and e-mails) were processed. Add to that about 160 mailings that reach us per month via traditional post.

What’s great is that many of our customers visit our website www.suisa.ch/3a and use the online portal for their queries and issues. Since the beginning of the year, 504 new customers registered online and obtained a CT3a licence, and 1,419 customers asked questions regarding their invoices via the online portal. The tariff allows a 5% discount to those customers who use the online portal for processing their CT 3a business with SUISA.

Under the leadership of Nevio Tebaldi, a team of 16 people is looking after the 3a customers; they share 12 full-time positions (1,200 in job percent). During the development phase, three additional people who support the team and take over duties in the field of data cleanup are available temporarily.

Frequently asked questions

The most frequently asked questions by the customers affect the new responsibility for the invoicing process from 2019. The systems change in terms of the radio and TV reception fees and the closure of the Billag AG seem to have created confusion so that customers do not always understand why they receive an invoice from SUISA and what the purpose of the owed fee is.

The confusion of the copyright fee with the radio and TV reception fees is probably due to the fact that Billag had dispatched both invoices until the end of 2018 – one of them on behalf of the Federal Office of Communication (Bakom) and the other one on behalf of SUISA. Within the commercial field, this co-operation made absolute sense since businesses which run a radio or TV set in their business location do not just have to pay the fee to the Bakom but – unlike private persons – require an additional licence for copyright pursuant to CT 3a.

From 2019, the starting point for radio and TV reception fees has changed fundamentally: A general fee is replacing the previously device-based reception fee. This general fee will be levied nationwide to all households and businesses. The obligation to pay the fee as well as the amount of the levy is, additionally, depending on the turnover of businesses: Businesses with a turnover of less than CHF 500,000 are exempt of the fee – businesses with higher turnovers are automatically invoiced by the Federal Tax Administration Office in a six-tier tariff category system.

With regards to the copyright fees based on CT 3a, there are, however, no major changes: The tariff continues to depend on the actual usage scope and is thus based on the area music is piped to. There is no turnover threshold – even businesses with less than CHF 500,000 have to pay a fee for copyright. The only “change” affects the sender of the invoices which is no longer Billag but SUISA.

The “successor” of Billag, Serafe AG plays no role for business customers since it exclusively invoices private households with the radio and TV reception fees on behalf of Bakom and has therefore nothing to do with businesses.

New contacts for businesses from 2019. (Graphics: Sibylle Roth)

 

Usage scope covered by CT 3a
The following usages are relevant for CT 3a: all exploitations in venues outside domestic and private circle or home life, such as in selling businesses, shopping malls, restaurants, lounges, office spaces, work spaces, storage spaces, company vehicles (car radio), ski lift stations, meeting rooms, seminar rooms, guest rooms (these are defined as guest and patient rooms as well as holiday homes), museums, exhibitions etc.
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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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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. In the meantime, more than 58,000 invoices have left the building – time to take a first provisional look back. Text by Martin Korrodi; Video by Sibylle Roth

On 15 February 2019, SUISA dispatched the first 1,000 CT 3a invoices for usage period 2019 to customers such as selling businesses, shopping malls, catering outlets or guesthouse landlords. Prior to the first dispatch, the migrated...read more

SUISA member services: one look back, one look forward

Quicker pay-outs due to quarterly settlements, simpler data processing via online works registrations, digital access to statements via “my account”, more efficiency via online forms … What’s next – settlements in “real time”? Will there be no more paper dispatched in future? By Irène Philipp Ziebold, Director

SUISA member services: one look back, one look forward

You want to register your work with SUISA while you’re in your rehearsal cellar via your tablet, or check your statements electronically? No problem – thanks to the web portal “my account”. (Photo: Archimede / Shutterstock.com)

In the last few years, SUISA has already implemented important measures which yielded more efficiency and higher quality for member services. The layout of the statements has also been reviewed. Since their redesign, they contain even more detailed information than ever before. Distributions thus became more transparent. In autumn 2015, SUISA introduced quarterly settlements. Since then, members receive the remuneration due to them at least four times a year.

Since 2015, members can electronically access their settlements via the web portal “my account”. An update was carried out at the beginning of March 2017 regarding the online service range offered by SUISA which members can use via “my account”: the works registration has been simplified, members can search specifically for roles in relation to their own works (e.g. Arranger), sub-publishing agreements can now be registered online and the web portal layout has been optimised for the broad range of end devices.

