Tag Archives: Mint Digital Services

Positive figures for the 2018 financial year to date

The Board meeting held the day before the General Assembly in June 2018 had a multi-layered agenda to handle. In addition to preparing for the General Assembly, the meeting also reviewed the course of business for the year to date. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Positive figures for the 2018 financial year to date

Satisfactory revenue and distribution results for composers, lyricists and publishers: SUISA’s 2018 financial year got off to a good start in terms of results. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Key figures for the start of the 2018 financial year are positive: domestic revenues totalled CHF 60.3 million as at 31 May 2018, exceeding the budget by 8% and the prior year by 7%. The amount distributed in the second-quarter settlement in mid-June was CHF 43.8 million. At CHF 13.2 million, expenses were within budget.

Review of business activities

The Board approved the comprehensive report and explanatory notes to the 2017 financial statements prepared by the Auditor. These are part of the documentation that SUISA is required to file with the Federal Intellectual Property Institute (IPI) each year for its review of SUISA’s business activities.

Following changes in the Financial Market Infrastructure Act and its implementing ordinances, SUISA had to amend its investment regulations, in particular as regards due care rules for derivatives trading. The Board laid down clear guidelines regulating SUISA’s activities on the investment market. SUISA is also required to submit any amendments to these regulations each year to the IPI, the competent regulatory authority.

Satisfactory income and distribution results for year-to-date 2018

For the year to date as at 31 May, revenues increased for all classes of rights compared both with the budget and the prior year. The growth in revenues from online uses – plus 174%, or CHF 4.7 million – was particularly noteworthy. When preparing the budget, it had been expected that all online contracts would be transferred to SUISA Digital Licensing or Mint Digital Services, and that the corresponding revenues would flow into these companies. However, negotiations with the online service providers are taking longer than expected. Until the new contracts are signed, the corresponding revenues will continue to flow to SUISA, the parent company.

Initial distribution results for 2018 are also positive. The remuneration collected under most tariffs is meanwhile distributed to rightsholders following a quarterly schedule. The first quarterly settlement comprised 8,879 individual settlements representing a total distribution of CHF 13.8 million; the second, in mid-June, comprised 11,800 individual settlements and a total distribution of CHF 43.8 million.

With regard to revenues from abroad, thanks to a new IT application, we managed to distribute a larger number of settlements from our foreign sister societies than ever before at this time of the year. Remuneration totalling CHF 4.1 million was distributed to SUISA members. Moreover, starting in autumn 2018, foreign revenues will also be distributed on a quarterly basis. This means that the second of the three foreign settlements for 2018 will be distributed in mid-September. The third settlement will then be made in mid-December.

Sponsoring commitments and distribution rules

Figures aside, on to sponsoring: SUISA is making itself seen and heard with a number of actions in the framework of various musical events. The overriding aim is always to inform the public about the purpose and activities of our Cooperative Society and to attract well-deserved attention and esteem for the creative work ofour members. In this context, the members of the Committee for Organisation and Communication learnt about SUISA’s commitment in support of the Walo Prize and the organisation of the successful Songwriting Camp. Other events (co-)sponsored by SUISA include a day of concerts in the “Offen für Neues” (“open for the new”) series at the Festival Murten Classics in August, as well as “Label Suisse” in mid-September in Lausanne.

At the meeting, the Board also spent considerable time debating the amendment of the Distribution Rules. The amendments proposed by the Executive Committee are first examined by the Distribution and Works Committee. They are then referred to the Committee for Tariffs and Distribution before being sent to the Board. Finally, the amendments must be submitted to the IPI and the Liechtenstein Office of Economic Affairs. The amendments come into force once they are approved by both institutions, and the document is published.

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The Board meeting held the day before the General Assembly in June 2018 had a multi-layered agenda to handle. In addition to preparing for the General Assembly, the meeting also reviewed the course of business for the year to date. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Positive figures for the 2018 financial year to date

Satisfactory revenue and distribution results for composers, lyricists and publishers: SUISA’s 2018 financial year got off to a good start in terms of results. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Key figures for the start of the 2018 financial year are positive: domestic revenues totalled CHF 60.3 million as at 31 May 2018, exceeding the budget by 8% and the prior year by 7%. The amount distributed in the second-quarter settlement in mid-June was CHF 43.8 million. At CHF 13.2 million, expenses were within budget.

Review of business activities

The Board...read more

131.4m Swiss Francs for composers, lyricists and publishers

It was with satisfaction that members of the SUISA Board approved the results of the previous year during their meeting at the end of March 2017. The total turnover was 3.2% higher than that of the previous year. An overall amount of CHF 131.4m can be paid out to rights holders. The Board has, in addition, decided that a supplementary distribution of 7% shall be carried out on top of all regular distributions in 2018. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

131.4m Swiss Francs for composers, lyricists and publishers

SUISA managed to yield a total turnover of CHF 159.2m in 2017, including secondary income. Due to the positive outcome, composers, lyricists and publishers receive CHF 2.5m more in royalties for their artistic performances than in the previous year. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Apart from the delightful business result, the Board also received reports on the distribution of the collections of the last year in its meetings in March. As such, CHF 21m were paid to authors and CHF 38.7m to publishers. Transfers to sister societies amounted to CHF 53m.

