Tag Archives: Online music distribution

From forte to pianissimo in just a few beats

In 2019, SUISA recorded its best results in its 96-yrear history, with total revenues of CHF 171 million. Moreover, thanks to the excellent investment year in 2019, its investment performance also attained record heights. After deducting an average cost-coverage contribution of 13% from total royalty revenues of CHF 155.2 million, SUISA will be able to distribute CHF 135 million to rightholders in Switzerland and abroad. And yet, three months on, everything has changed. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

From forte to pianissimo in just a few beats

Three months after SUISA’s gratifying 2019 financial statements, instruments in concert halls fell silent. (Photo: VTT Studio / Shutterstock.com)

No sooner had SUISA announced its best results in its 96-year history, than a general ban was imposed on all public events, and all venues were shut down in March 2020, triggering an unprecedented negative record: one after the other, concerts, shows and dance events were cancelled. Overnight, bookings were struck from musicians’ calendars. In concert venues, musical instruments fell silent.

This cannot fail to impact SUISA’s business. Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, we are currently assuming that SUISA’s total revenues – and therefore the amount available for distribution – will fall by up to 25% by the end of 2020. Nobody can tell for sure today, much will depend on how the epidemic develops here and abroad, but a hefty recession seems imminent. It will take time to get back to normalcy, and we expect recovery to be no more than hesitant next year too.

In this crisis, SUISA is determined to prove itself a reliable partner both for music creators and music users. Appropriate measures have been put in place to support musicians, and an accommodating approach has been adopted towards customer payments. Meanwhile, new online forms of music performance are becoming more important as a source of royalties. Streaming may be the technology of the hour, but it only brings authors and music publishers a fraction of the revenues generated by live concerts.

“In this crisis, SUISA is determined to prove itself a reliable partner both for music creators and music users.”

SUISA has remained and remains active during the corona crisis. We are the hub for inquiries from members and customers. Although there are fewer events, we intend to maintain and even expand our services through automation. Unfortunately, the Board and the Executive Committee will not be able to welcome members personally to the General Meeting in Bern this year. To have a say in SUISA’s affairs, members will have to send in their vote by post. We encourage you to make use of this opportunity.

In any event, the employees at our three offices in Zurich, Lugano and Lausanne remain at your disposal. When work is slow, staff will be able to attend training courses; moreover, we are working full speed to develop online self-service services to give you more time to focus on your strengths. Making music, innovating, promoting. Despite the corona crisis, I wish you a challenging and productive summer.

SUISA matters: SUISAinfo 3.20, digital only
This autumn, the News for SUISA members will be sent by e-mail in digital format only. To contain costs in this difficult year, the hardcopy printed version will not be produced. SUISA provides regular news updates via www.suisa.ch, www.suisablog.ch, and SUISA Music Stories on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube. (Manu Leuenberger)
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In 2019, SUISA recorded its best results in its 96-yrear history, with total revenues of CHF 171 million. Moreover, thanks to the excellent investment year in 2019, its investment performance also attained record heights. After deducting an average cost-coverage contribution of 13% from total royalty revenues of CHF 155.2 million, SUISA will be able to distribute CHF 135 million to rightholders in Switzerland and abroad. And yet, three months on, everything has changed. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

From forte to pianissimo in just a few beats

Three months after SUISA’s gratifying 2019 financial statements, instruments in concert halls fell silent. (Photo: VTT Studio / Shutterstock.com)

No sooner had SUISA announced its best results in its 96-year history, than a general ban was imposed on all public events, and all venues were shut down in March 2020, triggering an unprecedented negative record: one...read more

Information on live streams for SUISA members

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

Information on live streams for SUISA members

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

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

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

Information for musicians who organise live streams themselves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  1. M. Badertscher says:

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

    • Michael Wohlgemuth says:

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

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.

