Tag Archives: Live music

Night of Light: SUISA is committed to the event and culture industries

On Monday, 22 June 2020, from 10 pm to midnight, buildings throughout Switzerland were bathed in red light. The occasion was the “Night of Light”. The aim of this action was to draw the attention of the general public to the fact that many organisers and cultural operators are in a precarious situation due to the Corona crisis. SUISA also took part in this campaign and had its headquarters in Zurich illuminated in red. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Nina Müller

On Monday evening, more than 900 buildings throughout Switzerland were lit up red. From 10 p.m. to midnight, companies and organisations joined forces in the “Night of Light” campaign to set an example for the event and culture industry, which has been particularly hard hit by the corona crisis.

As a cooperative society of composers, lyricists and music publishers, SUISA also took part in the “Night of Light” and bathed its headquarters in Zurich Wollishofen in red light for two hours. Pictures of this campaign can be seen in the video. SUISA is thus committed to serving the interests of its members, the authors and publishers of music in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, as well as its clients in the event and cultural industries.

The aim of the campaign was to make the public and politicians aware of the precarious situation of the event and culture industries caused by the corona crisis. The coordinators, associations from the event and culture industries, want to discuss with political leaders in the context of a sector dialogue how the multi-billion-dollar, heterogeneous event and culture industry can be saved from a massive wave of insolvencies and how thousands of jobs throughout Switzerland can be preserved.

“The events industry was the first sector of the economy to be hit by the Covid 19 crisis and it is very likely that it will also be affected the longest and most profoundly by its effects,” write the organisers of the Swiss “Night of Light”. From 16 March 2020 onwards, the working basis of an entire commercial sector has been made massively more difficult, and concerts, festivals, theatre performances, business events were until recently completely impossible, and even now are only possible with difficulty.

Even though the Federal Council announced further relaxation measures on 19 June 2020 and now allows events for up to 1,000 people, subject to compliance with appropriate safety and hygiene concepts, the situation in the event and culture industries remains extremely difficult. Firstly, events such as tours often require a planning period of several months and therefore cannot be repeated from one day to the next. Secondly, many events can hardly be carried out economically even with the new relaxation measures, as the organisers still have to comply with strict regulations.

In addition, the entitlement to short-time work for persons in a similar position to employers expired at the end of May and the conditions for support payments were tightened. This particularly affects SMEs and freelancers from the event industry and the circle of cultural workers, as these professional areas are largely made up of small owner-managed companies and self-employed persons. The event industry and creators and artists are therefore urgently dependent on the support being continued until normal operations are possible again.

SUISA supports the demands of cultural associations to continue their support measures for organisers and creators and artist. Otherwise there is a risk that many of these self-employed people, small and micro-enterprises will have to file for bankruptcy and disappear from the Swiss cultural landscape. Ultimately, thousands of jobs are at stake in an industry with an annual turnover of 70 billion Swiss francs.

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On Monday, 22 June 2020, from 10 pm to midnight, buildings throughout Switzerland were bathed in red light. The occasion was the “Night of Light”. The aim of this action was to draw the attention of the general public to the fact that many organisers and cultural operators are in a precarious situation due to the Corona crisis. SUISA also took part in this campaign and had its headquarters in Zurich illuminated in red. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Nina Müller

On Monday evening, more than 900 buildings throughout Switzerland were lit up red. From 10 p.m. to midnight, companies and organisations joined forces in the “Night of Light” campaign to set an example for the event and culture industry, which has been particularly hard hit by the corona crisis.

As a...read more

Information on live streams for SUISA members

The corona measures led to a loss of performance and earning opportunities for music creators and to a painful loss of live music for music consumers. Live streaming therefore enjoys great popularity, especially in these times, and takes on a pertinent role in the cultural industry. Text by Michael Wohlgemuth

Information on live streams for SUISA members

Music via video as a replacement for cancelled concerts: Jazz and improvisation musician Cyril Bondi played his work “We Need To Change” for the series of articles “Music for Tomorrow”; you can listen to it and watch it on the SUISAblog and the social media channels SUISA Music Stories. (Photo: screen shot video Cyril Bondi)

There are numerous possibilities to transmit live streams: The choice ranges from your own website, and social media platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, Instagram or Dailymotion, to pure live streaming platforms such as Twitch. In addition, smaller international and national platforms are currently appearing, where music creators can register for live streaming and share any income generated via the platform.

The following guide is intended to provide SUISA members with assistance in the live streaming jungle:

Information for musicians who organise live streams themselves

Do I/we need a licence from SUISA?
Be it as a band, singer-songwriter, orchestra or choir: If you organise a live stream on your own website or social media channel and only perform music that you have written yourself and/or that is in the public domain (the author has died more than 70 years ago), you do not need a licence from SUISA.