Further distribution topics featured on the agenda: On the one hand, the Board decided that a supplementary distribution of 7% shall be carried out on top of all regular distributions in 2018. On the other hand, the governing body determined a minimum amount for the distribution of the collections from exploitations by broadcasters. Pursuant to the distribution rules, the distribution per private broadcaster follows the ratio of the licence fee that these broadcasters pay. The prerequisite for this is that the licence fee collected from the broadcaster must be higher than the amount determined by the Board each year. Furthermore, the station logs must be submitted electronically. Last year, the Board had lowered the minimum amount from CHF 15,000 to CHF 5,000. The Board took the decision to maintain this threshold.

General Assembly of SUISA on 22 June 2018 in Berne

The Board members also dedicate a lot of time to the preparation of the General Assembly. It takes place on Friday, 22 June 2018, in Berne. Apart from statutory business, the revision of the Articles of Association is an item on the agenda for the GA. The Articles of Association shall be adapted to the provisions of the EU Directive, which have been implemented into national law in Liechtenstein. Furthermore, such an adaptation is important so that SUISA can continue to carry out cross-border licensing of online usages within the European Union.

A synoptic representation of the changes to the Articles of Association will be posted to the members who are entitled to vote together with the invitation for the GA. The notes to the invitation include further details on the reasons for the intended changes to the provisions. One important issue is the duty to provide members with a complaints procedure. SUISA therefore plans to set up a Complaints Committee. The Board will propose the designated persons to the General Assembly for election.

Further elections are due for the Distribution and Works Committee. Guido Röösli retires and the Board has nominated Natalie Riede for the seat that has become available. She is a young publisher and represents the Swiss electronic music scene.

Mint Digital Services, the joint venture

The Board turned to the international stage with regards to the subject Mint Digital Services. A representative of US partner SESAC explained to Board members what it would take – in his opinion – to be successful in a competitive environment: Tenacity and negotiating skills, paired with intelligent IT software and high data quality are, from his point of view, the necessary tools. These qualities are combined under the joint venture Mint which was launched last year.

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SUISA’s financial year 2018: an outlookSUISA’s financial year 2018: an outlook In the Committee and Board meetings towards the end of the year, framework conditions for the following financial year are set. As such, the meetings of the SUISA Board in December 2017 continued to be characterised by budgets, cost rates, staffing plans, roadmaps, politics and quite a bit more. Read more
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It was with satisfaction that members of the SUISA Board approved the results of the previous year during their meeting at the end of March 2017. The total turnover was 3.2% higher than that of the previous year. An overall amount of CHF 131.4m can be paid out to rights holders. The Board has, in addition, decided that a supplementary distribution of 7% shall be carried out on top of all regular distributions in 2018. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

131.4m Swiss Francs for composers, lyricists and publishers

SUISA managed to yield a total turnover of CHF 159.2m in 2017, including secondary income. Due to the positive outcome, composers, lyricists and publishers receive CHF 2.5m more in royalties for their artistic performances than in the previous year. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Apart from the delightful business result, the Board also...read more

SUISA’s financial year 2018: an outlook

In the Committee and Board meetings towards the end of the year, framework conditions for the following financial year are set. As such, the meetings of the SUISA Board in December 2017 continued to be characterised by budgets, cost rates, staffing plans, roadmaps, politics and quite a bit more. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

SUISA’s financial year 2018: an outlook

During the meetings of the SUISA Board in December 2017, the focus was on the figures for the next financial year. (Photo: Kemal Taner / Shutterstock.com)

For the first time in the history of SUISA, the Board presented two budgets in the December meeting: that of the Cooperative Society SUISA and that of the group of companies. The group of companies includes – apart from the parent company – the subsidiary company SUISA Digital Licensing (headquartered in the Principality of Liechtenstein). Furthermore, the group of companies holds a 50% share in the Joint Venture Mint Digital Licensing AG (headquartered in Zurich).

The Board members were given access to the budgeted figures of the affiliated companies. The definitive decision on their business lies, however, with the committees in charge of each society. A new point is therefore added to SUISA’s competency rules in terms of rights and obligations of the Board.

SUISA budget 2018

Back to the numbers: A modest increase is expected for performing and broadcasting rights and a continuation of the downward trend among the reproduction rights. The compensation claims, however, might see a steep rise compared to the 2017 budget (thanks to higher collections from the blank media levy, internal networks in businesses and the rental of set top boxes). Part of the online collections will be allocated to the subsidiary company for accounting purposes. Collections from online use for music on Swiss websites, online advertising campaigns and video on demand services remain in the SUISA budget.

SUISA’s overall turnover budgeted for financial year 2018 amounts to CHF 151.9m. Collections from the use of copyright in Switzerland are budgeted to reach CHF 136.6m. On top of that, net revenues of CHF 11m are expected from abroad. Furthermore, secondary income of CHF 4.3m shall contribute to the overall results.

Expenditure is probably going to increase compared to the previous year, mainly because of the collections of CT 3a (background entertainment). From mid-July, additional staff positions are budgeted to take over this business. The Board has approved the budget for 2018 knowing that it is based on the rejection of the No-Billag-Initiative. Should the voting populace reject the fee for the reception of broadcasts, the changed situation would be met with adapted scenarios.

Regulations and statutory provisions

The auditors regularly supply the governing bodies of SUISA a questionnaire on potential unlawful actions. With this statutory provision, the level of awareness among governing bodies for unlawful acts shall be determined. By way of their answers, management and Board estimate the risk levels and comment on the control procedures. The results were approved and passed on to BDO.

Cost coverage deductions

The Board also decided that the deductions in the off-line sector correspond to those of the previous year. For the online sector it approved slightly changed rates for domestic and international application.

