Tag Archives: Live music

Hope and commitment

2022 gives rise to hope with regard to overcoming the pandemic and, above all, improving the working situation for our members. Larger concerts should be possible again this summer and the public is showing more interest in attending festivals and concerts once more. Some festivals and events sold out very quickly this spring. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

Hope and commitment

Andreas Wegelin, SUISA CEO. (Photo: Lisa Burth)

The SUISA General Meeting on 17 June 2022 will mark the first opportunity in two years for our members to meet with other members, with SUISA’s Board of Directors, its Executive Committee and staff. If you are a member and entitled to vote, do take advantage of this opportunity and do get involved in our common cause so that we can ensure that authors receive a fair compensation for their work.

Thanks to the commitment of the SUISA staff and the good cooperation with our customers, the music users, the 2021 business year result reflected only a slight decline overall compared to our all-time record of 2019. The biggest drop occurred in live music performances: Since they could not take place, SUISA also recorded less licensing income from this sector. With a great deal of patience and commitment, our employees nevertheless did everything they could to ensure that music uses were licensed as comprehensively as possible. For this, they certainly deserve our thanks on your behalf as well.

Thanks to the commitment among many of you and of politicians, we were also able to fend off an attack on the enforcement of appropriate compensation in more recent times. On 8 March 2022, the Swiss Council of States finally rejected the parliamentary initiative Nantermod. The initiative demanded that hotels should no longer have to pay any fees for broadcasting radio and TV programmes in guest rooms. This would have resulted in authors losing at least 1 million Swiss francs.

What we are concerned about is the war situation in Europe. It cannot and must not be that cultural achievements are destroyed senselessly and that peaceful coexistence among people is rendered impossible. Let us all see to it that music will triumph over barbarism. For our professional colleagues, you can get involved and give them hope through the coordinated #creatorsforUkraine relief campaign via our umbrella organisation CISAC.

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2022 gives rise to hope with regard to overcoming the pandemic and, above all, improving the working situation for our members. Larger concerts should be possible again this summer and the public is showing more interest in attending festivals and concerts once more. Some festivals and events sold out very quickly this spring. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

Hope and commitment

Andreas Wegelin, SUISA CEO. (Photo: Lisa Burth)

The SUISA General Meeting on 17 June 2022 will mark the first opportunity in two years for our members to meet with other members, with SUISA’s Board of Directors, its Executive Committee and staff. If you are a member and entitled to vote, do take advantage of this opportunity and do get involved in our common cause so that we can ensure that authors receive a fair compensation for their...read more

More efficiency and back to a degree of normality

“A crisis is a productive state, you just have to take away the taste of disaster.ˮ This quote from the Swiss author Max Frisch can be referred to as the guideline for SUISAʼs objectives over the past two years. Today, we can establish that: The cooperation with our customers has been strengthened and the efficiency of our services is steadily increasing. 2022 may well bring us all a little more normality again. By Irène Philipp Ziebold, COO

More efficiency and back to a degree of normality

Irène Philipp Ziebold, COO of SUISA. (Photo: Lisa Burth)

2021 – a year that, unfortunately, was still marked by the Covid-19 pandemic. SUISAʼs members as well as its customers continued to face many challenges: Numerous events had to be cancelled or postponed, which had a significant impact on the decline in revenue, particularly in the concert and entertainment event sector.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, SUISA has set itself the goal of supporting members as well as customers as far as possible during this difficult time. The corresponding support measures (advances, Covid-19 emergency fund, Pension Fund) are used and very much appreciated by our members. But also on the part of the organisers our measures (longer payment periods, reductions according to tariff) were positively received.

As such, we can state today that this “togetherness in times of crisisˮ has strengthened cooperation, which can also be seen in SUISAʼs round table discussion with its customers and event partners Christoph Bill (Heitere Events AG and President SMPA) and Alexander Bücheli (Managing Director Bar & Club Commission Zurich) (to be read in the article “Going through times of crisis with strong cooperational partnersˮ on the SUISAblog).

In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has clearly shown us how important efficient services are so that the distribution results can be optimised as best as possible even in the event of a drop in collections. SUISA has been enhancing its online service for years now, especially for music authors and music publishers. Step by step, we are expanding the possibilities for our members to access our services and process their transactions with us online, independent of their time(zone) and location.

SUISA can thus increase its efficiency and consequently distribute more money to authors and publishers of music. With almost 28,000 principals and over 12,000 members entitled to vote, further measures (more on this in the article “New features in member services of SUISAˮ) must be taken in order to achieve the goals that have been set.

For now, we look forward to 2022 with anticipation and hope that the new year will bring a bit more “normalityˮ.

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“A crisis is a productive state, you just have to take away the taste of disaster.ˮ This quote from the Swiss author Max Frisch can be referred to as the guideline for SUISAʼs objectives over the past two years. Today, we can establish that: The cooperation with our customers has been strengthened and the efficiency of our services is steadily increasing. 2022 may well bring us all a little more normality again. By Irène Philipp Ziebold, COO

More efficiency and back to a degree of normality

Irène Philipp Ziebold, COO of SUISA. (Photo: Lisa Burth)

2021 – a year that, unfortunately, was still marked by the Covid-19 pandemic. SUISAʼs members as well as its customers continued to face many challenges: Numerous events had to be cancelled or postponed, which had a significant impact on the decline in revenue, particularly in the concert...read more

Going through times of crisis with strong cooperational partners

At a round table discussion, Christoph Bill and Alexander Bücheli, two representatives of SUISA customers from the promoter and event organising sector, and Irène Philipp Ziebold, SUISA COO, spoke about crisis management during the pandemic. Cooperation with SUISA was also a topic. Presentation and transcript: Markus Ganz, guest author

Going through times of crisis with strong cooperational partners

Round table discussion with Christoph Bill (Heitere Events AG and President SMPA [Swiss Music Promoters Association]), Irène Philipp Ziebold (SUISA COO) and Alexander Bücheli (Managing Director Bar & Club Commission Zurich). (Photos: Manu Leuenberger)

How have you and the companies you represent experienced the COVID-19 crisis so far?