But be careful: This type of “own use” or using your own music yourself, on your own web channels, is only allowed if all songs are 100% written by the performers themselves. As soon as third parties are involved in only one of the performed works, it is no longer considered to be a pure type of “own use”. So if there are co-authors who do not participate in the performance of the live stream, or if a publisher has a stake in the song or otherwise performs protected music by others (e.g. cover versions), you need a licence from SUISA in accordance with the “Licensing Terms and Conditions Live Streams”.

An exception applies to non-commercial live streams on social media platforms: These are covered by the agreements concluded by SUISA and other rights management entities with the social media platforms and therefore do not usually need to be licensed separately. SUISA currently has agreements with Youtube and Facebook (including Instagram). SUISA is currently negotiating with Dailymotion, Vimeo and Twitch, to which the same will apply.

Non-commercial in this context means that no money is demanded for the live stream and it is not produced for a company. SUISA also considers donation campaigns whose income is entirely allocated to people in need to be non-commercial.

Livestreams from DJ sets
DJ sets contain not only compositions, but also recordings whose rights are held by the recording company or “labelˮ. Since very few DJs use exclusively self-composed and self-published music, several licenses must usually be obtained for live streams of DJ sets: Copyright requires a licence from SUISA (with the exception of non-commercial live streams on social media, see section “Does it require a licence from SUISA?”) and the rights to the recordings played – the so-called neighbouring rights – require licences from the record companies/labels. For DJ sets on social media, the platforms themselves are responsible for this.
The only platform currently known to SUISA that has signed contracts for DJ live streams with most major labels is Mixcloud.

The live stream of my concert or DJ set on social media was blocked: Why and how can I avoid that this happens?
The reason for content being blocked is usually the performance of third-party music and related to this the lack of a certain licence agreement of the social media platform with a rightsholder (often a label or a publisher). In principle, social media companies are responsible for the content on their platforms and block unlicensed content using audio recognition technologies for their own protection.

The easiest way to avoid content being blocked on social media is to mainly perform self-composed music in the case of a live concert. Due to complex legal reasons, it is recommended that cover bands host the live streams not on social media but on their own website.

DJ sets on social media platforms should be avoided if possible, unless you use your own recordings. The reason for this is that very few labels allow the live streaming of their recordings on social media. Facebook and YouTube, in particular, have mature audio recognition technologies and thus very quickly detect unlicensed recordings. If you leave a recording of the live stream with unlicensed music on the platform, it will be automatically blocked by the software at the very latest.

Can I earn money with my live streams?
You can earn money with your live streams in many different ways:
The simplest form is to offer the live stream against payment. On your own website, for example, you could publish the link to the live stream against payment of a fee. This payment model could also be transferred to social media platforms by providing the live stream only in a closed group to which the audience only gets access for a fee.

At this point in time, classic payment systems such as bank accounts, for example, which are independent of the social media platform, still have to be used. However, it is to be expected that social media platforms will increasingly offer integrated payment solutions with which viewers can pay directly via the platform. For example, Facebook has announced that it will enable direct payments via the Facebook Live Platform.

Other potential sources of income are, for example, advertising breaks or live stream sponsoring. Merchandising articles could also be offered as part of the live stream or voluntary donations could be made possible.

Information for musicians whose live stream is carried out by an organiser

Who can be considered as the organiser or promoter?
Live stream organisers are mainly concert promoters and club companies, but also (media) companies, foundations, associations or other societies are possible.

Where can I access the live streams of these events?
On the one hand on social media, on the other hand also on own platforms, which were created especially for live streaming events. One national example is Artonair. An international example of such a live stream organizer is Stageit.

I was/we were asked for a live stream: Does the organiser have to pay me for my performance?
SUISA is basically of the opinion that engagements for live streams should be compared to engagements for concerts and that a fee is therefore appropriate. This should be regulated in an engagement contract together with the modalities of appearance.

Are the organisers also responsible for the copyright licence fees?
Yes, just as in the offline area, the organisers must take care of the copyright in the performed music. International providers need a licence from each affected rightsholder of the performed music (collecting societies, publishers etc.). A licence from SUISA is sufficient for national providers.

In this context, it is particularly important to study the general terms and conditions of the respective provider and to make sure that you do not grant the organiser any rights which you cannot or do not want to assign. For example, as a SUISA member, you should take special care not to grant performing rights to the organiser, as SUISA will already take care of this for you.

Does SUISA pay a fee for my appearance in a live stream?
If a live stream has been licensed by SUISA to an organiser, the authors and publishers involved in the music can expect to receive corresponding remuneration from SUISA (less the current cost rate of 15%). The amount of compensation depends primarily on whether and how much income has been generated by the organiser. The royalties are distributed on the basis of the programme, the “set listˮ, which the broadcaster submits to SUISA.