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

Information on live streams for SUISA members

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

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

Penny-pinching in digital music distribution

Business in the online sector has been subject to constant change – not only for copyright societies. In the second part of the interview, SUISA CEO Andreas Wegelin reports on the status quo and provides an outlook on the scenarios that are being discussed. Interview by guest author Silvano Cerutti

Penny-pinching in digital music distribution

Music is now consumed rather differently to how it was consumed 15 years ago: From the turnover of the Digital Service Providers, about 12 to 15 percent are allocated to authors, which results in royalties at a micro-penny -level per play. (Photo: LikeBerry)

Andreas Wegelin, let’s talk about proportions and size ratios. Streaming service providers such as Spotify, for example, pay composers micro-penny -amounts per play. If you extrapolate this, what is the percentage of the turnover?
Andreas Wegelin: If you only consider authors’ rights, that is about 12 to 15 percent of about 70% of the service provider’s total turnover. The rest is allocated to the recording, the producer, the artist. This roughly corresponds to the offline situation in Switzerland. Copyright for authors is governed by state-approved tariffs there. They are actually slightly lower. A monopoly thus does not bring about a better result for authors.

Why is there so little that comes together for the author? Without the author, the piece would not even exist for others to perform.
I completely agree with you. If a composer happens to be a good singer as well and thus performs his own songs, he gets more. But this is the same case for the offline sector. A singing author gets more from his record company than from us – because the producer provides the service provider with the music recording which can be played. It is not SUISA that does that but companies such as Sony, Universal etc. which therefore also hold the relevant market power.
Furthermore: Let’s compare the situation to the radio broadcasters: Radio addresses a multitude of listeners, streams one individual listener. If you break down the radio remuneration to listener levels, the amount is not much higher than that for streaming. A reason why streaming is even lower is that I nearly only have mainstream music on the radio. The selection of songs is therefore limited. In the case of streaming services, I also have niche repertoire. In other words (please don’t quote me on the figures), I have a “heavy rotation” on the radio with about 50 songs per month, and 1,000 songs on Spotify.

Can I assume that a service such as YouTube pays out to a similar extent as Spotify?
In the case of YouTube, one question needs to be asked which is difficult to answer: What do the 12 to 15 percent relate to? Spotify has subscription fees while YouTube only has advertising income: Is it thus 12 to 15% of the advertising revenue which has been generated in a specific country for a specific video during a specific period of time? And if there is no advertising shown on the video, is there no money, irrespective of how many thousands of clicks are shown in total?

With YouTube, you have the additional problem that everyone can upload everything without having to supply any rights information. How can you find out what belongs to whom?
YouTube’s approach is automation. This works to some extent, but there are also blatant mistakes with regards to the allocations. For such data volumes, however, it is only possible to do so by way of automation. For a total control, you would have to be able to track all sound files.

Does this mean, the future must be the upload filter?
There’s a huge debate on this topic at EU level. So far, the “safe harbor” principle has been applied in the EU, which said: A Digital Service Provider (DSP) is not responsible for the contents which are uploaded to their platforms. The regulation stems from 2002 and was intended to promote the development of the online data exchange. YouTube did not exist in those days. YouTube could then benefit from this regulation even though masses of protected contents are distributed via YouTube. In the meantime, the protection of the author has been enjoying greater importance again. YouTube, however, threatens now to block contents arguing it would be too complicated to provide for a settlement of the rights in each case. That way, certain contents would no longer be available and this would be a grave restriction of freedom of opinion.

Are there any alternatives?
You could introduce a statutory compensation claim for authors, similar to blank media levies for private copies. This would mean: YouTube is allowed to distribute contents but YouTube would have to pay for it by law. In the case of the blank media levy, the argumentation used to be: You cannot control what someone records onto a music cassette, so a blanket solution is required and it could be that you pay a remuneration of e.g. 5 Rappen for each blank medium per hour in favour of the authors. Something like this would also be possible for online usages but it is a topic that is highly controversial.

Which solution would be better for the authors?
For authors of our scale, a blanket arrangement would be better, for bigger rights holders, the right of interdiction currently in force would be better. It gives them enough power to negotiate with YouTube or Google directly. Google cannot just ignore them. We, however, had to first become active ourselves in order to speak with YouTube about a licence. That was also a reason for our Joint Venture and our approach to expand the repertoire we represent.

How long does it take to negotiate an agreement with a platform of such a magnitude?
Since we have been part of the Joint License and have been processing via Mint, we could shorten the duration. Depending on the provider, it lasts between one and eight months. And if you want to renew an agreement, you are looking at four to five months.

What kind of strategy does SUISA pursue in cases where agreement negotiations with a provider fail?
In such a case – it is rather rare, because, among reasonable business partners, you do find a solution – we must fight in court to get the recognition and the adequate remuneration for the use of the rights of our members.