Christoph Bill: As president of the industry association SMPA, I believe it caught all our members on the wrong foot; we were not prepared for such a scenario. But we reacted relatively quickly as an industry, got together, defined immediate measures (e.g. regarding tickets in the event of postponements and cancellations) and continuously discussed the next steps. The rest is history.
Alexander Bücheli: We were also caught on the wrong foot; these were simply conditions and situations that could not be foreseen, let alone anticipated. After that, the associations gained importance for their members; with us, they specifically gained an important function of translating civil servants’ German into the language of our members. Another, moral component occurred in our case: In the pandemic, we realised that we are considered a fun society, that parties have a different reputation compared to festivals or concerts. After the incidents in Ischgl in March 2020, we were made to feel that without us, COVID-19 would not exist; this was also emotionally difficult for our members. And, against this moral question, we are afraid again now that the case numbers are on the rise again: Will there be a call for club closures again?
Irène Philipp Ziebold: Recent times have also been challenging for SUISA. On both sides that we serve, namely that of our members (authorsand publishers) and that of our customers (music users), revenues have declined very quickly and sharply in certain markets. One segment of revenues was hit hard where we had not expected such a decline: in the performing rights, where collections had been rising steadily in recent years, especially in the concert sector, while they had been declining for years in the reproduction sector. As a consequence, we were not prepared for that and could not simply compensate for this with other revenues.
The new situation has also challenged us greatly in providing our services, especially when it comes to giving advice and counsel. But it has also brought about positive sides. Firstly, it showed us that we can see ourselves as a partner to our members and customers, because we acted relatively quickly and took action. And secondly, from an internal perspective: Within two weeks, 90 percent of our employees were working from their home offices. In the process, we also realised that we are technologically capable of continuing to run the company with around 250 employees by working remotely. The changeover was more difficult on a human level, the social element, which has a dynamic effect even in such a large company, and which fell away from one day to the next.

Were there no emergency scenarios in case everything was closing?

Christoph Bill: I have often wondered if we should not have made our members aware of such a potential risk. But such a scenario was very far away, even if it appeared in a few contingency plans. I have also accused myself of this from time to time, but what would we have done differently? We reacted immediately and got involved as an industry in a straightforward manner. By that I don’t just mean the SMPA, in fact we have managed to give a voice to the culture and events industry as a whole. This is a great advantage on the political and media level, and we should have done this a long time ago, now it has just triggered the pandemic. And it turns out that despite the breadth of culture represented, we have a lot of common denominators.

Insurance and streamed concerts

Mr. Bücheli, in the club scene, there have been problems on a small scale for years, such as threatened closures because of drugs and noise complaints – that’s why the Bar & Club Commission Zurich was founded …

Alexander Bücheli: Yes, but the pandemic is a whole different problem because you can’t get a defence counsel against it like you do with noise complaints. And that’s what’s so extreme about it: You just have to grin and bear it. For example, we tried to learn something (regarding virus transmission in bars and clubs) by sending inquiries to the Science Taskforce but to no avail. None of the businesses had contingency plans, but 80 to 90 percent had epidemic or pandemic insurance, but many insurers dodged paying. In Zurich, we were fortunate that many members had participated in a pool solution that covered the pandemic period, even twice: the second lockdown was considered a second claim. This type of insurance was, however, cancelled then by the insurance companies at the end of 2021 – and no longer exists.
We also had no alternatives to just closing like the restaurants: We were not able to offer take-away club nights. We did organise the virtual club festival “Limmatstream” in March 2021, where people could dance through the clubs as avatars. This attracted over 3,000 participants and you could also do video chats with other avatars there. That was kind of great, but couldn’t replace a real club experience. In addition, there was the question of whether people would have been willing to pay 10 to 15 francs for such a virtual experience, which you would need, as an organiser, to get by financially; we offered it for free.
Christoph Bill: Regarding the insurance issue: With our members, it was exactly the other way around; at most, 20 percent had insurance and they usually paid up. But if we look back, the beginning of the pandemic was actually easier because there was a clear ban on major events. As early as at the end of April 2020, we knew that the “Heitere” festival could not take place in August, which is a comfortable situation for organisers in terms of time. All colleagues knew at that time that they would have to postpone their events within a certain period of time. This means a huge effort, but there was a lot of understanding from all sides. Things did, however, get difficult after that, when waiting times for specifications for the subsequent periods were long and there were no clear requirements and information, or they differed from canton to canton. Accordingly, we had to plan at shorter notice and taking different scenarios into account.

Alienation from practice and lack of planability

Alexander Bücheli: This is an important point: There was no clear announcement by the Federal Government. Once you know whether you can remain open or have to close, then you can adapt accordingly. We still had an intermediate phase during which the Zurich cantonal government said you shouldn’t go dancing any more, that the clubs should actually be closed, but they didn’t give us the directive to close. The moral pressure became so great as we had never experienced before; there were even anonymous insults and threats.
Christoph Bill: At that time, I also noticed a lack of practical experience on the part of the authorities, and for a long time also a lack of willingness to engage in dialogue. We also approached many agencies, but they passed the buck to each other and nothing came back to us, it would have been better if they had involved us for comprehensible, practical measures with some lead time. It took so long before we were able to talk to people from the Federal Office of Public Health for the first time! After all, we are the last ones who want to pull off an event at any cost. But we have to have support from the authorities so that we can say in time that an event has to be cancelled or postponed. Roll-over planning out to three months would have been ideal for us. You might be able to open a club from one week to the next, but for a big concert or a festival, you do need this lead time.

So by banning events, you could more or less adjust to a situation. Did this lead to short-time work, lay-offs or even bankruptcies?

Christoph Bill: There has not been a single bankruptcy among our members so far. The aid packages worked quickly and well; we also expressed our thanks for them. But the problems are far from over: Demand is still subdued, for example, and supports are being cut and we are lacking skilled workers. That’s why I’m not so confident in the short term; the moment of truth is yet to come.

Rapid assistance and few redundancies

Alexander Bücheli: The speed of Covid loans and short-time work support: That was very important for us, also how unbureaucratic the process was how it was allocated- a key experience. With regard to the so-called “A-fonds-perdu” money [loans which the lender writes off as bad debt and do not have to be paid back], which is important for survival, it must be said, however, that it took six to eight months before the first amounts were paid out; moreover, they were only compensations for cultural enterprises. We had to do a lot to ensure that clubs were also recognised and compensated as cultural enterprises – and this only succeeded in certain cantons. Businesses that then received hardship funds had to wait over a year for assistance.
Christoph Bill: The cantonal differences in interpretation were also a problem among our members, and continue to be that to this day. Instruments that are in themselves effective, such as the current protective shield for public events, have not been introduced at all in some cantons and are applied very differently in many others. The reserves that you have built up over 20 or 30 years in a business with very thin margins are used up pretty soon. After all, the response to short-time work was very quick and unbureaucratic.
Alexander Bücheli: There were only a few redundancies in our space. It was more like employees were asking to be made redundant because they wanted to work in a different sector. Bankruptcies occurred in companies that were already not doing so well, or those that had just entered the market. Thanks to private and company reserves, there were few bankruptcies.