Changes at Board level

Due to the limitation of the period in office, two members of the Board will step down in June 2019. The knowledge acquired over many years in office by the Board members who are now stepping down needs to be replaced and SUISA needs to prepare for future challenges. As early as autumn 2017, a working group has begun with a situational analysis regarding the imminent Board retirements. The Board was informed about the results and the next steps of this analysis.

Copyright Act Review

In November, the Federal Council has passed the message regarding the Copyright Act review together with the legislative proposal on to Swiss parliament. The matter is initially going to be dealt with at National Council level by the Legal Affairs Committee (LAC), and subsequently in the States Council’s Science, Education and Culture Committee (SECC).

The Board was informed about the developments by G. Savary, member of the Board and the SECC. At the same time, he learned from the Executive Committee that the collective management organisations are satisfied with the draft by and large. It corresponds to the compromise developed by the AGUR12-II.

Need for action continues to exist in the sector concerning the online usage of music. In the EU there has been a discussion on the transfer of value on the internet for quite some time. It is high time that this discussion also takes place in Switzerland and that measures are implemented to stop the shift of the value creation away from authors towards internet technology companies.

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To be continued: Our success story, spanning more than 90 yearsTo be continued: Our success story, spanning more than 90 years The General Assembly of our Cooperative Society will take place on Friday, 23 June 2017, in Zurich. Members will have the opportunity during the General Assembly to co-determine the destiny of their cooperative society. Apart from the positive results of the annual accounts for 2016, SUISA is also going to report on the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services, co-founded with SESAC, plus on the developments regarding the copyright revision and the debate on the ‘service public’. Read more
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In the Committee and Board meetings towards the end of the year, framework conditions for the following financial year are set. As such, the meetings of the SUISA Board in December 2017 continued to be characterised by budgets, cost rates, staffing plans, roadmaps, politics and quite a bit more. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

SUISA’s financial year 2018: an outlook

During the meetings of the SUISA Board in December 2017, the focus was on the figures for the next financial year. (Photo: Kemal Taner / Shutterstock.com)

For the first time in the history of SUISA, the Board presented two budgets in the December meeting: that of the Cooperative Society SUISA and that of the group of companies. The group of companies includes – apart from the parent company – the subsidiary company SUISA Digital Licensing (headquartered in...read more

To be continued: Our success story, spanning more than 90 years

The General Assembly of our Cooperative Society will take place on Friday, 23 June 2017, in Zurich. Members will have the opportunity during the General Assembly to co-determine the destiny of their cooperative society. Apart from the positive results of the annual accounts for 2016, SUISA is also going to report on the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services, co-founded with SESAC, plus on the developments regarding the copyright revision and the debate on the ‘service public’. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

To be continued: Our success story, spanning more than 90 years

SUISA founded the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services together with US authors’ society SESAC. The project helps improve the competitiveness of SUISA in the online music market. Shown in the picture: Andreas Wegelin, SUISA CEO (on the left), and John Josephson, Chairman and CEO of SESAC Holding. (Photo: Hannah McKay)

SUISA can look back on a successful financial year 2016. Thanks to the positive year-end result, we are able to pay out more than CHF 128m to those who are entitled to receive a payment. That is more than ever before in the successful history of the Cooperative Society SUISA, spanning more than 90 years.

We are also doing well in terms of our costs. An average cost coverage deduction of 12.37% shows that we have the costs under control. If you take the reoccurring supplementary distribution of 7% into consideration as a contribution to the costs, the actual percentage amounts to 6.75% of the pay-outs to those entitled to receive a payment.

SUISA improves its competitiveness in the online market

Members will have the opportunity during the General Assembly to co-determine the destiny of their cooperative society. Apart from the positive annual accounts, we are also going to present the newly founded project for the improvement of SUISA’s international competitiveness in the online music market.

Together with the US authors’ society SESAC, we have founded Mint Digital Services as a Joint Venture back in February 2017. The JV enterprise offers services in relation to the administration and processing of online music licences. With this JV, we emphasise our strategic direction, i.e. to offer rightsholders an efficient and cost-effective administration.

Wanted: Active participation of our cooperative members

There will also be news on the legal framework conditions. AGUR12 II has passed a compromise for the attention of the Head of the Ministry in the EJPD (Federal Department of Justice and Police, FDJP); we are now waiting for it to be substantiated in a legislative draft.

Please do take part in our General Assembly. Only your active participation ensures that SUISA will be there for its members as a Cooperative Society in future.

See you on 23 June 2017 in the Kaufleuten Zurich.

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

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The General Assembly of our Cooperative Society will take place on Friday, 23 June 2017, in Zurich. Members will have the opportunity during the General Assembly to co-determine the destiny of their cooperative society. Apart from the positive results of the annual accounts for 2016, SUISA is also going to report on the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services, co-founded with SESAC, plus on the developments regarding the copyright revision and the debate on the ‘service public’. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

To be continued: Our success story, spanning more than 90 years

SUISA founded the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services together with US authors’ society SESAC. The project helps improve the competitiveness of SUISA in the online music market. Shown in the picture: Andreas Wegelin, SUISA CEO (on the left), and John Josephson, Chairman and CEO of SESAC Holding. (Photo: Hannah McKay)

SUISA can look...read more

Meeting of the SUISA Board – April 2017

During its spring meeting, the SUISA Board dealt with the financial results of the previous year. It approved SUISA’s annual accounts for 2016 as well as those of the Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers. Items on the agenda included the ratification of the 2016 annual report as well as the preparation of individual business items for the General Assembly on 23 June 2017 in Zurich. SUISA’s international involvement emerged during the discussion on the pricing of IPI subscriptions. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Meeting of the SUISA Board - April 2017

An important agenda item of the Board’s spring meeting: Preparations for the General Assembly where SUISA members can co-determine the future of their Cooperative Society. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

SUISA’s annual statements for 2016 reflect a pleasant result for music authors and publishers: Income from Swiss sources reached new record levels (CHF 136.1m). Total turnover therefore was the highest in the Cooperative Society’s history (CHF 154.3m). The amount which is due for distribution to the rightsholders rose to CHF 128.9m (previous year: CHF 125m).