How many DSPs are there in total?
Actually, there are too many (laughs). There are dozens. Of course, you start with the most important ones, i.e. the biggest. There are about 15. But Mint is planning to expand into other territories. In India, for example, the two big telecoms companies are also important music providers which results in new and different constellations.

I am a cooperative member of SUISA, may I see such agreements?
No. A provider wants to prevent competitors seeing their contracts. That is why there is always a confidentiality clause. SUISA cooperative members do, however, see what they get in the end. If they do not like this situation, they can always assign their rights to someone else. I doubt very much that they will be given access to such contracts there. That is a result of the competitive market.

In December 2019, it became known that Gema has bought a majority stake in Zebralution GmbH, a digital distributor. What does this development mean for SUISA?
Gema tries this way to be increasingly active in the business with data for the works of its members. By cooperating with a digital distributor, Gema can succeed in providing its members with 360-degree-service, which does not just include the management of copyright but also neighbouring rights. SUISA is also going to consider what kind of steps are sensible for a rather comprehensive service to its members in the digital music distribution sector.

Züri West has earned money with “I schänke dir mis Härz”, whereas “079” by Lo & Leduc has yielded much less, even though it is at least as successful.
That may well be the case. This difference does not just apply to Lo & Leduc but for all, worldwide, because music consumption is different to what it was 15 years ago. That is why concerts have become more important and that is why the entire broadcasting sector is so important because we still have relatively stable conditions there …

But?
The problem is that more and more advertising is moving towards the internet. Licensing fees for broadcasting rights depend on the turnover of the broadcaster, and that turnover mainly comes from advertising. The income is falling drastically because advertising is shifting more and more towards the internet.

A similar scenario as we had it in the newspaper sector.
Exactly. This is hard to manage. The next online agreements will need to focus more on that. It is actually very fascinating. And of course we do not always succeed immediately, sometimes it takes tough negotiations and, if necessary, even legal proceedings. We also had this situation in the 70ies and 80ies when the task at hand was to collect remuneration for cable retransmission. New developments and types of services for music keep popping up. We need to keep an eye on them and it is our exciting and rewarding task to negotiate remunerations on behalf of our members.

To the first part of the interview: “Brave new world”

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  1. Rolf Hug says:

    Very interesting. Also to mention that the big publishing companies don’t play by the code of conduct and
    can get away with anything.

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Business in the online sector has been subject to constant change – not only for copyright societies. In the second part of the interview, SUISA CEO Andreas Wegelin reports on the status quo and provides an outlook on the scenarios that are being discussed. Interview by guest author Silvano Cerutti

Penny-pinching in digital music distribution

Music is now consumed rather differently to how it was consumed 15 years ago: From the turnover of the Digital Service Providers, about 12 to 15 percent are allocated to authors, which results in royalties at a micro-penny -level per play. (Photo: LikeBerry)

Andreas Wegelin, let’s talk about proportions and size ratios. Streaming service providers such as Spotify, for example, pay composers micro-penny -amounts per play. If you extrapolate this, what is the percentage of the turnover?
Andreas Wegelin: If you only consider authors’...read more

Brave new world

There is hardly any other technical development that has turned the music business upside down as much as the success of platforms such as YouTube. And hardly any technical development has been as remiss in the treatment of authors’ rights as the internet. In this interview, SUISA CEO Andreas Wegelin explores opportunities and difficulties of this rather young business sector. Interview by guest author Silvano Cerutti

Brave new world

“If I compare SUISA with other organisations that are still in their early days when it comes to online, we are already well underway”, SUISA CEO Andreas Wegelin is convinced. (Photo: Günter Bolzern)

Andreas Wegelin, the distribution of online royalties is affected by delays which caused disappointment in some members. Can you empathise with that?
Andreas Wegelin: It is our job to get as much collected on behalf of our members as possible, not just online but for all usage categories. If there is a cause for criticism, we take it seriously and examine it. There is, however, also the aspect that some members have received more than before, and they are not disappointed.

Maybe the question needs rephrasing?
Well, maybe the level of expectation is too high. Today, music is consumed in much smaller units, there are possibly one or two songs from a CD and that is reflected in the turnover, of course.