Further information:
As a SUISA member, do you have any legal questions or concerns in connection with live streams? Our legal department is happy to advise you on this: legalservices (at) suisa (dot) ch

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  1. M. Badertscher says:

    Was bedeutet “nicht-kommerzielle Livestreams” genau?
    Wenn der Stream für alle sichtbar ist (keine Zugangsbeschränkung), man Musik im Hintergrund laufen lässt und der Zuschauer freiwillig für den Stream etwas bezahlen kann aber nicht muss, dann ist das doch auch kommerziell? Der Streamer verdient ja auch damit. Einfach auf freiwilliger Basis.

    • Michael Wohlgemuth says:

      Besten Dank für die berechtigte Frage. In der Tat würden wir solche Livestreams auch als kommerziell betrachten. Sobald in irgendeiner Form Geld fliesst, handelt es sich aus unserer Sicht um ein kommerzielles Angebot.
      Beste Grüsse, Michael Wohlgemuth, SUISA Rechtsdienst

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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 corona measures led to a loss of performance and earning opportunities for music creators and to a painful loss of live music for music consumers. Live streaming therefore enjoys great popularity, especially in these times, and takes on a pertinent role in the cultural industry. Text by Michael Wohlgemuth

Information on live streams for SUISA members

Music via video as a replacement for cancelled concerts: Jazz and improvisation musician Cyril Bondi played his work “We Need To Change” for the series of articles “Music for Tomorrow”; you can listen to it and watch it on the SUISAblog and the social media channels SUISA Music Stories. (Photo: screen shot video Cyril Bondi)

There are numerous possibilities to transmit live streams: The choice ranges from your own website, and social media platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, Instagram or Dailymotion, to pure...read more

SUISA extends payment deadline for its customers

From April 2020 and until further notice, SUISA will grant an extension of the payment period on invoices issued. For music not used in connection with the official regulations against the spread of the corona pandemic, copyright fees will be dropped. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

SUISA extends payment deadline for its customers

The corona virus is currently posing major challenges for the whole of Switzerland – many of SUISA’s customers are affected by the financial consequences, as are the musicians whose rights SUISA manages. (Photo: Federal Office of Public Health)

The drastic measures taken to contain the Sars CoV-2 virus have brought about drastic changes in the social and economic environment in Switzerland within a very short time. Cultural life in the country has almost come to a standstill. Many of SUISA’s customers, especially event organisers and commercial enterprises, are suffering from the financial consequences of the lockdown. SUISA members are also severely affected by the sudden loss of basic income: Copyright royalties are one of the few steady sources of income for composers, lyricists and publishers whose rights SUISA manages.

SUISA is a link in the chain of companies affected by the crisis: Especially now, it is of existential interest for music creators that the payment of copyright royalties is preserved. In this context, SUISA is maintaining its service of permitting public use of music and is adapting some of its modalities to exceptional circumstances for the benefit of licensees.

Extension of the payment deadlines

For invoices issued from April 2020, the payment period for SUISA’s customers will be increased. The extended term of payment is recorded as a date on the invoices. This accommodation in the terms of payment is granted automatically and will be valid until further notice.

Discount for music usages that did not take place

Due to official regulations, various uses of music are and have been impossible. Be it banned events, closed shops or events in hospitality businesses that could inevitably not take place: Copyright fees for usages that have demonstrably not taken place shall not be payable.

In order to be able to deduct the discount correctly according to each individual case, various procedures will be applied for administrative and technical reasons:

Dance and entertainment in the hospitality industry

Customers who obtain a licence for dance and entertainment in the hotel and restaurant industry according to the Common Tariff H (CT H) can partially benefit from an automatic and deduction of the discount. For all cases where an automatic reduction is not possible due to the data available, we will dispatch the annual invoices in the regular scope. If the invoiced amount is too high due to cancelled events, we will revoke the invoices and reduce them to the actual amount of use according to the feedback from the customers.

Background entertainment

For licensees of the Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a) for background entertainment, the dates of business closures can vary considerably from one company to another.

We kindly ask you to notify us of the respective business closure dates by using our electronic form:

  • For your notification, please use the form located at www.suisa.ch/3a
  • Please note that reimbursements can only be made if no employees were on the business premises and if there were no occurrences of music use in telephone loops or in business vehicles.

Once we have verified the details you submitted, we are going to credit the relevant amounts in line with Common Tariff 3a for full calendar months where no background entertainment took place. For businesses which were open again on 27 April and would not fulfil these requirements, SUISA is offering a reduction of one calendar month as a gesture of goodwill.