Annual accounts 2016 of the Pension Fund

The Board members jointly make up the Pension Board of the Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers (UVF). In that capacity, they examined and approved the returns of the UVF Fund. The fund assets have increased. Before it is possible to hold a discussion on how to adjust the insurance benefits, it was decided to wait for the impact of the revised Pension Fund Regulations on the annual accounts 2017 (please also refer to the article “New Pension Fund Regulations in force from 01 January 2017” on the SUISAblog).

SUISA General Assembly 2017 on 23 June in Zurich

This year’s ordinary General Assembly of SUISA shall take place on Friday, 23 June 2017 in the Kaufleuten Festsaal in Zurich. Doors will open at 9.45 am. The meeting will begin at 11.00 am.

During the first part of the GA, mandatory statutory business items will be dealt with. In the second part of the assembly, the following current topics shall be discussed:

SRG & “Service Public”

The term “Service Public” comprises the mission of SRG (Swiss Broadcasting Corporation)  and private broadcasters financed by fees collected by Billag for radio and TV reception. It is perceived as a comprehensive service for society, covering the relevant requirements relating to education, culture and entertainment of the population. The “No-Billag initiative” challenges the “Service Public”. It does not – as the name might suggest – intend to abolish Billag. Its aim is much more to stop the public service financing of broadcasts. SRG and Swiss private broadcasters would be affected since they receive monies from the fees collected by Billag for radio and TV reception. The Council of States has rejected the initiative in its spring session. It is expected that the topic will be tabled for discussion before the National Council in autumn.

Another approach demands that SRG shall renounce on all radio channels which are not part of the “Service Public” mission. The following so-called special category channels would be affected: Radio Swiss Pop/Classic/Jazz, Radio SRF Virus, Radio SRF Musikwelle, and Radio RTS Option Musique would fall silent. Swiss music is often played in the programmes of these special category channels. If these channels were to be abolished, a lot of airtime for music by SUISA members would be lost.

Géraldine Savary, Ständerätin (federal councillor) and SUISA Board member, is going to comment on the political debates in relation to the “Service Public”.

SUISA prepares for the future

SUISA has founded the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services together with US collective management organisation SESAC ((2)). The JV will take on the invoicing and administration of the online licensing activities of SESAC and SUISA and offer its services also to publishers and collective management organisations. One major publisher, Warner/Chappell, has already signed up to the service range offered by Mint Digital Services. Andreas Wegelin is going to report on this important step for the future and the consequences for SUISA and its members.

IPI system: What may it cost?

SUISA has been supplying CISAC societies with the electronic world repository for authors/publishers since 1969. The technical infrastructure of the Interested Parties Information (IPI) system belongs to SUISA. SUISA issues an invoice to collective management organisations which are using the system for the service provided to them by SUISA each year.

The IPI system forms a part of CISAC’s IT tools. The CISAC administrative council has audited the costs of the IT tools. Of all these systems, the IPI has been the most expensive in 2014. Subscription fees for the IPI system had already been lowered at a previous stage. Nevertheless, the management board of the international umbrella organisation demands that the subscription fees are adjusted downwards. Otherwise, it is said, a competitive system will be launched.

The Board members have deliberated on the room for manoeuvring between fair, cost-covering subscription fees and the intention of SUISA to continue operating IPI at a continued high quality standard. The value of the system depends on all collective management organisations entering their data into this one system so that it shall be and remain the one reliable global identification system for authors and rightsholders.

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During its spring meeting, the SUISA Board dealt with the financial results of the previous year. It approved SUISA’s annual accounts for 2016 as well as those of the Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers. Items on the agenda included the ratification of the 2016 annual report as well as the preparation of individual business items for the General Assembly on 23 June 2017 in Zurich. SUISA’s international involvement emerged during the discussion on the pricing of IPI subscriptions. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Meeting of the SUISA Board - April 2017

An important agenda item of the Board’s spring meeting: Preparations for the General Assembly where SUISA members can co-determine the future of their Cooperative Society. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

SUISA’s annual statements for 2016 reflect a pleasant result for music authors and publishers: Income from Swiss sources reached new...read more

Attend the SUISA General Assembly 2017 and take part in the decision-making process

SUISA’s ordinary General Assembly shall take place on Friday, 23 June 2017 in the Kaufleuten Festsaal in Zurich. How did financial year 2016 go? Who will be newly elected into the Distribution and Works Committee? What’s next for the “Service Public” at SRG? What are the aims of the recently created JV Mint Digital Services? Text by Dora Zeller

Attend the SUISA General Assembly 2017 and take part in the decision-making process

SUISA members entitled to vote may register for their attendance and participation in the General Assembly until 20 June 2017. (Photo: Juerg Isler, isler-fotografie.ch)

Closure of financial year 2016. The management report, financial statements, profit and loss accounts, cash flow statements including annex, and auditors’ report will be submitted to the General Assembly for approval. Furthermore, management will report on the development of the current financial year, providing an outlook on the coming months, with a focus on Mint Digital Services.