There have been much fewer concerts in the last 20 months, so one could assume that there was also much less to do at SUISA …

Irène Philipp Ziebold: No dismissals occurred at our company because of COVID-19. In cases where we no longer replaced people, it was for general reasons, mainly because we can automate many simple jobs, that is, replace them with computers. But there was talk about short-time work, precisely with the argumentation of the cancelled concerts. We then took a close look at this. The membership and documentation department as well as the customer service for the media and online area were hit less hard by COVID-19 and we had more work there because many people sought advice and we also set up an emergency fund.
Only the customer service for the performing rights or events had less to do. This provided an opportunity to work through backlogs and staff could be deployed in other departments, such as online, where more work was required due to COVID-19. That’s why we didn’t have to lay anyone off or put them on short-time work contracts because of COVID-19. And if you look at the 2020 operating result, we also achieved a relatively good result in this crisis.

Emergency budget and additional work

Does this also have to do with the fact that SUISA worked with an emergency budget that was adjusted on a rolling basis?

Irène Philipp Ziebold: Absolutely. The Board wanted to know where the journey was headed: Can we reduce costs at the same rate our collections are collapsing? This would only have been possible with a massive reduction in staff. We knew, however, that if we laid people off, they would be missing on day X when business returned to normal. A great deal of expertise needed for these tasks would no longer be available; new employees always need a certain training period. It would therefore have been negligent to lay off many people in such a situation.

How much extra work do organisers have to do due to ever-changing COVID-19 regulations?

Christoph Bill: It is an unbelievable level of additional work that the members of the SMPA have to do because of this, I can also say that from personal experience from the “Heitere” festival. Developing and adapting a number of scenarios, obtaining, negotiating and implementing the permit from the health authorities, drawing up and implementing the precautionary measures, safeguarding against risks, dealing with uncertainty and keeping everyone involved at it was and remains an enormous amount of work for an event organiser, not to mention the additional expenses on site for infrastructure and personnel. At the “Heitere”, we launched a virtual festival in 2021 in addition to the on-site edition, which was a valuable experience, but at the same time also an enormous effort.

What is the situation in neighbouring sectors, such as technicians and security?

Christoph Bill: The shortage of skilled workers is likely to become an increasing problem, on the one hand due to lay-offs that some companies had to announce despite everything. On the other hand, more and more people from these sectors are orienting themselves differently the longer the crisis lasts, even if you would like to keep them. And those who are now working as electricians, for example, will wait a while before returning to the audio engineering profession; they may also have come to appreciate the more regulated working hours.
If anything, the need will be even greater than before, because our members have postponed many events until 2022; this will give a big ramp up of demand at certain times, because the postponed and new events will come together. You have to manage that somehow. And someone has to buy these tickets.
Alexander Bücheli: Early 2022 will be crucial for us, depending also on how pre-Christmas business will fare with corporate events, which in some companies can account for 30 to 50 percent of annual sales.

A single voice and rapid response

How important was it that various associations got together early on to have a single voice, especially with the federal government?

Christoph Bill: That was absolutely crucial. Even though there was no real dialogue for a long time, many of our messages got through faster than we felt they did. What was implemented was largely in the right direction. It was important to bring together the voices from the cultural and event sectors instead of rushing forward individually. It is enormously important, especially for politicians, that they are not bombarded with statements from all sides, but that there is a lowest common denominator – that is what we have always been looking for. As an association, we suddenly played a bigger and more visible role. We have already created a climate of openness and togetherness over the last six to ten years. We were able to build on that.

How has SUISA’s position changed during this time of crisis?

Irène Philipp Ziebold: On the side of our members and publishers, we were strengthened because we were there for them and did not disappear into short-time work. Advice and counsel were immensely important to the members. We continued to do our job to generate money – the 2020 financial statements show that we did not do badly. We have also created an emergency fund, where we are still a bit more pragmatic, especially in contrast to certain federal support measures. We are neither superficial nor negligent, but we ask for less information and can therefore provide certain support more quickly. We have also changed our advance payment rules, made them more generous, but always weighing up the risk. We also have a Pension Fund for authors and publishers that provides support as well. In other words, we acted, and this has once again strengthened our standing among our members.

And among the customers?

Irène Philipp Ziebold: There, too, we reacted very quickly and also took measures that we would not have had to take, such as extending payment deadlines and suspending reminders. We were quite agile and acted in a cooperative way on that. This has brought us a lot of goodwill.

And what about one single voice?

Irène Philipp Ziebold: Here I can refer to the Swiss Music Council. As its member, we are well represented in the “Taskforce Culture”. For the first time, organisers and members have come to the same table with the same demand with a single voice, so to speak, and this has also worked well with politics. The “Taskforce Culture” was able to exert a certain influence and was involved in discussions with Federal Councillor Berset. It was and remains a success that should be carried forward.

Uncomplicated solutions and delayed normalisation

How do the organisers rate the crisis cooperation with SUISA?

Christoph Bill: Even if it has affected SMPA members less, SUISA has found quick and straightforward solutions in some areas. Thank you, my compliments! The dialogue with us as an association was already good before, but it got even better. We felt there was an awareness of being in the same boat. And it also became clear that the future can only be mastered together and that perhaps new paths must be followed.
Alexander Bücheli: It was a bit like the “Taskforce Culture”. We wrote to SUISA at the beginning because we have the problem that clubs pay invoices on a quarterly basis and not on the basis of events that take place. SUISA has found a very straightforward solution for which we are very grateful. Regardless of COVID-19, we should increasingly try to understand each other and also meet [face to face]. And it’s a good sign that none of our members have complained to me about SUISA since the pandemic, so it’s working.

What are the expectations for normalisation of the situation, has there been a pent-up need among the public for events?

Christoph Bill: This still feels like looking into the crystal ball for me. No, I don’t think there’s a lot that has been pent up there. Many people will only slowly and hesitantly return to concerts and festivals. This is reflected in the fact that, with a few exceptions, demand for our members’ events is 20 to 30 percent lower than usual and that a higher proportion of guests who have a ticket do not show up. This delay must be considered in addition to the lead time required for organising the events: We are trying to get live operations going again. But we can’t just pull the lever. This will probably also require start-up support and instruments such as SUISA continuing to extend payment deadlines.

The roundtable discussion was held on 12 November 2021. The participants were: Christoph Bill, Heitere Events AG and SMPA President(Swiss Music Promoters Association); Alexander Bücheli, Managing Director Bar & Club Commission Zurich; Irène Philipp Ziebold, SUISA COO and Vice President Swiss Music Council.