But members should receive a settlement four times per year. That did not quite work out in 2019. Why?
That’s right. One of the reasons for this is that the payment of one major customer was late. The amounts in the June distribution would thus have been far too small: On the one hand, the settlement would have fallen under the so-called payout threshold, they would therefore have received nothing. On the other hand, the administration costs would have been too high. We subsequently decided to postpone the settlement. Our goal, however, remains to pay out on a quarterly basis.

So, you don’t have a problem with the data volume you received that you need for the calculation of the online royalties?
No, we don’t. Yes, the data volume we receive is rather huge and requires complex processing with respect to many countries and currencies, but our systems have proved to be extremely efficient in this regard.

I can now upload my work on platforms such as iMusician, from where it is distributed to various service providers (Spotify etc.) and I can see how much my work is used, and where. Can SUISA also do that?
These are two different business models. iMusician monitors where an individual recording is played. That is, of course, much easier to track than having to simultaneously trace dozens, if not hundreds of recordings of one single work. What’s more, music providers know exactly who the artists of a recording are, but don’t have information on the composers of the song.

So SUISA’s job is more complex?
Of course. Add to that the obligation to provide clear information on the rights whenever you upload a song to such a distribution service. At our end, however, we also get notifications of works which have been uploaded by a fan without any details at all. If I do compare our administration costs with the fees that a service such as iMusician charges, I think to myself: we can keep up very well. But – such distribution services show us how we could improve our service in future and what is in demand on the market.

Which is?
The key word is tracking. I give you an example: If commercials with music of Swiss authors are broadcast abroad, the best way for me to get information on the number of broadcasts is via a tracking system. Today, not least on the grounds of cost, we have a system where the broadcasters deliver the information to us. Which could be something like “Nivea spot”. Well, which one? If I already have the melody as a sound file, I can track that. That is our future, even if it is not the most pressing measure we need to take for the online sector.

Automation is therefore only as good as the data that are available to it?
Exactly. And they are often incomplete.

What about monitoring service providers such as Utopia Music which can track songs across the internet?
Monitoring is a huge topic. We follow this very closely and are also planning a pilot project. Yet again, this is a matter of the relevant cost-benefit ratio. That ratio may well be good for an international hit producer but when it comes to an overall repertoire such as ours, the expense can push the administration costs up to silly levels.

The ‘rucksack of completeness’ has been around for the offline sector for many years and the distribution works rather well in that area. In the online sector, however, where everything could be measured, things are complicated.
That is annoying, yes. The offline system has been functioning well for nearly 100 years. But we only cover Switzerland and Liechtenstein for that. Online, we need to take a global approach and are also facing competition, because, according to the EU, each rights holder can choose who they are represented by.

What are the consequences?
In the past, rights holders assigned their rights to SUISA via so-called reciprocal representation agreements for the perception of their work in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. Based on that system it was possible to pass on the relevant share from Switzerland to any composer, whether English or American, and one subsequently received the relevant shares from abroad for Swiss authors.

Online, on the other hand….
…. it is only possible for a society to collect for the rights holder whom it represents directly, even though this can be done at a global level. All of a sudden, the documentation must be more accurate and also completed for other countries since it otherwise won’t match. One collective management organisation might declare that their share of a work amounts to 80 percent, another organisation claims to hold 40 percent, which adds up to 120. Such cases happen all the time.

And what’s the consequence of this?
The provider says: As long as you do not know who sends an invoice for what, I won’t pay you. Or we do not get any money, but the info: I have already paid someone else!

How do disputes among rights representatives arise?
Let’s take an example: I have a work with a composer, a lyricist and a publisher. The latter, however, has an agreement with a sub-publisher and has, for another territory, instructed a third publisher, and now all of these entitled parties can choose their own collective management organisation for the online exploitation. This means that there might be four or five collective management organisations which are then in charge for their respective part of the work. Now, I have to agree exactly which part belongs to me. This is where the “disputes” start, because the entry may be different at their end.

Is there no regulation among the copyright management organisations how you can proceed in such situations?
The societies are trying to coordinate their collaboration better in technical working groups. Due to the new competition situation among the organisations, a complete solution for these difficulties has not been found yet.

Music is consumed in small units, the rights representation happens at an even smaller scale, international competition and no smooth processes – doesn’t that frustrate you?
No, that is what makes this job so interesting! Changes such as the internet come to you from outside. You can either put your head in the sand or try to make the most of it. If I compare SUISA with other organisations that are still in their early days when it comes to online, we are already well underway.