The Joint Venture with the US collective management organisation for music rights, SESAC, will take on the invoicing and administration of the online licensing activities of SESAC and SUISA. The recently founded JV will offer its services also to other market players such as (major) publishers or foreign collective management organisations.

By-elections, politics and promotion

Alex Kirschner retires from the SUISA Distribution and Works Committee. Jonas Zellweger has been nominated as a replacement. Jonas Zellweger is a composer and orchestrates film and advertising music; he also performs live as a theatre musician. He has been a SUISA member since 2009.

Géraldine Savary, Ständerätin (federal councillor) and SUISA Board member, will comment on the ongoing political debates in relation to the financing of SRG (Swiss Broadcasting Corporation) and the “Service Public”. This includes, among other topics, the “No-Billag” initiative and the abolishment of the special category channels of SRG. Both discussion items are relevant for Swiss music creators. They could have an impact on the income of SUISA and therefore the royalties which would be due for distribution to the rightsholders.

Special guest at the SUISA GA will be Jürg Stahl, President of the National Council. The currently most senior Swiss politician is characterised by his diversity: well-integrated in sports, well-connected in politics, well-versed in commercial matters. Whether he has any, and if so, which relations he has to the Swiss cultural and music scene will be revealed during his opening speech.

FONDATION SUISA, SUISA’s foundation for music promotion, is also going to report on its activities of the previous year and will award this year’s foundation prize which is worth CHF 25,000.

Zivilschutz-Big-Band Winterthur

The SUISA GA 2017 will be started off with a performance by the Zivilschutz-Big-Band Winterthur, plus Marie Louise Werth (vocals), Rainer Bischof (Euphonium) and Urs Schnell (flute), conducted by Reto Parolari. (Photo: ZS-Bildarchiv)

How to get there / Catering

Attendees are advised to use public transport for their journey to the General Assembly. There are no reserved parking spaces available. Parking garages Talgarten and Gessnerallee are about 3-15 minutes walk away from the Festsaal Kaufleuten. Coffee and “Gipfeli” will be offered prior to the General Assembly. After the assembly, a buffet lunch will be available.

Further information:
www.suisa.ch/generalversammlung

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Mint Digital Services: FAQsMint Digital Services: FAQs SUISA and SESAC, a US collective management organisation, have established Mint Digital Services as a joint venture. Mint Digital Services will take over the invoicing and administration services for SESAC and SUISA’s online licensing activities. The joint venture will also offer services to publishers and collective management organisations. Warner/Chappel Music, a major publisher, is already using Mint’s services. Here the main FAQs. Read more
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SUISA’s ordinary General Assembly shall take place on Friday, 23 June 2017 in the Kaufleuten Festsaal in Zurich. How did financial year 2016 go? Who will be newly elected into the Distribution and Works Committee? What’s next for the “Service Public” at SRG? What are the aims of the recently created JV Mint Digital Services? Text by Dora Zeller

Attend the SUISA General Assembly 2017 and take part in the decision-making process

SUISA members entitled to vote may register for their attendance and participation in the General Assembly until 20 June 2017. (Photo: Juerg Isler, isler-fotografie.ch)

Closure of financial year 2016. The management report, financial statements, profit and loss accounts, cash flow statements including annex, and auditors’ report will be submitted to the General Assembly for approval. Furthermore, management will report on the development of the current financial year, providing an outlook on the coming months,...read more

Mint Digital Services: FAQs

SUISA and SESAC, a US collective management organisation, have established Mint Digital Services as a joint venture. Mint Digital Services will take over the invoicing and administration services for SESAC and SUISA’s online licensing activities. The joint venture will also offer services to publishers and collective management organisations. Warner/Chappel Music, a major publisher, is already using Mint’s services. Here the main FAQs: By Fabian Niggemeier, Martin Korrodi, Sebastian Spring and Erika Weibel

Mint Digital Services: FAQs

Through Mint Digital Services, SUISA is relying on its high-performance, state-of-the-art IT infrastructure to develop new business. (Graphics: Hej – Büro für Strategie und Gestaltung in Kultur und Wirtschaft, Zurich)

What is Mint Digital Services?
Mint Digital Services is a joint venture established by SUISA and SESAC, a US music rights organisation. Mint Digital Services offers administration services for multi-territorial online music licensing. Essentially, its services involve processing usage reports for online platforms, identifying represented repertoires, and invoicing.

The purpose of Mint Digital Services is on the one hand to streamline online licensing of SESAC and SUISA’s own repertoires. On the other, the joint venture intends to offer its services to large music publishers and, in due course, to other collective management organisations.

What were the reasons underlying SESAC and SUISA’s decision to establish Mint Digital Services?
There were three main reasons:

  1. Through Mint Digital Services, SUISA can turn to account its high-performance IT infrastructure for the development of new business areas.
  2. The joint venture will enable SUISA to fully exploit the capacity of its existing IT infrastructure. So far, SUISA’s extensive investment in its online licensing and distribution activities has only served its own repertoire. With little additional cost, Mint Digital Services can take on the invoicing and administration of SESAC’s repertoire and those of other publishers – at a later date perhaps even for other collective management organisations.
  3. SUISA is equipping itself for the future. In coming years, collective management organisations will see their monopolies challenged. The rule that only one society should be responsible for licensing the world repertoire in its own country is gradually eroding. The trend towards direct licensing – in other words, multi-territorial licensing of (solely) own repertoire – is progressing even outside the online sector.