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At a round table discussion, Christoph Bill and Alexander Bücheli, two representatives of SUISA customers from the promoter and event organising sector, and Irène Philipp Ziebold, SUISA COO, spoke about crisis management during the pandemic. Cooperation with SUISA was also a topic. Presentation and transcript: Markus Ganz, guest author

Going through times of crisis with strong cooperational partners

Round table discussion with Christoph Bill (Heitere Events AG and President SMPA [Swiss Music Promoters Association]), Irène Philipp Ziebold (SUISA COO) and Alexander Bücheli (Managing Director Bar & Club Commission Zurich). (Photos: Manu Leuenberger)

How have you and the companies you represent experienced the COVID-19 crisis so far?

Christoph Bill: As president of the industry association SMPA, I believe it caught all our members on the wrong foot; we were not prepared for such a scenario. But we reacted relatively quickly as an industry, got together,...read more

SUISA and the Covid-19 crisis

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

SUISA and the Covid-19 crisis

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

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

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

Financial losses and unpredictability

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

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

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

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

Relief measures for rights owners

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

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

Lobbying

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

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

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

Manage from a distance and work remotely

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

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

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

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

More self-service – process automation

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

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

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

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

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

SUISA and the Covid-19 crisis

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

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The sound of the mountain

For the first time ever, the Floating Notes Festival will be held at the San Bernardino in Graubünden this year. Floating Notes is all about experimental music. In this blog, festival organisers and performers describe how the unique landscape is influencing music and the performances. SUISA is a sponsoring partner of the festival. Guest contribution by Elena Rotondi

Floating Notes Festival: The sound of the mountain

The Floating Notes Festival is going to take place from 23 to 25 July 2021 in Mesocco near the San Bernardino. (Photo: Sebastiano Piattini)

Kety Fusco, founder and programme director of the Floating Notes Festival has a rather specific idea what the heartbeat of her festival is going to be: The performers are going to engage in experimental and unpublished sound research that adapts to the place of the performance, taking into consideration their own artistic and musical backgrounds, and that will make it impossible to separate the content of the performance from the place where it has been created. As a consequence, the Floating Notes Festival is going to be completely new event because music and venue will be brought together in a unique performance. Kety Fusco will launch the opening night of the festival at the spring of the San Bernardino (GR) with her electronic harp on Friday, 23 July.

This, she tells us, shall be the manifest of the idea which stands behind the festival: the desire to unite the aesthetics and history of the San Bernardino, to revive a place which has, historically, always been a point of attraction for international travellers and which still pulls many visitors thanks to the untouched beauty you can still find in some places. All of this with a view to the future with the atmospheric, innovative and experimental music which is going to populate the environment and fill it with new meaning.

The performers appearing in the programme have been asked how the creative process was influencing their preparation for the festival and their performance on stage. Camilla Sparksss who is going to perform in the Fonte Minerale in the evening, tells us how she is experimenting with a live set specially for the Floating Notes Festival: “Sounds are created which, in my view, come rather close to the sound of the mountain and its gravitas, with its echoes and its dangers. It is going to be a performance which could be perceived as very experimental by people. But you just have to close your eyes and imagine a journey into the interior of the rocks in order to become one with the mountains.”

It is also interesting how Adriano Koch, a young musician, who is going to conclude the evening on Friday, 23 July, links his appearance to the place where he is going to perform: “It is always motivating to see how a place or a venue can change the energy and the artistic message of a song. As such, it is important to me to record a performance in order to preserve this special moment which will never happen again.”

This festival in Graubünden could not continue without the present of the pioneer of instrumental and sound research: The next day, Saturday 24 July, Simon Berz is going to perform a live concert with stones on the San Bernardino pass. The musician explains: “I have created my instrument TECTONIC from volcanic sound stones which I found in Iceland. The stones are now going to sound in another ‘stone room’, the one in San Bernardino.”

The Floating Notes Festival also excels by an event which connects music and body: a guided meditation by Keri Gonzato who will be accompanied with music by Federica Furlani, alias Effe Effe, played back from a sound recording. A soundscape, just made for meditation at more than 2,000 metres above sea level.

The soundtrack of the festival will be premièred on Saturday, 24 July. Ticino-based musician Chiara Dubey has been commissioned with the soundtrack. She describes the creative process of her composition as follows: “In the beginning, there was the idea that I would probably be inspired by the sounds of natural elements into which I would delve into upon my arrival at the San Bernardino. For example, the rustle of the fir trees or the lapping of the water. Since this concert is my first pre-taste of the mountains after a weird year of communal solitude and deafening silence, I decided that I would look inwards for this piece: I was listening to my thoughts and it seemed as if I was finding an old friend again after a long time. I am sure that I was not the only one who had this experience. And I hope that both for me and all attendees it will be liberating to let this song, ‘Stranger’ rumble in the night of the festival, also because our stage will be surrounded by a spectacular mountainous landscape, by a raw, natural, free beauty.”

The closing act of Saturday evening will be Peter Kernel, a well-known duo from Ticino that will be part of the festival in an unusual context and with an equally unusual performance. As such, Aris Bassetti and Barbara Lehnhoff are not going to perform as a typical rock band but prepare an exclusive DJ set which consists of music from the past and will lead us into the future so that it best resonates in the crevices of the surrounding mountains: “For us, it is a central issue to create a certain connection with the audience; we must understand each other in order to create an unforgettable experience. For Floating Notes, we decided to do something exclusive, something that we usually don’t do. We will not perform a normal concert but an experimental DJ set. We will play music which somehow fits well into the context of the mountains and fresh air and we will try to mix it in our own way.”

The Floating Notes Festival is going to take place from 23 to 25 July 2021 in Mesocco (GR) near the San Bernardino. Swiss artists Kety Fusco, Camilla Sparksss, Chiara Dubey, Leoni Leoni, Peter Kernel and Adriano Koch, Federica Furlani (Effe Effe) from Italy and the Icelandic musician Simon Berz are going to perform at the festival. There will also be a guided meditation by Keri Gonzato. Further information can be accessed at www.facebook.com/floatingnotesfestival.
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For the first time ever, the Floating Notes Festival will be held at the San Bernardino in Graubünden this year. Floating Notes is all about experimental music. In this blog, festival organisers and performers describe how the unique landscape is influencing music and the performances. SUISA is a sponsoring partner of the festival. Guest contribution by Elena Rotondi

Floating Notes Festival: The sound of the mountain

The Floating Notes Festival is going to take place from 23 to 25 July 2021 in Mesocco near the San Bernardino. (Photo: Sebastiano Piattini)

Kety Fusco, founder and programme director of the Floating Notes Festival has a rather specific idea what the heartbeat of her festival is going to be: The performers are going to engage in experimental and unpublished sound research that adapts to the place of the performance, taking into consideration their own...read more

Livestream licensing by SUISA

Driven by the pandemic, livestreaming of the most varied forms of events has grown in significance. Thanks to this technology, it is possible to share an event with a virtual audience despite the applicable bans and restrictions. This article outlines SUISA’s licensing practice and terms and conditions for livestreams. Text by Martin Korrodi

Livestream licensing by SUISA

A concert in your living room: organisers who air an event with music in real time over the internet must register and license the livestream with SUISA. (Photo: Scharfsinn / Shutterstock.com)

During the pandemic, dance and fitness courses, religious services, general meetings, and ever more concerts were recorded on the internet and aired as livestreams in replacement of disallowed live events. In October 2020, a virtual concert of the South Korean boy-group BTS attracted over 900,000 fans worldwide and brought in revenues of USD 44m.