Customers of other tariffs

Licensees of other tariffs who receive periodic invoices for long-term contracts must report any music use that has not taken place to the competent SUISA administration department, whose contact details appear on the invoices. Thus, in the context of a final settlement, the compensation can be adjusted to the actual use made.

SUISA remains available to answer questions or concerns of all customers by telephone from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1.30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Further information:
www.suisa.ch/3a
www.suisa.ch

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From April 2020 and until further notice, SUISA will grant an extension of the payment period on invoices issued. For music not used in connection with the official regulations against the spread of the corona pandemic, copyright fees will be dropped. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

SUISA extends payment deadline for its customers

The corona virus is currently posing major challenges for the whole of Switzerland – many of SUISA’s customers are affected by the financial consequences, as are the musicians whose rights SUISA manages. (Photo: Federal Office of Public Health)

The drastic measures taken to contain the Sars CoV-2 virus have brought about drastic changes in the social and economic environment in Switzerland within a very short time. Cultural life in the country has almost come to a standstill. Many of SUISA’s customers, especially event organisers and commercial enterprises,...read more

Changes in distribution for Common Tariff K and Z revenues

The CHF 20 limit for the distribution of revenues under Common Tariffs K (concerts) and Z (circuses) has been eliminated. As a result, amounts previously allocated to distribution category 4C will be otherwise regulated. The changes concern points 4.1, 4.2, 5.4 and 5.5 of SUISA’s Distribution Rules. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes in distribution for Common Tariff K and Z revenues

SUISA has optimised its distribution rules for revenues from live performances. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Revenues from CT K and CT Z had hitherto been allocated to two different distribution categories. Amounts over CHF 20 per work were allocated to DC 4B “Concerts and other performances with revenues of more than CHF 20 per work”. Distribution in this category was made on a per file basis. On the other hand, performance revenues of less than CHF 20 per work were allocated to DC 4C “Concerts with revenues of up to CHF 20 per work” and were then distributed on a flat-rate basis.

As is in the nature of flat-rate solutions which at best only approximate real circumstances, this practice did not always produce satisfactory results. In the case of DC 4C, a flat point value, calculated based on the revenues and programme information of all the events assigned to this distribution category, was applied.

Distribution based on actual usage is more advantageous

The flat point value actually applied could be higher or lower than the actual point value of an individual event. Therefore, it could happen that entitled parties would receive a higher amount than that actually paid by the organiser in respect of an event for which only the minimum fee under Tariff K had been paid. Naturally, the opposite was equally possible. The changes made in the Distribution Rules now eliminate the potential disadvantage or advantage for the beneficiaries of DC 4C.

In practice, these changes remove the CHF 20 limit and eliminate distribution category 4C altogether. Henceforth, all revenues from CT K and CT Z – regardless of amount or point value per work – will be allocated to and distributed in DC 4B. The rules for DC 4B itself remain unchanged; only the name of this category has been changed. It is now called: “Concerts & concert-like performances.”

The revenues previously allocated to DC 4C will henceforth flow into DC 4B as well. These consist in the allocations from revenues without programme information from Tariffs Hb, L, Ma, 3a, 7, 8, K and Z, as well as Tariff B revenues from orchestra consortia (with programme information).

Overview of changes in Distribution Rules

Here, in a nutshell, are the advantages of the changes in the Distribution Rules:

  • Even smaller amounts will be equitably distributed per file when programme information is available. This corresponds to a per-work distribution where the proceeds from an event will be distributed directly to the entitled parties.
  • Hitherto, only the entitled parties under DC 4C had the benefit of the above-listed allocations. Since both distribution categories (4B and 4C) relate to concert repertoires, there is no objective reason not to take into account DC 4B works in the distribution of allocations. Thanks to these changes, this will now be the case.
  • By introducing per-file distribution for all performances subject to Tariffs K and Z, settlement statements will be more transparent. Members will now be able to clearly see the make-up of their revenues from live performances under this Tariff.

The changes in the Distribution Rules will first be implemented in the September 2019 distribution.

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The CHF 20 limit for the distribution of revenues under Common Tariffs K (concerts) and Z (circuses) has been eliminated. As a result, amounts previously allocated to distribution category 4C will be otherwise regulated. The changes concern points 4.1, 4.2, 5.4 and 5.5 of SUISA’s Distribution Rules. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes in distribution for Common Tariff K and Z revenues

SUISA has optimised its distribution rules for revenues from live performances. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Revenues from CT K and CT Z had hitherto been allocated to two different distribution categories. Amounts over CHF 20 per work were allocated to DC 4B “Concerts and other performances with revenues of more than CHF 20 per work”. Distribution in this category was made on a per file basis. On the other hand, performance revenues of less than CHF 20 per work were allocated to...read more