Should members apply to Mint for online uses of their works?
No. Nothing will change for SUISA members. SUISA remains the contact for members and will continue to issue their settlement statements. Mint Digital Services simply provides services to SUISA.

Developing a new company costs money. Will members now receive lower settlements owing to higher cost-coverage deductions by SUISA?
No. The greater part of the investment was already made in recent years since SUISA has regularly upgraded its IT – regardless of the joint venture. The cost of developing the new company is therefore relatively low, and the business plan shows that the investment can be fully depreciated in a few years.

Can members expect to receive more money, more quickly for uses in the USA thanks to the partnership with SESAC?
The partnership with SESAC will have no effect on settlement flows from the USA. The joint venture only concerns online uses outside the USA. SUISA will continue to use its best efforts to improve payments from the USA and other countries. However, SUISA has only limited influence on the practice of the foreign sister societies.

Warner is a customer of Mint Digital Services. Does that mean that SUISA will henceforth focus on the majors to the detriment of the needs of its members?
No. Warner is Mint’s customer – not SUISA’s. Moreover, SUISA strives to be as customer-oriented as possible, regardless whether it is dealing with a major, an independent or an author.

Will Mint Digital Services be responsible for licensing the online repertoire?
No. The joint venture will only provide administration and invoicing services. SESAC and SUISA will establish two separate companies in the coming weeks to handle the licensing of their repertoires. Mint SESAC Licensing, a subsidiary of SESAC, and Mint SUISA Licensing, a subsidiary of SUISA. The two companies will be responsible for the separate online licensing of their respective rights, and for the performing rights of most Anglo-American companies.

Can SUISA now negotiate better terms and conditions with online platforms?
We may be able to negotiate better contracts with certain online platforms. But it is up to the platforms themselves to decide whether they want to negotiate with the SUISA and SESAC licensing entities individually or jointly. If they decide in favour of joint negotiations, Mint SUISA Licensing may be able to profit from the larger SESAC repertoire in order to obtain better terms and conditions.

SUISA regularly renegotiates its contracts with online platforms with a view to securing the best possible terms and conditions for authors and publishers; Mint SUISA Licensing will do the same.

Press release: “SUISA and SESAC Launch Mint Digital Services and Join Forces with Warner/Chappell Music as its First Client”
For more information about Mint visit the website of the joint venture: www.mintservices.com

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

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SUISA and SESAC, a US collective management organisation, have established Mint Digital Services as a joint venture. Mint Digital Services will take over the invoicing and administration services for SESAC and SUISA’s online licensing activities. The joint venture will also offer services to publishers and collective management organisations. Warner/Chappel Music, a major publisher, is already using Mint’s services. Here the main FAQs: By Fabian Niggemeier, Martin Korrodi, Sebastian Spring and Erika Weibel

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Through Mint Digital Services, SUISA is relying on its high-performance, state-of-the-art IT infrastructure to develop new business. (Graphics: Hej – Büro für Strategie und Gestaltung in Kultur und Wirtschaft, Zurich)

What is Mint Digital Services?
Mint Digital Services is a joint venture established by SUISA and SESAC, a US music rights organisation. Mint Digital Services offers administration services for multi-territorial online music...read more

The fight for the copyright review gets tougher

Dear members, the Swiss Federal Council launched the consultation for a draft to review copyright in December 2015. The draft followed the recommendations by AGUR12. However, further proposals were added from the administration and as a result of parliamentary initiatives. By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

The fight for the copyright review gets tougher

SUISA continues the fight for copyright and is getting ready for the digital future at the same time: Together with the US-American collective management organisation, SESAC, it founded Mint Digital Licensing, a joint venture issuing online licences. (Photo: ScandinavianStock / Shutterstock)

The draft was welcomed with keen interest, reflected by as many as 1,224 statements submitted during the consultation process. Unfortunately, they highlighted the fundamental differences in opinion. Something that had been expected: There are inherent risks when moving away from the compromise of the AGUR 12 (a working group on copyright that had been set up by Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga in 2012) in the context of an issue as disputed as copyright.

Copyright review: The devil is in the detail

At the end of 2016, Ms Sommaruga asked the same working group to transfer their suggestions into legislative provisions and, where necessary, submit further compromise proposals. It probably was the best that could have been done, even though another option could have been to instruct an expert committee with such editorial tasks: As we all know, the devil is in the detail …

Furthermore, a neutral expert committee could have increased the legitimacy of the proposals of AGUR12. But SUISA which is represented in the working group, will join into this second round.

Cooperation with the American organisation SESAC

Given the circumstances, the plan of a stricter Federal supervision on collective management organisations is not likely to be pursued further. This is good news. After all, the future is digital, and the rights management for online usages of music follows competition rules at the instigation of the European Union.

SUISA takes the new circumstances into account and has created a joint venture, Mint Digital Licensing, together with the American organisation SESAC. Yes, dear members, your eyes didn’t deceive you: The rightsholders in the USA are interested in SUISA’s know-how and the technology so that they can manage their rights in Europe! This implies investments, innovative spirit, additional responsibility and all the risks that a free market entails. Any interference by the government would not have been appropriate in this context.