These online events regularly fuel debate in the media, as well as between music creators and, naturally, the organisers of livestreaming events. More often than not, discussions revolve around the licensing terms and conditions for the necessary livestreaming rights.

What is a livestream?

A livestream is an event that is aired individually and in real time over the internet. The audience can log in at the start of the event and follow the event live – for free or for a fee. Livestreams should be distinguished from on-demand offers where spectators can choose to view the content at the time of their choice. Moreover, a livestream is not a broadcast, where contents are also transmitted in real time, but as programmes in a succession of broadcasts and not as individual events. A livestreaming licence is required for any individual event that is simultaneously recorded and streamed over the internet where the audience cannot freely choose when to view it.

Livestream licensing conditions are based on performance tariffs

Since streamed events are generally events that could just as well be staged live in the presence of an audience or performed by way of replacement for such events, the licensing terms are based on the terms and conditions of the relevant performance tariffs. Accordingly, the same percentage rate will apply to a streamed concert as that applied to a concert performed with a physical audience under Common Tariff K (CT K). Proceeding by analogy with the performance tariffs ensures that organisers of virtual and physical concerts are treated on an equal footing since their events tend to be reciprocal substitutes.

Licensing conditions distinguish between different categories: concerts, DJ sets, shows and ballet performances, and theatrical plays. The relevant rate is applied to revenues or costs as provided in the performance tariffs (CT K and CT Hb). Also in accordance with the latter, rates are adjusted proportionately with the duration of the protected music used (pro rata temporis rule). In addition to these categories, other classes of events, such as sports events, evening entertainment, seminars, religious services, events in homes and hospitals, etc. are grouped under “other events” – in this case, a flat rate of 2% of gross revenues or costs is applied.

If revenues are less than the gross cost, or if there are no revenues, the above rates are applied to total costs. As in the case of the performance tariffs, music-related gross costs are deducted. These costs consist of the following: musicians’ fees and expenses, rental of sound and recording equipment (microphones, mixing console, camera, etc.), instrument rental, and rent for the location.

Events with an audience that are additionally streamed

Live events are often staged with a small physical audience and simultaneously aired over the internet to extend their reach. In such cases, the organiser will need a “normal” licence for the performance rights and an additional licence for the livestream. As a rule, this means that, in addition to the fees charged under the performance tariff, the minimum fee CHF 40 will be charged for the livestream, since the revenues or costs of the event are already taken into account in the performance licensing fee. However, if the livestream generates separate revenues, the licence fees for the livestream will be charged on that basis.

Viewing streams after the live event

Many livestream organisers leave recordings of the stream on the internet for a certain period time after the live event; these recordings can be subsequently called up and viewed by people who missed the livestream at the official time. Provided the livestream was properly declared and licensed, SUISA allows it to be stored for subsequent viewing for a flat fee of CHF 100 in the case of concerts and DJ sets – for all other types of events the flat fee is CHF 50.

What rights are covered by the licence?

For organisers established in Switzerland or Liechtenstein whose streams are primarily intended for a domestic (Switzerland and Liechtenstein) audience, SUISA can licence the rights for the world repertoire. In the case of international organisers whose streams are intended for audiences including Switzerland and Liechtenstein, SUISA can licence the world repertoire for uses in our territory; in this case, the licence fees will be calculated only on the basis of the sales realised in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

In the livestream area, SUISA only manages authors’ musical copyrights. For all other rights, e.g. neighbouring rights or synchronisation rights, users should contact the relevant rightholders.

Livestreams with music must be registered with SUISA

Please refer to our website for the licensing terms and conditions, application form, and further information about livestreams:
www.suisa.ch/en/customers/online/video/live-streams.html

To complete your application, the following information is required:

  • customer’s contact particulars
  • category of the livestream
  • livestream particulars title, duration, date, website URL, number of views
  • total revenues
  • (gross) costs
  • Will the event be recorded and stored for subsequent viewing? (yes/no)
  • list of musical works contained in the livestream

A licence is also required for livestreams produced via an external platform and embedded on your own website (e.g. Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Youtube Live or Twitch).

The rules governing current temporary exceptions in the livestream area proceeding from federal measures to combat the corona pandemic are also published on our website:
www.suisa.ch/en/suisa/measures-corona-pandemic/information-for-customers.html

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Driven by the pandemic, livestreaming of the most varied forms of events has grown in significance. Thanks to this technology, it is possible to share an event with a virtual audience despite the applicable bans and restrictions. This article outlines SUISA’s licensing practice and terms and conditions for livestreams. Text by Martin Korrodi

Livestream licensing by SUISA

A concert in your living room: organisers who air an event with music in real time over the internet must register and license the livestream with SUISA. (Photo: Scharfsinn / Shutterstock.com)

During the pandemic, dance and fitness courses, religious services, general meetings, and ever more concerts were recorded on the internet and aired as livestreams in replacement of disallowed live events. In October 2020, a virtual concert of the South Korean boy-group BTS attracted over 900,000 fans worldwide and brought...read more

A worthy result despite Covid

2020 was an annus horribilis for many music creators. Concerts and other events were by and large prohibited. Most organisers, artists and authors thus lost a large part of their income. Thanks to the good performance in other areas and to its prompt action, SUISA managed to contain the financial damage for many entitled parties. Text by Andreas Wegelin

A worthy result despite COVID

Concerts were hardly possible from February 2020 onwards. However, thanks to an increase in the online sector, SUISA’s annual result turned out relatively good. (Photo: Oleksii Synelnykov / Shutterstock)

After being hit by the Covid pandemic, the world went into a state of shock. The pandemic impacted – and continues to impact – large segments of the economy. The cultural sector, and music creators as part of it, were hit especially hard. “First to close, last to open”. Creators and organisers were the first to be affected by the shutdowns and restrictions, and they will be the last able to fully resume their work.