Label Suisse: a showcase for Swiss music in all its diversity

The eighth edition of the Label Suisse Festival was held in Lausanne from 14 to 16 September. The biennial festival, dedicated to Swiss musicians and creators, offers the public a broad panorama of Switzerland’s current music landscape. Text and Interviews by Erika Weibel

Label Suisse: a showcase for Swiss music in all its diversity

The main stage of the Label Suisse Festival at the “Place Centrale” in Lausanne during the performance of Geneva hip-hop group Superwak Clique on Saturday 15 October 2018. (Photo: Anne Bichsel)

90,000 visitors attended the 8th edition of the Label Suisse Festival, enjoying over 60 concerts of multifarious music styles at 10 locations in the centre of Lausanne. The full range of Swiss music was showcased: from electronic music to pop-rock, from contemporary and classical music to jazz, and last but not least, new folk music. All in one festival!

Label Suisse’s programming team attaches great importance to booking both more experienced Swiss artists and promising newcomers. Admission to all concerts is free since the full cost of the festival is financed by the sponsors. SUISA has supported Label Suisse financially since 2006, and was again one of the festival’s main partners in 2018.

The members of the programming team are each in charge of a specific musical genre. After the festival, we asked them how they went about selecting their artists, what they think is particularly exciting about the festival, and about current trends in the various genres. We also asked Julien Gross, President of Label Suisse, what he considered the highlights of the 2018 edition.

Label Suisse: Julien Gross

Julien Gross (Photo: Anne Bichsel)

Julien Gross, President of the Label Suisse association

As President of the Label Suisse association, you have been working hard for several years to make the festival a success. In your opinion, what makes Label Suisse particularly attractive?
Julien Gross: Label Suisse is unique for the broad artistic spectrum of musical styles in its programming. As a result, the festival brings together all audiences across all generations for three days.
Artists from all four language regions perform for the delight of a curious, attentive, and faithful public. Radio plays an important role in broadcasting music from the festival nationwide for the three days.

The latest festival was the 8th edition of Label Suisse. The festival has been held every second year since its first edition in 2004. What changes has the festival undergone in these 14 years?
Actually, it’s mainly Swiss music that has evolved. Creative, innovative and original, Label Suisse tries to present a snapshot of all the Switzerland’s musical scenes.
We try to awaken the urge for discovery and the desire to embark upon a musical adventure. To reinforce the presence of certain styles, or propose original creations.

Groups from all over Switzerland representing a great variety of musical genres come to Lausanne to take part in the festival. Subjectively speaking, which shows did you find most exciting?
I truly love wandering around the festival grounds. I enjoy the challenge of discovering musical styles that are not usually part of my everyday life. That’s what I find most exciting.

Label Suisse: Laurence Vinclair

Laurence Vinclair (Photo: Mehdi Benkler)

Laurence Vinclair, modern music programming

What is the special interest in being responsible for the programming of a single genre for a music festival which combines so many different styles of music?
Laurence Vinclair: The interest lies in being able to showcase deserving artists for three days, artists whose development I follow all year round, sometimes over many years. And to enable a diverse public to discover styles that they might otherwise never listen to.

What criteria did you apply in selecting the artists and bands?
The criteria are quality, topicality, artistic motivation and potential.

What are the current trends in the musical genre you are responsible for programming? What effects do these trends have on the actors of the Swiss music world?
The clearest trend is hip-hop, or urban music; this style has taken the lead over all the others as you can tell by looking at the programming in clubs and festivals the last two years.

Label Suisse: Stefano Saccon

Stefano Saccon (Photo: Claude Berthelier)

Stefano Saccon, jazz programming

What is the special interest in being responsible for the programming of a single genre for a music festival which combines so many different styles of music?
Stefano Saccon: The intelligence and the strength of the festival is to employ competent people in each area in order to identify the most representative musicians. Being part of a committee of experts is a stimulating way to encourage relevant and complementary programming.

What criteria did you apply in selecting the artists and bands?
The diversity of supply in the jazz area forces you take a broad view and apply criteria which can be adapted in line with the artistic approach. In any event, the project must be original and add value to the rest of the programming; it must be in tune with the times while being clearly anchored in tradition; it must be mature and have potential for development.

What are the current trends in the musical genre you are resonsible for programming? What effects do these trends have on the actors of the Swiss music world?
There are three trends in my opinion:
a) the association of the acoustic and the electronic, the curiosity about the DJ world, and the sensitisation to new sound textures;
b) the minimalism which places the group rather than the solist at the centre of attention, in keeping with a more conventional approach;
c) the desire to develop writing on more complex rhythmic matrices.
Today, all jazz musicians possess great instrumental mastery, and a huge curiosity stimulating boundless creativity. Considering that they are faced with growing supply and increasing competition, I think musicians show tremendous humility and exemplary mutual respect.