Yet, the fight for the copyright review can be expected to get tougher. We will have to prove to the market and to consumers that collective management organisations do not just claim money from them. We must show that we create the necessary legal certainty by enabling them to acquire the rights in a simple process and at a fair price for all. The fight has not been won yet – but it’s worth being fought!

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Sustainable growth for members Cooperative societies excel by their solid economic activities. This is also true for SUISA. The cooperative society for composers, lyricists and publishers of music has slightly increased its income in 2015. SUISA pays out approx. 88% of its income to the rightsholders. That’s a total of CHF 125m. The cooperative society thus makes a substantial contribution to the financial livelihood of its members. Below is an analysis of the annual result. Read more
Right in the middle of it and in full swing to improve the service range offered to members – A glance on the service range offered by SUISA for its members shows: During the last few years, there have been innovations which brought about more efficiency and quality. Among these are more detailed settlement statements, the web portal “my account” and the digitisation of member files. These improvements signify a continu-ous process with SUISA right in the middle of it – and in full swing at it, as the follow-ing outlook shows: New: quarterly distributions. “My account” is undergoing further development. We are modernising the technology of our works database. Our member services are also subjected to a fundamental review. Read more
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Leave a Reply

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

Your email address will not be published.

Dear members, the Swiss Federal Council launched the consultation for a draft to review copyright in December 2015. The draft followed the recommendations by AGUR12. However, further proposals were added from the administration and as a result of parliamentary initiatives. By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

The fight for the copyright review gets tougher

SUISA continues the fight for copyright and is getting ready for the digital future at the same time: Together with the US-American collective management organisation, SESAC, it founded Mint Digital Licensing, a joint venture issuing online licences. (Photo: ScandinavianStock / Shutterstock)

The draft was welcomed with keen interest, reflected by as many as 1,224 statements submitted during the consultation process. Unfortunately, they highlighted the fundamental differences in opinion. Something that had been expected: There are inherent risks when moving away from the compromise of the AGUR 12 (a...read more

SUISA creates Joint Venture with SESAC: Mint Digital Licensing

SUISA has founded a Joint Venture together with the US American collective management organisation SESAC under the name Mint Digital Licensing. The new enterprise shall licence the online usage of works by SUISA and SESAC members on a Europe-wide basis. The service range offered by the Joint Venture is also open to other market players such as (major) publishers or international collective management organisations. An interview with SUISA’s CEO Andreas Wegelin on the advantages and the significance of this cooperation.

SUISA creates Joint Venture with SESAC: Mint Digital Licensing

Important step in terms of online licensing: SUISA and SESAC found the Joint Venture Mint Digital Licensing (Photo: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock)

SUISA communicates its cooperation with the US American collective management organisation SESAC at the beginning of August 2016. What are the plans of the two societies?
Andreas Wegelin: SUISA and our US American sister society SESAC intend to cooperate in the online music business. More specifically, they want to provide international licensing of music offers which are available online. To this end, we will create a Joint Venture with SESAC: Mint Digital Licensing. The new enterprise is going to issue licences to providers of music streaming and download services for the repertoire of SUISA and SESAC for all of Europe. The Joint Venture is also going to offer its services to third parties; for example to major publishers which can assign their online rights in Europe directly, or other collective management organisations which are not in a position to carry out international licensing themselves.

SUISA and SESAC will jointly negotiate with the online service providers within the remit of the Joint Venture. And the negotiations in this case will not just be with providers with which SUISA already has agreements. Agreements with new providers are also going to be part of the negotiation process.

How did the cooperation between SUISA and SESAC come about?
SESAC was looking for a reliable partner for the markets outside of the USA in order to license its repertoire successfully in those territories. During this process, the US American sister society approached SUISA and asked to enter into a cooperation.

Which advantages does the Joint Venture have for both societies?
Both collective management organisations have the aim to create financial benefits for their members from online exploitation of their works. The Joint Venture represents repertoire of more than 11.5 million works of SESAC and 4.5 million works of SUISA, of more than 110,000 composers, lyricists and publishers in total. Thanks to the size and relevance of the joint repertoire both societies strengthen their negotiation position vis-a-vis the online service providers. As a consequence, the most important benefit of the Joint Venture is to be able to represent the interests of the SUISA and SESAC members in the negotiations with Spotify, Apple, YouTube and others with more gravity. The fair remuneration of authors and publishers for online music uses is therefore the main concern.

Specifically from SUISA’s perspective, another aspect is important: We have invested some of our resources into the modernisation of our IT infrastructure in the past years. We did this to create a good starting position for us regarding the online music business. It is now possible for us to offer our IT services to other societies and publishers against payment, and to use the full capacity of our systems. Another effect will be that we will generate higher secondary income. Half of the profit from Mint Digital Licensing goes to SUISA, for example. Higher secondary income helps us to keep the cost deductions for the distributions to SUISA members at a lower level. Taking the supplementary distribution into consideration, the deduction we took in 2015 was an average of 6.76%.

A low administration cost rate will remain an important issue for us in future. It is possible that, in a few years, a competitive situation arises regarding the management of broadcasting rights, as we already experience it for online rights today. In a worst case scenario, part of the income from the administration of broadcasting rights might fall away. This would mean that we have less income, but more or less the same expenditure. Higher cost deductions from the settlements paid to our members would be the consequence. Said higher secondary income counteracts such measures.

Thanks to the cooperation with SESAC in the Joint Venture, SUISA can thus not only strengthen its market position in the online business, but also generate secondary income simultaneously, helping to keep cost deductions low – all of which is a benefit to SUISA members.