Needless to say, the difficult situation for the cultural sector also affected SUISA’s annual results. After all, in the past, performance rights, i.e. revenues from concerts and other performances, music usage in businesses and restaurants, and music for parties, accounted for 35% of SUISA’s rights administration revenues. After nearly all events were prohibited in March 2020, it was clear that SUISA’s revenues – especially from performance rights – would fall short of the prior year’s. It was hard to predict, however, how steep the downturn would be, and whether revenues from other rights would also be adversely affected.

The steep downturn in revenues from performance rights was partially compensated by other rights revenues

As it fortunately turned out, SUISA’s turnover was less severely impacted than had been feared. Last year, SUISA recorded total revenues, domestic and international, of CHF 138.5m: this is 12% less than the prior year (CHF 155.2m). As expected, the shortfall in performance rights accounted for greater part of the downturn: while in 2019, revenues from performance rights had attained CHF 51.2m, in 2020 they only reached CHF 34.4m, i.e. 34% less.

SUISA managed to make up for this shortfall in other areas. Revenues from broadcasting rights increased slightly – from CHF 63.6m in 2019 to CHF 64.3m in 2020. Downturns that had been feared, for example in advertising revenues from TV and radio broadcasts following the cancellation of many large events, failed to materialise.

Positive trend in online business thanks to SUISA Digital Licensing and Mint

The trend in revenues from online uses was extremely positive: online revenues climbed from CHF 8.8m in 2019 to CHF 11.4m last year. This was especially thanks to the growth in revenues realised by SUISA’s subsidiary SUISA Digital Licensing. The latter succeeded in acquiring a number of new customers including foreign sister societies and music publishers, and also managed to negotiate improved contract terms with online providers of streaming and downloading platforms.

This satisfactory development in the online area is all to the benefit of the authors and publishers whose works are increasingly streamed on the various platforms. Even Mint, the joint venture with the US society SESAC, continued its expansion last year as a provider of services to various music publishers and foreign sister societies.

SUISA has responded to the crisis

The fact that, from the outset of the pandemic, SUISA responded promptly – with a view to cutting costs on the one hand, and to distributing as much as possible to authors and publishers on the other – also contributed to the relatively good year.

Projects that were not urgent were deferred or even cancelled and, wherever possible, staff departures were not replaced. Certain expenditures, such as sponsoring contributions and travel expenses, disappeared anyway because of the pandemic. And SUISA did everything possible to invoice all and every use of music – including those pertaining to prior years – and collect the revenues. At a time when nearly all performances have been barred, the royalties from SUISA are more important than ever for many music creators.

Supplemental distributions from released settlement liabilities

In 2021, SUISA was again able to allocate a supplemental distribution of 7% on all settlement amounts from the released provisions for settlement liabilities which could not be distributed after five years in absence of the necessary information on the entitled parties.

Understanding for customers

Its efforts to collect the greatest amount in revenues does not mean, however, that SUISA is blind to the circumstances of its customers. On the contrary: precisely in the case of the inns and restaurants which were severely affected by the shutdowns ordered by the authorities, SUISA demonstrated goodwill with regard to invoice payments, granting extended payment terms for example, and permitted refunds to customers who had made down payments but had no music usage in the period. Ultimately, it is in the interest of SUISA and its members to ensure that businesses, organisers, and other music users survive and continue to use music. After all, there will be a time after the Covid-pandemic, and SUISA must do its utmost to ensure that, in that future, it can continue to distribute the largest possible amount in royalties to the authors and publishers of music.

SUISA’s detailed 2020 results can be found in the 2020 Annual Report, in which this article (on pages 9/10) also appeared: www.suisa.ch/annualreport

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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.

2020 was an annus horribilis for many music creators. Concerts and other events were by and large prohibited. Most organisers, artists and authors thus lost a large part of their income. Thanks to the good performance in other areas and to its prompt action, SUISA managed to contain the financial damage for many entitled parties. Text by Andreas Wegelin

A worthy result despite COVID

Concerts were hardly possible from February 2020 onwards. However, thanks to an increase in the online sector, SUISA’s annual result turned out relatively good. (Photo: Oleksii Synelnykov / Shutterstock)

After being hit by the Covid pandemic, the world went into a state of shock. The pandemic impacted – and continues to impact – large segments of the economy. The cultural sector, and music creators as part of it, were hit especially hard. “First to...read more

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 and culture are part of your daily needs – it’s not enough to just open the food shops!Music and culture are part of your daily needs – it’s not enough to just open the food shops! A year ago, on 28 February 2020, the first restrictions for cultural events were adopted. Initially events were limited to 1,000 people, then the first lockdown occurred in mid-March. Thanks to precautionary measures, small rule relaxations were granted in the summer, but they were gradually reversed in autumn. Since mid-January 2021, we have been stuck in the second lockdown: without music events, without access to real – non-virtual – cultural experiences. Read more
Videos with music on the internet: New offer for small enterprisesVideos with music on the internet: New offer for small enterprises Until now, enterprises and individuals had to license each video with music on their websites and social media channels individually at SUISA. From November 2019 onwards, SUISA and its partner Audion GmbH offer an annual lump sum for online usage of music in web videos to small enterprises. Read more
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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

Ghost Festival – The big silence

The Ghost Festival, the biggest concert event ever to be held in Switzerland will take place over the next weekend. The line-up includes around 300 bands and artists. However: There are neither performances, nor music or light shows. The Ghost Festival which was conceptualised as an initiative of solidarity for the Swiss music scene, is emblematic for the disastrous situation creators and artists find themselves in during the corona crisis. SUISA supports the festival as a sponsor. It had a video interview with Baldy Minder, the co-organiser of the festival regarding the facts behind the non-festival. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Nina Müller

The line-up of the Ghost Festival makes the heart of every Swiss pop and rock music fan beat faster: Established names such as Stephan Eicher, Patent Ochsner or Dodo are lined up next to the “young and wild ones” such as Crème Solaire, Annie Taylor or KT Gorique. Unfortunately, you will not get much more than their names. Music is something you will not find at this event, nor will there be brilliant live shows or the usual festival feeling with tents, catering stalls and queuing in front of mobile toilets.

The Ghost Festival is “the festival that does not take place”. It is not going to take place over the weekend of 27/28 February 2021.

Ghost matches in football were the inspiration for the Ghost Festival

Brought to life by a few Berne music lovers, the Ghost Club, the Ghost Festival is an initiative of solidarity for Swiss music creators and performers.  Baldy Minder, booker and manager of acts such as the Bern Hip-Hop-Kollektiv Chlyklass or the female rapper 11Ä is a member of the Ghost Club. In the backstage area of the Zurich concert venue “Exil”, he told us during the video interview what the basic idea of the Ghost Festival is: “There are ghost matches in football. And as a supportive football fan, you show your solidarity these days by renewing your season ticket even though the future is uncertain. And that is how the idea for the Ghost Festival came about.”