Label Suisse: Johannes Rühl

Johannes Rühl (Photo: Roland Zemp)

Johannes Rühl, new folk music programming

What is the special interest in being responsible for the programming of a single genre for a music festival which combines so many different styles of music?
Johannes Rühl: Very few festivals offer the stylistic breadth that Label Suisse does. That in itself is a major feat. In terms of programming, it means that each musical genre has to co-exist with the others. Moreover, the concerts can be expected to attract a highly differentiated public. This kind of festival is truly one of a kind for the curious music lover; we draw the best public we could dream of.

What criteria did you apply in selecting the artists and ensembles?
New folk is a predominantly Swiss German musical phenomenon. To lure audiences from other language regions of the country you have to make this music attractive – especially since it takes a little getting used to. That’s why we try to book groups that have a certain stylistic openness. That’s what we focus on more particularly, in addition to quality of course.

What are the current trends in the musical genre you are responsible for programming? What effects do these trends have on the actors of the Swiss music world?
New Swiss folk music is essentially the popular heritage of the last century. In those days, music was protest; today, musicians have more affinity with tradition. They bring the material to life without blinkers, creating something completely new and previously unheard. The Hochschule Luzern Musik, the School of Music in Lucerne, has been vital to this genre in the last few years, and is a breeding ground for excellent talent. This trend is far from over, and I believe that it still holds much good in store.

Label Suisse: Claire Brawand

Claire Brawand (Photo: Nathalie Langlois)

Claire Brawand, classical and contemporary music programming

What is the special interest in being responsible for the programming of a single genre for a music festival which combines so many different styles of music?
Claire Brawand: the act of programming is always set in a particular context which has to be taken into account. In the case of Label Suisse (diversity of styles with a predominance of modern music, national dimension, different locations, free admission, broad public with lots of young people), the context is quite different to the normal context for classical music (from baroque to contemporary) and its aficionados. I see it as a highly fertile field for experimentation, which makes my programming mission even more stimulating; one of the main aims is to encourage festival-goers to discover the universe of classical music through one person, one energy or a special concert format. Label Suisse’s great freedom of movement, underscored by the mixture of styles in a single place, makes this possible.

What criteria did you apply in selecting the artists and ensembles?
In the classical programming, I favoured artists – performers and composers – who are powerful and unique, and whose approach is strongly resonant with the identity of the Festival, namely: contemporary, hence topical, and exploratory. This disposition on the part of the classical artist is essential for the special context of Label Suisse. As a result, we focused on the repertoires of the 20th and 21st centuries (including creations) and, with regard to the 21st century, on Swiss composers of all generations.

What are the current trends in the musical genre you are responsible for programming? What effects do these trends have on the actors of the Swiss music world?
Increasing trans-disciplinarity between the arts (visual, sound, composition) and esthetics. A strong capacity for renewal in the approach of the young generations of cutting-edge musicians in terms of their concert programming. Today, they consider the contribution of classical music freely, unconstrained by the barriers inherited from prior generations.

www.labelsuisse.ch

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The eighth edition of the Label Suisse Festival was held in Lausanne from 14 to 16 September. The biennial festival, dedicated to Swiss musicians and creators, offers the public a broad panorama of Switzerland’s current music landscape. Text and Interviews by Erika Weibel

Label Suisse: a showcase for Swiss music in all its diversity

The main stage of the Label Suisse Festival at the “Place Centrale” in Lausanne during the performance of Geneva hip-hop group Superwak Clique on Saturday 15 October 2018. (Photo: Anne Bichsel)

90,000 visitors attended the 8th edition of the Label Suisse Festival, enjoying over 60 concerts of multifarious music styles at 10 locations in the centre of Lausanne. The full range of Swiss music was showcased: from electronic music to pop-rock, from contemporary and classical music to jazz, and last but not least, new folk music. All in one festival!

Label...read more

Minor amendments only to noise legislation

The ordinance on the federal act governing protection against non-ionising radiation and sound hazards (V-NISSG) was sent to the consultation stage in February 2018. The draft regulation provided more stringent requirements for events involving electrically amplified sound, as well as new stipulations for events without amplification. It was announced in early October that the Federal Office of Public Health would not adopt the most stringent restrictions. Text by Sarah Coopman

V-NISSG: Minor amendments only to noise legislation

Much ado about (almost) nothing: following fierce resistance from industry representatives affected by the proposed changes, the Federal Office of Public Health will refrain from major changes to noise protection legislation (including for major concerts such as the one pictured). (Photo: Marcel Grubenmann)

If you want to learn more about the limits and restrictions that currently apply to sound at events, check the Sound Levels and Laser Ordinance (SLO). It first and foremost states that events with a noise level of less than 93 dB(A) are not subject to any legal stipulations. These threshold values are determined using the average noise level during a one-hour period. According to the current SLO, the requirements for event organisers take effect when noise levels reach at least 93 dB(A) per hour for events that use electric amplification.