SUISA members will also have a simple access to controlling and managing their catalogues, licences and royalty settlements via the Joint Venture in future.

What changes for SUISA members following the Joint Venture?
The cooperation with SUISA remains the same for members, be it concerning the range of services offered by SUISA or the scope of rights management. There are no plans for a new rights administration agreement or changes to the distribution rules as a consequence of the Joint Venture. The member services of SUISA will continue to look after the members – there won’t be any changes regarding our members’ contact partners. The fact that licensing is now being executed by the Joint Venture does not entail a duplicate admin process for members; just like before, the cost deductions are only carried out once. Only the online service providers will be affected by the main changes: The SUISA repertoire will be licensed to online music services via the Joint Venture.

How many staff will be employed by the Joint Venture and where will the company be located?
The exact structure of the Joint Venture as well as the choice of the company location is still being defined at this stage. We intend to keep the organisational structure of Mint Digital Licensing as lean as possible. Both SUISA as well as SESAC have the aim to work together efficiently and to keep admin costs low.

What is the ownership structure of the Joint Venture? Are you going to sell a part of SUISA?
No. SUISA will remain 100% independent. It will provide its own services to the Joint Venture. Furthermore, both companies [SUISA and SESAC] will contribute a six-digit amount in order to cover the initial costs of the joint enterprise. SESAC and SUISA own 50% each of Mint Digital Licensing. This also means that both companies are equal partners within the Joint Venture.

What implications does the Joint Venture have for SUISA employees? Is a reorganisation or a staff reduction planned?
Personnel cutbacks are not going to be made at SUISA as a consequence of the Joint Venture. It might even lead to a slight increase in job positions. With regards the company organisation, some employees who already work for the online licensing area will continue their work in the name of Mint Digital Licensing from now on. A reorganisation at SUISA due to the Joint Venture is not going to take place.

The Joint Venture marks an important development for SUISA as an organisation: As mentioned before, cross-border competition exists regarding the rights assignment in the online music market in Europe. SUISA can now directly manage the online rights for its members across the whole of Europe. Vice versa, this also applies to international sister societies. As a consequence, relating to its online business, SUISA is in direct competition with collective management organisations such as SACEM, GEMA, PRS or the Swedish STIM. This competition in the online area is a new experience for SUISA. We are ready thanks to our range of specific services. Exciting times are ahead of us.

(Photo: isler-fotografie.ch)

Christian Fighera, co-founder of Two Gentlemen and Board members of SUISA, comments on the Joint Venture:

“I am very happy about the step SUISA has taken to enter into this Joint Venture with SESAC. In a world where the online distribution has been completely liberalised, it is an advantage that our members are treated as equals to famous international composers. Thanks to the Joint Venture, we can license a comprehensive and attractive repertoire on a worldwide basis. At the same time, we can strengthen our competences and our relationships with new partners. New authors and well-established artists alike will be able to benefit from this Joint Venture. It also shows that SUISA can make progress and develop itself further while offering member and customer-oriented high-quality services.”

Who is SESAC?
SESAC is one of the three big US American collective management organisations for performing rights. The company was founded in 1930 and its legal form is subject to private law. John Josephson has been CEO and Chairman of SESAC for the last two years. He is pursuing an innovative strategy with its organisation in order to absorb the fast structural and technological change in the music business and to continue developing SESAC to an integral music rights organisation – a one stop shop.
As a consequence, he invested in state-of-the-art IT systems and made sure they were brought to cutting-edge technology levels. They are comparable to the SUISA systems. In 2014, SESAC bought and incorporated Rumblefish, a company specialised in micro-licensing. Last year, SESAC bought the Harry Fox Agency (HFA), a big organisation for mechanical rights. HFA represents about 48,000 US American music publishers.
SESAC looks after music creators such as Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Beyoncé, Green Day, Mariah Carey and many other globally successful artists. Among the film composers looked after by SESAC are Christophe Beck, Jeff Beal, Danny Lux, Jon Ehrlich, Dennis C. Brown or Bruce Miller. SESAC also represents SESAC TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, Parenthood, Dateline NBC, Dr. Phil, Seinfeld or The Doctors.On the Harry Fox Agency:
HFA has been looking after the mechanical rights of music publishers in the USA since 1927. For years, HFA has grown to become one of the biggest licensor of mechanical rights, representing about 48,000 music publishers and thus a repertoire of more than 6.7m compositions as of today. After the takeover by SESAC, the repertoires were merged and are now managed by the SESAC systems.
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Why our members don’t have to notify SUISA whether their works are on Youtube Members have recently asked us along the lines of ‘how, where and when can I tell SUISA that my works are on YouTube’. We explain in the following reply to a member’s query why authors do not have to notify SUISA whether their works are available on the video platform. Read more

 

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SUISA has founded a Joint Venture together with the US American collective management organisation SESAC under the name Mint Digital Licensing. The new enterprise shall licence the online usage of works by SUISA and SESAC members on a Europe-wide basis. The service range offered by the Joint Venture is also open to other market players such as (major) publishers or international collective management organisations. An interview with SUISA’s CEO Andreas Wegelin on the advantages and the significance of this cooperation.

SUISA creates Joint Venture with SESAC: Mint Digital Licensing

Important step in terms of online licensing: SUISA and SESAC found the Joint Venture Mint Digital Licensing (Photo: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock)

SUISA communicates its cooperation with the US American collective management organisation SESAC at the beginning of August 2016. What are the plans of the two societies?
Andreas Wegelin: SUISA and our US American...read more