Music fans can buy tickets for the festival as follows: A one-day pass for CHF 20, a two-day pass for CHF 50 or a VIP ticket for CHF 100. And because it does not take place, the tickets are never sold out. Furthermore, there is a broad range of Ghost Festival merchandise from T-shirts to hats and caps or hoodies and jackets. The income thus made will be paid through to the artists as well as their bookers, light and sound engineers and others. This kind of money is more than just a nice little top up: In the current situation, the most important source of income for most of the music creators and artists – in the broadest sense – drops out: concerts. And this situation has been ongoing, apart from a few short periods of relief in the summer of 2020, for one year now. And an improvement is not in sight.

A hole of more than CHF 50,000 in the financial ledgers of the authors and publishers of music

This is also reflected at SUISA when it comes to the collections from performing rights which include concerts and festivals, among others. Based on the example of the Ghost Festival, this can be well demonstrated: Around 15,000 tickets have been sold so far for the festival. If this was a normal event, where artists perform their songs, the composers, lyricists and publishers of the performed works would receive more than CHF 50,000 in royalties. Since no music is played, this kind of income simply drop off.

Around 400 festivals take place in Switzerland each year, the country with the largest festival density worldwide. Most of these festivals had to be cancelled due to the corona pandemic last year. As a consequence, SUISA’s income for copyright arising from concerts in 2020 were more than 50% lower than in the previous year. In absolute figures, this is, compared to 2019, CHF 12m less which will be paid out to the music creators in 2020 from concert income. And this detrimental situation is going to last well into 2021 and probably also into 2022.

An initiative of solidarity also aimed at bookers, sound engineers, roadies and other participants

And these are only the collections for those who composed or wrote the lyrics to musical works or are in the publishing business. For musicians, there is also the loss of gig fees, which are usually much higher than the copyright royalties. Concert and festival cancellations are not just problematic for musicians: The crisis which has now been going on for about a year has also affected the people that make such a festival and concerts possible in general: Bookers, sound and light engineers, roadies, tour managers, merchandise salespeople, security staff or of course the concert promoters themselves.

“The idea is that it is not just the bands who benefit but also that there is a holistic promotion and support for people who work in this sector”, says Baldy Minder. “When bands are on the road, they have a tour manager, a light engineer or a sound engineer; bands who travel with instruments have stage hands who help to carry all the equipment. There are an awful lot of people involved who currently have very little to do, unfortunately, and thus much less income.”

100% of the ticket sales go to the music creators

That is why the artists and bands could name two additional people from their entourage who should also benefit from the income generated by the Ghost Festival. In total, this is about 1,300 people. “The collected monies will be distributed on a per capita basis and not on a per-band basis”, explains Baldy Minder. While 100% of the income from ticket and merchandising sales flow to music creators, a part of the sponsorship funds will be used to pay for the work of the organisers. “The partnerships enable us to pay our salaries”, says Baldy Minder.  And adds: “Whatever remains of the sponsorship funds will be allocated to the artists.”

One of the biggest challenges for the organisers was time management: The idea came about at the end of November 2020. There were just three months to carve out the biggest festival in Switzerland. Even if there are no performances in the end, there are some parallels between organising a ghost festival and a real festival, as Baldy Minder explains: “A major part is rather similar to a real festival. You have to make a booking, you initiate the entire promotion, social media and press campaign. You have a lot of contact with the bands. What you don’t have is the entire infrastructure. You do not have to build a fence, set up a stage and we do not have to organise a PA company. We also do not need security. We do not need to pay SUISA fees since nothing is going to happen from a copyright perspective, after all, you won’t hear a peep at the festival.”

Ghost sounds, if anything

The event organisers have also intentionally renounced on organising streaming concerts for the weekend. Baldy Minder says: “Many people are asking for streams, but no, there will simply be nothing this time, no music. It is now finally the time where you can lean back and give back.”

For the audience of the Ghost Festival that does not want the sounds of silence and is missing the music, there will be something to listen to after all, even if it is no music: “We will release an album. It won’t be a compilation but an album as “The Ghost Orchestra”, announces Baldy Minder. It will be released on 26/2/21, one day ahead of the festival.” It is going to be released as a CD – with a clear idea behind it, as Baldy Minder explains: “The CD is totally anti-cyclical, a little bit of a ghost which is slowly vanishing.” Most of the bands from the line-up will be included on the mysterious CD. And they are artists from all language regions of Switzerland. After all, the Covid-19 pandemic affects music creators across all of Switzerland.

SUISA is a partner of the Ghost Festival
The Covid-19 crisis heavily affects SUISA members. For that reason, SUISA acts as a sponsoring partner of the Ghost Festival, not just the Cooperative Society itself but also its staff members. Each ticket that is bought by the SUISA staff will be enhanced in value by the company: Each one-day ticket will be upgraded to a two-day ticket, each two-day ticket will be upgraded to a VIP ticket and for each sold VIP ticket the staff receive a second VIP ticket.Above and beyond that, SUISA will be reporting from the festival on the festival weekend and talk to some artists and organisers. More info will be available in the coming days on www.instagram.com/suisamusicstories.

 

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The Ghost Festival, the biggest concert event ever to be held in Switzerland will take place over the next weekend. The line-up includes around 300 bands and artists. However: There are neither performances, nor music or light shows. The Ghost Festival which was conceptualised as an initiative of solidarity for the Swiss music scene, is emblematic for the disastrous situation creators and artists find themselves in during the corona crisis. SUISA supports the festival as a sponsor. It had a video interview with Baldy Minder, the co-organiser of the festival regarding the facts behind the non-festival. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Nina Müller

The line-up of the Ghost Festival makes the heart of every Swiss pop and rock music fan beat faster: Established names such as Stephan Eicher, Patent Ochsner or...read more

Music and culture are part of your daily needs – it’s not enough to just open the food shops!

A year ago, on 28 February 2020, the first restrictions for cultural events were adopted. Initially events were limited to 1,000 people, then the first lockdown occurred in mid-March. Thanks to precautionary measures, small rule relaxations were granted in the summer, but they were gradually reversed in autumn. Since mid-January 2021, we have been stuck in the second lockdown: without music events, without access to real – non-virtual – cultural experiences. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

Music and culture are part of your daily needs – it’s not enough to just open the food shops!