Current SLO regulations

The sound protection measures required differ according to the average sound level and can be divided into three categories. The first category of events comprises those with an average hourly noise level of between 93 and 96 dB(A). The organiser is required to report an event to the enforcement agency 14 days in advance. The audience must then be informed of possible damage to their hearing through signs at the event itself. Free ear protection must be provided. Finally, the SLO requires the noise level to be monitored with a decibel meter during the event. No special requirements exist for these meters.

The average hourly noise level at an event that uses electric amplification may not exceed 100 dB(A). For events with a noise level of between 96 and 100 dB(A), the same requirements apply as for events in the first category, provided the total duration of the noise does not exceed three hours. Again, event organisers are subject to the following requirements: a duty to notify the authorities of the event, a duty to inform the audience and provide earplugs, and a duty to monitor the noise level throughout the entire event.

No requirements for unamplified noise so far

However, if the duration of noise exceeds three hours stricter rules apply. In this case, the event organiser must record the noise level and create a quiet zone to compensate. The noise level may not exceed 85 dB(A) in this zone.

The maximum noise level, i.e. the loudest level of noise exposure measured at any given point, may not exceed 125 dB(A) at any time. Unamplified sound is not currently subject to any conditions. This means that symphony orchestras, opera singers or Guggenmusik bands are not subject to any of the above limits and the associated requirements. These are the regulations for events with electrically amplified sound according to the currently applicable sound regulations.

Opposition to V-NISSG draft ordinance

The draft of the new ordinance concerning the federal act governing protection against non-ionising radiation and sound hazards, V-NISSG, largely adopted and selectively amended these regulations. The draft ordinance also provided stipulations for events without amplification. And it would have expanded the obligation to record the noise level to all events with an average noise level in excess of 93 dB(A). The federal government also wanted to institute more stringent requirements for the recording devices.

During the consultation, industry representatives vehemently opposed the proposed changes. Following discussions with industry representatives in late September, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has now decided to abandon these changes and will ask the Federal Council to remove the more extensive recording requirements. This means that the status quo remains in terms of the recording requirements, with recording only required at events with an average noise level in excess of 96 dB(A) for more than three hours.

FOPH will refrain largely from tightening

The FOPH will request only that events with unamplified sound of above 93 dB(A) be subject to a duty to inform the audience and provide free ear protection. The previous obligation to notify the authorities will be removed. Minimum requirements will apply to orchestral performances, classical music concerts and similar events, provided the noise level of 93 dB(A) is reached.

The stricter requirements for decibel meters are unlikely to be implemented. Rather, the requirements for the meters and the measuring method should be defined per se based on an industry recommendation.

No major changes to noise control legislation are therefore expected in light of these developments. In particular, the current limits will remain in place. According to the FOPH, these conditions have been accepted by industry representatives and were not questioned during the course of the consultation. However, the extent to which changes may still be incorporated into the new ordinance is not fully clear at the moment. The Federal Council will decide definitively on the implementation and entry into force of the draft ordinance in early 2019.

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The ordinance on the federal act governing protection against non-ionising radiation and sound hazards (V-NISSG) was sent to the consultation stage in February 2018. The draft regulation provided more stringent requirements for events involving electrically amplified sound, as well as new stipulations for events without amplification. It was announced in early October that the Federal Office of Public Health would not adopt the most stringent restrictions. Text by Sarah Coopman

V-NISSG: Minor amendments only to noise legislation

Much ado about (almost) nothing: following fierce resistance from industry representatives affected by the proposed changes, the Federal Office of Public Health will refrain from major changes to noise protection legislation (including for major concerts such as the one pictured). (Photo: Marcel Grubenmann)

If you want to learn more about the limits and restrictions that currently apply to sound at events, check the...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

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
4 tips for you how to get your concert royalties So the songs you wrote are also played live in concerts? Concerts with your music have a value for you! Your concert payment is your reward for your live performance; you do, however, also earn money for composing your songs: That’s what we call royalties. SUISA can collect these royalties for you. Read more
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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.