But you do understand that authors are stressed out by such a situation?
Of course, it stresses us, too (laughs). We are building a new service here, which will hopefully be profitable and in demand and which gets the most out of it for our members. This can only happen in small steps and with setbacks, but there is also progress: We were able to improve the agreements, modernise infrastructure and the duration between the usage date and the distribution date could be halved since 2012. I am very optimistic.

To the second part of the interview: “Penny-pinching in digital music distribution”

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There is hardly any other technical development that has turned the music business upside down as much as the success of platforms such as YouTube. And hardly any technical development has been as remiss in the treatment of authors’ rights as the internet. In this interview, SUISA CEO Andreas Wegelin explores opportunities and difficulties of this rather young business sector. Interview by guest author Silvano Cerutti

Brave new world

“If I compare SUISA with other organisations that are still in their early days when it comes to online, we are already well underway”, SUISA CEO Andreas Wegelin is convinced. (Photo: Günter Bolzern)

Andreas Wegelin, the distribution of online royalties is affected by delays which caused disappointment in some members. Can you empathise with that?
Andreas Wegelin: It is our job to get as much collected on behalf...read more

How do you write a streaming success?

Tips and reflections on modern song structures by successful songwriters as well as other music industry representatives at the SUISA panel “How streaming is changing songwriting” in the course of the M4music festival on Saturday, 21 March 2020, at Moods. Text by Erika Weibel

M4music 2019 SUISA Panel Hit the World

KT Gorique, Laurell Barker and Shelly Peiken (f.l.t.r.) talking about songwriting at the SUISA panel “Hit the world / this is how international hit composers work” at the 2019 M4music festival. (Photo: Ennio Leanza / M4music)

Even the most creative songwriters go unnoticed if they are not able to get their music heard. In a highly competitive and oversaturated sector, songwriters need attract attention. They must stand out from countless other professional authors. Especially in the pop/urban genre, you must win over an audience whose listening behaviour is strongly influenced by music consumption via streaming services.

On the occasion of the SUISA panel at the 2020 M4music festival, successful songwriters are going to discuss with people from the music business what a song needs to sound like in order to satisfy the taste of the increasing streaming audience or to even win it over.

The SUISA panel “How streaming is changing songwriting” takes place on:
Saturday, 21 March 2020, between 1.45pm and 3.00pm in the Moods, Schiffbau in Zurich.

The big challenges of the new era

Spotify founder, Daniel Ek, said in April 2019 that nearly 40,000 tracks per day were uploaded to the Spotify platform. A projection of these figures would result in 280,000 songs per week, 1.2 million tracks per month and a whopping 14.6 million per year. To stand out from the masses is a huge challenge.

A potential springboard for songwriters could be to be included in a curated playlist. Songs in a curated playlist are grouped in order to appeal to a specific audience – this means more listeners, more “shares” and more income for the rights holders. It also entails a better chance that a song stands out to a “music supervisor”, i.e. People who look in those playlists for songs to be used in current TV and film productions. It is, however, only a small part of the published songs that manage to make it to the playlist.

Another new challenge brought about by streaming is also that music creators only get their royalties if their song has been streamed for 30 seconds. The listeners must, after all, not ‘bail out’ from listening too early, otherwise there’s no money. On top of that, the rule for radio or TV is: the longer the song the higher the income. In the case of streaming this is different: You get paid per stream.

How much do these new game rules affect composers? Will there only be short songs without intros that build them up and instead, catchy hook lines from the first beat? What role do song lyrics play today? How does a song need to sound in order to be included in a playlist?

Come to the SUISA panel and join our discussion!

SUISA- Panels at the 2020 M4music festival
“How streaming is changing songwriting”
Saturday, 21 March 2020, from 1.45pm to 3.00pm
in the Moods, Schiffbau in Zurich

Speaker:

  • Janine Cathrein, Singer Songwriter, Zurich
    Singer songwriter Janine Cathrein is a part of Black Sea Dahu. After publication of their successful debut album “white creators”, the band has been touring without interruption, they performed at 120 concerts in 2019 alone.
  • Julie Born, Managing Director Sony Music Entertainment Switzerland GmbH, Zurich
    Julie Born has been active in the Swiss music business for more than 30 years. In her position as Managing Director of Sony Music Switzerland, she and her team are responsible for establishing and building up artists in a variety of music fields.
  • Henrik Amschler, Producer Songwriter, Zurich
    Born in Zurich in 1989, he is known as HSA. He is a well-known Urban/Pop music producer and songwriter. He has contributed to various gold and platin productions and won prestigious awards (such as the Swiss Music Award as a songwriter) He produces Loco Escrito and Mimiks, among others.
  • Loris Cimino, producer and songwriter, Reinach AG
    The 22-year-old producer can already count more than 2.5 million streams in 2019, and that just on Spotify. He produces music of renowned artists and enjoys international success as a DJ with official remixes for artists such as David Guetta and Meghan Trainor. He is also co-writer of the official trailer for the current “America’s got talent” show.

Moderator: Nina Havel

www.m4music.ch

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Tips and reflections on modern song structures by successful songwriters as well as other music industry representatives at the SUISA panel “How streaming is changing songwriting” in the course of the M4music festival on Saturday, 21 March 2020, at Moods. Text by Erika Weibel

M4music 2019 SUISA Panel Hit the World

KT Gorique, Laurell Barker and Shelly Peiken (f.l.t.r.) talking about songwriting at the SUISA panel “Hit the world / this is how international hit composers work” at the 2019 M4music festival. (Photo: Ennio Leanza / M4music)

Even the most creative songwriters go unnoticed if they are not able to get their music heard. In a highly competitive and oversaturated sector, songwriters need attract attention. They must stand out from countless other professional authors. Especially in the pop/urban genre, you must win over an audience whose listening behaviour is strongly...read more

M4music copyright debate: Streaming = Goldmine?

At the M4music 2018, SUISA is going to hold a panel discussion on Streaming. Participants discuss, among other subjects, whether artists get their fair shares in a booming streaming market and – if not – what needs to change. Text by Erika Weibel

M4music copyright debate: Streaming = Goldmine?

The 21st M4music takes place between 22 and 24 March 2018. (Photo: M4music)

The turnover of Streaming providers are on the rise: Videos, text and lyrics, images and music files are used via the internet as intensively as never before. It’s not just authors of the works that benefit from this but also big players such as Google, Facebook etc. What does it look like in future if the value creation is mainly happening at the big internet companies while the providers of the contents i.e. the creators and artists remain empty-handed?

What would potential scenarios and paths that could guarantee a fair – or at least fairer – income for creators and artists?

We are looking forward to a large audience which is of course invited to participate in the conversation.

Event details:

Friday, 23 March 2018 at 5.00pm
Matchbox in the Schiffbau, Zurich

The panel will be held in German and translated into French.

The 21st M4music takes place between 22 and 24 March 2018. The pop music festival of the Migros-Kulturprozent in Lausanne and Zurich provides a diverse programme again: Concerts by over 50 national and international acts, panel discussions and workshops on current topics of the music business.

www.m4music.ch/en/conference

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Stream ripping – tape recorders on the internetStream ripping – tape recorders on the internet Stream ripping software records audio and video streams. A copy of the entire stream can thus be saved as a file. Swiss copyright legislation provides for a private copy remuneration which is applicable to recording and storage media. Stream ripping apps are not covered by the statutory obligation to pay a levy – just like the tape recorders in the past. Read more
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All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

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At the M4music 2018, SUISA is going to hold a panel discussion on Streaming. Participants discuss, among other subjects, whether artists get their fair shares in a booming streaming market and – if not – what needs to change. Text by Erika Weibel

M4music copyright debate: Streaming = Goldmine?

The 21st M4music takes place between 22 and 24 March 2018. (Photo: M4music)

The turnover of Streaming providers are on the rise: Videos, text and lyrics, images and music files are used via the internet as intensively as never before. It’s not just authors of the works that benefit from this but also big players such as Google, Facebook etc. What does it look like in future if the value creation is mainly happening at the big internet companies while the providers of the contents i.e. the creators and artists...read more

Copyright Act Review: Authors and publishers must benefit more from the online exploitation of their works

Last week, the Federal Council has adopted a dispatch on the new Copyright Act. SUISA is in principle content with the current version of the law. The solutions achieved in the working group for the Copyright Act (AGUR12 II) were implemented. In order for authors, performers, publishers and producers to benefit better from the digitisation, it is necessary to adopt important additions. The “Transfer of Value”, for example, is extremely disappointing for creators and artists: Internet giants’ platforms continue to be the ones that cash in on the online exploitation of music and films. Creators and artists – and thus the suppliers of the content – are almost left empty-handed. Text by Andreas Wegelin, CEO