Andreas Wegelin, SUISA CEO, considers the arts and culture as an essential staple for the cohesion of a society. (Photo: Beat Felber)

In order to stop or at least slow down the spread of the virus, the authorities initiated drastic measures. In principle, service ranges outside your daily needs can only be accessed with difficulty, or they are no longer permitted altogether.

But what is that actually, “daily needs”? Who defines them?

The daily needs of people also include things that they can enjoy intellectually! Attending a concert, going to the cinema or visiting an exhibition: Why have museums been closed, when, in fact, exhibitions rarely have to fend off crowds of visitors, except maybe in the case of blockbuster special exhibitions? Why do cabarets and small stages have to keep their doors shut? They could provide Swiss artists with the opportunity to perform and, at the same time, delight a small but certainly grateful audience.

A concert streamed on the internet is no replacement for live events. There is no interaction, no joint experience of an artistic performance which leads to a cross-fertilisation of both sides, performers and audience, that actually makes a concert the memorable occasion it should be.

Meanwhile, concerts with no audiences are organised such as the “ghost festival”: A festival with about 300 bands, with nearly 1,300 music creators including technicians, engineers, bookers, managers and other parties contributing, which actually does not take place simply because nobody can go there. SUISA does support such a “non-festival” with sponsoring but also via ticket sales by its staff.

Cultural and creative industries are relevant

Many event organisers and promoters had worked out reliable precautionary and protective measures in the summer months of 2020 and implemented them with additional costs that were not always insignificant. Now, they are virtually facing an occupational ban. Practically nothing has been permitted any more for a total period of more than six months . The corona bans and prohibitions led to huge financial losses. The Confederation and the cantons may have adopted support programmes, but they have not been well adapted to the situation of the many freelance artists and the event organisers or promoters who are sole traders.

Where does the low regard for the cultural sector stem from?

There is obviously no cultural awareness among the decision makers in politics and administration. Despite a new study of Ernst & Young (EY) showing that the cultural sector is in fourth place regarding the number of employees in Europe: www.rebuilding-europe.eu

We therefore call upon persons with political and administrative control and institutions alike: Culture is vital! It is an essential staple for the cohesion of a society. Allow it to flourish, even in times of a lockdown! It delights people, gives them a perspective beyond the pandemic and particularly gives the artists a livelihood.

Create more differentiated rules: Small events and events with a reduced audience size must be possible, just like open museums, cultural venues, where interested people and artists can meet and experience something together, naturally in compliance with the health regulations. Such places are just as important for society and everyday life as shops where you can buy your everyday provisions. Scientific research has proven that no increased danger exists at cultural events with good precautionary measures with regards to a further spread of the corona virus: more information on this can be read in the study on aerosoles of the Fraunhofer Institute at the Konzerthaus Dortmund (Dortmund Concert Hall) and the closing report of the trial operations of the Bayerische Staatsoper (Bavarian State Opera) with increased audience numbers.

Anchoring cultural awareness more firmly

The corona crisis has revealed something else with respect to culture: Only after events were prohibited and thus disappeared, many have become aware how important culture and entertainment is for us humans and how uplifting cultural exchange between artistic creators and the audience is for both sides.

This cultural awareness should become anchored among the Swiss population more firmly. Starting with education: Young people should be led to the arts through education and through enabling access to cultural achievements. While a few things have been accomplished via the Initiative Jugend & Musik (Youth & Music) there is still a lot to be done, in particular in the other creative genres than just music.

Society’s interest in music, the visual arts, film, literature, dance and performance arts is expanded by stimulating personal creation and promoting the facilitation of current artistic production and artistic heritage. The more people come into contact with artistic forms of expression, the more the need for art and culture will grow. Which ultimately leads to society demanding in a more sustainable manner that this need is satisfied and the necessary conditions for that are created and provided.

A joint strong voice for culture is necessary

In order to increase and more firmly anchor the need for art and culture, the cultural institutions of this country must get together and jointly and more vehemently demand and promote the dissemination of cultural creation.

The “Taskforce Culture” is a joint strong voice which has been heard for the first time during the pandemic. Over the last few months, this task force has, as a discussion partner for politicians and officials, already managed rather well to gather and bundle the forces from the most diverse cultural genres, from artist associations to event organisers and cultural mediators and to stand up for culturally specific concerns. The message has, after all, not hit home with everyone that artistic creation has different requirements to working in many production or service sectors.

A fusion of cultural institutions and associations which, similarly to the large trade associations and workers’ organisations, can take on an important role as a contact for societal and political developments in Switzerland. Such a strong, joint voice for culture is going to get additional relevance in the coming months and years. The public sector will have to make extremely drastic spending cuts because the national economy has suffered and continues to suffer from immense damage due to the fight against the pandemic by way of prohibitions and bans. Future tax collections will decrease while the national debt will increase due to the support measures.

How quickly the savings lever has been applied to culture and education sectors first during financially difficult situations is something we have witnessed already. Together, cultural associations and institutions can raise their voice and see to it that, in the mid- to long-term, the societal and political significance of art and culture is strengthened and respected. For artistic forms of expression and the access to them must of course be recognised as a basic need of people. You cannot and you must not lock them away.

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  1. Markus Hefti says:

    Unverhältnismässige und existenzbedrohende Beschlüsse „ unserer „
    Politiker schüren das Unverständnis in der Bevölkerung. Aber da sie nie für ihre Fehler
    zur Rechenschaft gezogen werden ist es ihnen scheinbar Egal ☹️

    • Danke für Ihren Kommentar. Dass es Massnahmen gegen die Covid-19-Pandemie braucht, stellen wir nicht in Frage. Es braucht allerdings differenziertere Massnahmen, die gewisse Wirtschaftszweige gegenüber anderen nicht benachteiligen.
      Andreas Wegelin, SUISA CEO

      • Ndiaye says:

        Une contribution de haute facture . La culture inspire de belles ouvertures au monde .
        Alassane ndiaye membre Suisa Sénégal

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 year ago, on 28 February 2020, the first restrictions for cultural events were adopted. Initially events were limited to 1,000 people, then the first lockdown occurred in mid-March. Thanks to precautionary measures, small rule relaxations were granted in the summer, but they were gradually reversed in autumn. Since mid-January 2021, we have been stuck in the second lockdown: without music events, without access to real – non-virtual – cultural experiences. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

Music and culture are part of your daily needs – it’s not enough to just open the food shops!

Andreas Wegelin, SUISA CEO, considers the arts and culture as an essential staple for the cohesion of a society. (Photo: Beat Felber)

In order to stop or at least slow down the spread of the virus, the authorities initiated drastic measures. In principle, service ranges outside your daily needs can only be accessed with difficulty, or they are...read more