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

This beating heart

On Tuesday, 25 October 2016, in the evening, his heart stopped beating: Pädu Anliker, the “Master of Ceremony” in the Café/Bar Mokka Thun was 59 years old. For over 30 years, Beat “Pädu” Anliker shaped the venue which started out as a youth centre at the Waisenhausplatz and became one of the most renowned music clubs on Allmendstrasse in Switzerland. Obituary by guest author Christoph Trummer

This beating heart - Obituary Pädu Anliker

Under the leadership of the “Master of Ceremony”, an important concert venue was created in the form of the Café/Bar Mokka in Thun: Pädu Anliker shown in a photo taken on 07 April 2015. (Photo: Chris Iseli / az Aargauer Zeitung)

Since Pädu Anliker’s passing on became known, a wave of emotional obituaries and remembrances of the MC and his incomparable club swept through the internet. The music scene became one family: We have lost our extravagant and controversial favourite uncle. He never cozied up to us, sometimes he scared us, but his incessant work, his cordial hospitality and his confusing and fascinating authenticity were proof enough for how strongly and wildly his heart was beating for us and for the music. Against all the odds, his culture programme never had to make place for a more lucrative party, and with his Festival am Schluss, he placed relevant and often non-conformist music into the middle of a conservative summer in the city.

I was 15 when our band had its first gig outside a school hall during the Mokka-Regionaltonwoche (Mokka regional sound week). 12 years after my first performance there, many Mokka concerts later, I have received my first compliment from MC Anliker. This is how long I was given another chance. Me and so many other musicians from the Oberland, whom he provided with time, a stage and critical input for their development.

Yet Pädu’s Mokka was more than just a music club to us. Generations of people from the Oberland region with a lust for life found a home in this youth centre which was independent from the authorities. The MC influenced the education of our hearts: He was the living proof for self-fulfilment as self-development. “Respect” was written across the entrance. Quiet, when the band is playing! Stop smoking seeds! He argued that 80 Francs for fresh flowers provided a bigger de-escalation than 800 Francs for security.

When it came to his customers and his city, he also never cozied up to anyone. In his legendary programme forewords, he sometimes raged against “3,600 fuckthistown-Thun”, against a consumption-driven audience, without regard for the bourgeois orthography or current marketing rules, which is why we feared as long as 20 years ago that he might stop doing his thing.

But he didn’t. The MC, you could say, simply worked with an open valve. You just had to be prepared for that, even as a performing band. He once swore for a quarter of an hour about the fact that we didn’t just want to use the drums with two microphones, yet at the end of those 15 minutes, everything was miked up. After a great gig we sat backstage, holding a rather relaxed discussion about the types of potatoes in Switzerland. Later on, his eyes lit up when he pulled out a box with flyers and tapes showing us how the entire music prominence from the Oberland had, at some point in time, started their career in some giddy band with an awful name in the Mokka.

Even the city of Thun has made peace with its inconvenient original: On 1 November, MC Anliker would have been awarded the Thunpreis (Award of the city of Thun). And while we will continue to wish he was still there, his heart will keep beating, in his unique club, in our hearts and our music, for which he did so much and where his work left such deep marks. Thank you MC! Respect.

Beat “Pädu” Anliker shaped the Lokal Café/Bar Mokka in Thun (BE) for more than 30 years, throughout its transformation from a youth centre at the Waisenhausplatz to one of the most renowned music clubs on Allmendstrasse in Switzerland. Anliker, with his flamboyant make-up and his glamorous-unconventional fashion was also a city original of Thun. Thousands of national and international bands have played in the Mokka, and some chose Pädu as their event organiser for Thun, when the club had become far too small for them (Element Of Crime, ZüriWest, Patent Ochsner etc.). Over the last 11 years, he has also organised the Festival am Schluss on the Mühleplatz, where bands from all over the world performed for two weeks, from African desert blues to Swiss-German hip hop. Beat Anliker died at the age of 59 because of a cardiac arrest on 25 October 2016. On 1 November 2016, he will be awarded posthumously with the Thunpreis, the most important award granted by the city of Thun.

Guest author Christoph Trummer was born in 1978 and grew up in Frutigen (BE). He has been a member of SUISA since 2002. The singer-songwriter is, apart from his musical activities, also President of the Verein Musikschaffende Schweiz – the Association for creatives in Switzerland.

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  1. Waedi Gysi says:

    Merssiviumal Trummer!
    Schöner Text!

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On Tuesday, 25 October 2016, in the evening, his heart stopped beating: Pädu Anliker, the “Master of Ceremony” in the Café/Bar Mokka Thun was 59 years old. For over 30 years, Beat “Pädu” Anliker shaped the venue which started out as a youth centre at the Waisenhausplatz and became one of the most renowned music clubs on Allmendstrasse in Switzerland. Obituary by guest author Christoph Trummer

This beating heart - Obituary Pädu Anliker

Under the leadership of the “Master of Ceremony”, an important concert venue was created in the form of the Café/Bar Mokka in Thun: Pädu Anliker shown in a photo taken on 07 April 2015. (Photo: Chris Iseli / az Aargauer Zeitung)

Since Pädu Anliker’s passing on became known, a wave of emotional obituaries and remembrances of the MC and his incomparable club swept through the internet. The...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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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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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