A works registration at SUISA via a tablet while you’re on the road, while you’re rehearsing in your cellar at home or during a meeting with your co-authors somewhere abroad? Thanks for “my account” all of this is possible.

From paper to electronic mail-outs

Paper forms (hardcopies) will be replaced by soft copies. Electronic data processing makes efficient processing possible. SUISA constantly checks what is possible from a technical point of view and what actually makes sense with regards to the range of member services offered. In this context, it is also important to consider members’ interests and wishes.

Do SUISA members want to receive all settlements and the relevant settlement details on paper? Or is the majority of members of the opinion that there should only be electronic statements now?

It is obvious that costs can be saved by not printing settlement statements out any longer to be mailed out by post. What speaks against renouncing on a paper dispatch is the fact that up to now only half of the active membership holds a log in for “my account”. Moreover, it is known that some members continue to regard hardcopy statements as a necessity going forward.

Taking all of these aspects into consideration, the range of member services is currently discussed; especially the pros and cons of the various offers have to be weighed up. Decisions will be made in the course of 2017.

Settlements in “real time”?

Every now and then we are asked by members whether we are planning to run distributions in “real time”. This would mean that, as soon copyright remuneration e.g. for a concert has been collected, it would be immediately paid out to the entitled parties . There are no longer settlement dates for all members but each member would receive their money separately as soon as it becomes available.

The technological requirements could – with some rather significant effort – be developed for such a process. The entire process from collection to pay-out would have to be analysed from scratch. Particularly our distribution rules would have to undergo a major overhaul since many provisions are not compatible with a real-time distribution.

As a consequence, the question remains whether such a system and process migration really corresponds with the needs of the majority of our members and whether quarterly pay-outs might not already satisfy the need for efficiency?

More service, more advice

We continue to monitor and test the service range offered to our members. The rule of thumb is: as much service as possible! Numerous automation processes such as data processing could – as already mentioned – be introduced by means of new IT applications. These enable a more efficient processing and offer the chance to use the resources thus freed up in another way.

The time that has thus been gained will be used for a competent and personal advisory service to our members. Apart from all the measures to increase efficiency, the personal contact to our members continues to be a core concern of SUISA. We will not lose sight of the quality assurance of SUISA member services.

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Quicker pay-outs due to quarterly settlements, simpler data processing via online works registrations, digital access to statements via “my account”, more efficiency via online forms … What’s next – settlements in “real time”? Will there be no more paper dispatched in future? By Irène Philipp Ziebold, Director

SUISA member services: one look back, one look forward

You want to register your work with SUISA while you’re in your rehearsal cellar via your tablet, or check your statements electronically? No problem – thanks to the web portal “my account”. (Photo: Archimede / Shutterstock.com)

In the last few years, SUISA has already implemented important measures which yielded more efficiency and higher quality for member services. The layout of the statements has also been reviewed. Since their redesign, they contain even more detailed information than ever before. Distributions thus became more transparent. In autumn 2015, SUISA...read more

New online forms for SUISA customers

Since the beginning of 2016, SUISA has made new online forms available to its customers.  The aim of the new service range offered is to simplify the notification process for music users. SUISA also benefits from this online procedure due to the efficiency of the data processing options.

New online forms for SUISA customers

Music users can now submit their applications to SUISA via new online forms – and save themselves the way to the post office for other occasions. (Photo: Teresa Goepel)

For quite some time, SUISA has been offering its customers forms as editable pdfs or word documents via its website www.suisa.ch. Internet or not: Even today, our customer service department is receiving notifications and registrations filled in by hand.

In the course of the ongoing development of web-based applications, SUISA has been offering music users new online forms for their notifications since January 2016. The new forms help with the standardisation of the data process as well as the automation of the processing workflows. Data quality can be improved simultaneously.

By making the new online forms available, SUISA intends to make the notification process easier for music users. When completing the new forms, online help and explanations can be retrieved on a field-by-field basis. Additional support functions are available due to the option to select from default values and details via drop-down menus.

Availability of the online forms

The first four online forms for Tariffs VN and VI are available in German, French, Italian and English since the beginning of 2016. Further online forms will soon follow. The next batch of online versions planned to be made available are for Tariffs PIe (work-by-work productions and own productions) and CT 3a.

In addition to customer-related forms, SUISA is also planning to provide forms for members, for example regarding the registration for new membership of authors and publishers and for the General Assembly 2016. Members can already use the password-protected, personal online user account “my account”. With the introduction of online forms for music users, the cornerstone is laid for online accounts to be created for customers at a later stage.

The following links guide you to the currently available online forms:

VN-A: Application for recording music on commercial audiovisual carriers for television broadcasts, movie theatre screening and/or use on the internet

VN-B: Application for recording music on other types of audiovisual carriers (e.g. company film, amateur film, graduation film, slide show)

VN-C: Application for recording music on non-commercial audiovisual carriers for television broadcasts, screening in movie theatre and/or festivals, and productions for first use on VoD platforms

VI application: Recording music on audiovisual carriers intended for the public

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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.

Since the beginning of 2016, SUISA has made new online forms available to its customers.  The aim of the new service range offered is to simplify the notification process for music users. SUISA also benefits from this online procedure due to the efficiency of the data processing options.

New online forms for SUISA customers

Music users can now submit their applications to SUISA via new online forms – and save themselves the way to the post office for other occasions. (Photo: Teresa Goepel)

For quite some time, SUISA has been offering its customers forms as editable pdfs or word documents via its website www.suisa.ch. Internet or not: Even today, our customer service department is receiving notifications and registrations filled in by hand.

In the course of the ongoing development of web-based applications, SUISA has been offering music users new online...read more

Right in the middle of it and in full swing to improve the service range offered to members

A glance on the service range offered by SUISA for its members shows: During the last few years, there have been innovations which brought about more efficiency and quality. Among these are more detailed settlement statements, the web portal “my account” and the digitisation of member files. These improvements signify a continu-ous process with SUISA right in the middle of it – and in full swing at it, as the follow-ing outlook shows: New: quarterly distributions. “My account” is undergoing further development. We are modernising the technology of our works database. Our member services are also subjected to a fundamental review. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold, Director

Irène Philipp Ziebold has been managing the “Member Services and Distribution” Division since July 2010 as its Director. (Photo: Juerg Isler, isler-fotografie.ch)

Since 2016, SUISA has been paying out the majority of its income on a quarterly basis. With the new quarterly distributions in March, June, September and December, SUISA has been paying out copyright royalties to its members more quickly. The transparency within the set-tlement statements has also been increased. Thanks to the combination of various distribution categories, it has also been possible to reduce costs.

Online services for members

Our strategy relating to the online service range offered to our members is based on three pillars: Firstly, our websites form the foundation (www.suisa.ch and www.suisablog.ch). We publish a variety of information on these sites. Secondly, we have been developing online forms for a more efficient notification and registration process. Thirdly, we offer our members electronic access to their data and distributions via “my account”.

The web portal “my account” is going to be developed further over the next few years. The plan is to provide members with the option to update their membership details themselves, raise online usage queries, generate statements of account at any time and to offer additional distribution functionalities in future.

In the course of the new IT strategy, the SUISA works database is also going to be migrated to a modern technology. That way, we will obtain a better performance, but avoid various media gaps and thus reach a complete integration into the IT target architecture. All of this is going to significantly improve efficiency.

Member services under scrutiny

Last but not least, we are going to review our member services. As for any of our efforts to improve our service range, it is always a balancing act between quantity and quality. With membership numbers nearly doubling over the last 10 years, and five times as many work registrations during the same period, without collections having increased at the same rate – that’s a challenge for SUISA regarding its member services which we have to meet afresh every day.

Quality must be right and the costs need to be under control! For 2016, we have launched a project with the aim to create a service range catalogue showing the conditions applying to our service range for our members in future.

Right in the middle of it and in full swing: We have already left certain milestones behind, and we’re ready to tackle the next ones. Many thanks for placing your trust in us!

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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.

A glance on the service range offered by SUISA for its members shows: During the last few years, there have been innovations which brought about more efficiency and quality. Among these are more detailed settlement statements, the web portal “my account” and the digitisation of member files. These improvements signify a continu-ous process with SUISA right in the middle of it – and in full swing at it, as the follow-ing outlook shows: New: quarterly distributions. “My account” is undergoing further development. We are modernising the technology of our works database. Our member services are also subjected to a fundamental review. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold, Director

Irène Philipp Ziebold has been managing the “Member Services and Distribution” Division since July 2010 as its Director. (Photo: Juerg Isler, isler-fotografie.ch)

Since 2016, SUISA has...read more