The Copyright Act urgently requires provisions for the online exploitation of works protected by copyright. The value creation nowadays completely passes by creators and artists – and thus the producers of the content. It is especially the powerful internet industry that benefits strongly thanks to the revenue from advertising and usage data. (Image: yaichatchai / Shutterstock.com)

Many creators and artists, users’ associations and other target groups are likely to have received the current version of the Copyright Act with relief: The legal text is a giant step compared to the half-baked draft which the Federal Council had presented at the end of 2015, and which had caused nearly all interest groups to shake their heads. The outcome was that up to March 2016 a record number of more than 1,200 position papers were submitted. The working group on copyright AGUR12 II was also reactivated. We had already reported on this earlier this year, in March, via our SUISAblog.

Parliament supposed to blaze the trail for a modern Copyright Act

The working group is made up of creators and artists, producers, users, consumers, internet service providers, the Federal Office of Justice as well as additional representatives of the administration has obviously done a good job: In the current version, the proposals of the working group were adopted to a large extent. It is now down to the Parliament to blaze the trail for a modernised version of the Copyright Act. SUISA as well as other Swiss collective management organisations support the compromise.

This does, however, not mean that the current version does not need any improvements. On the contrary – the biggest problems of digitisation for creators and artists remains unsolved: Protected works in videos, texts, images and music data have never been used at the same intensity levels as they are today via the internet. Some major internet companies are the profiteers of this exploitation while the value creation almost completely passes by creators and artists – and thus the producers of the content.

Thanks to the internet: Music lovers can nowadays access an enormous number of films, music pieces, books and news articles, nearly from anywhere and at any time. There is no longer a need for physical work copies. The availability in the Cloud or access via streaming is now enough. Apart from online distributors such as Apple, Spotify, Netflix or Amazon, music and films are nowadays mainly shared via social media platforms such as YouTube or Facebook.

Many internet providers hardly take care of copyright

Online distributors usually take care of copyright and enter into licensing agreements with producers and collective management organisations. This leads to musicians, producers and other creators and artists to receive a remuneration for their work. In the case of intermediaries, e.g. social media platforms and aggregators such as Tunein, the situation is different. The technical services they offer also allow users to disseminate works protected by copyright. In such models where protected content is shared, the providers hardly look after the copyright. On the contrary: They regularly pass the responsibility on to the users who upload the contents.

Add to that the fact that social media platforms and aggregators are the competitors of online distributors such as iTunes or Spotify – they yield high financial gains without participating the authors adequately. A European study shows that value added for the operators of such platforms is very high thanks to works such as music and films protected by copyright. 18% of Google’s income, for example, is made on the back of protected works e.g. via sponsored links. If the protected works were to fall away, the click rate and therefore the attractiveness of the search engine would drop. The value creation on platforms such as YouTube is even higher – they yield 2/3 of their turnover with contents protected by copyright – mainly from advertising, but also sales of profile data. They do, however, defer the act of clearing the copyright to those uploading the contents, even though the latter are not even in a position to do so.

A discussion on the Transfer of Value must also take place in Switzerland

Authors, the actual creators of the works, receive no or hardly any remuneration at all in the case of such platforms. This calls for urgent action. In the EU there has been a discussion on the Transfer of Value on the internet for quite some time. It is therefore high time to bring this discussion to Switzerland. Urgent measures are needed in Switzerland so that the transfer of value away from authors can be stopped – and therefore the creeping expropriation of creators and artists. Social media platforms, aggregators and search engine operators must be obligated to pay a compensation for the works used via their technical platforms.

SUISA and other Swiss collective management organisations are therefore going to introduce these important additions to the legislative process. Creators and artists must get a fairer share in the value creation on online platforms.

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  1. sam says:

    danke für ihren einsatz

  2. Stevens says:

    They stole our revolution and now they steal our music.

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.

Last week, the Federal Council has adopted a dispatch on the new Copyright Act. SUISA is in principle content with the current version of the law. The solutions achieved in the working group for the Copyright Act (AGUR12 II) were implemented. In order for authors, performers, publishers and producers to benefit better from the digitisation, it is necessary to adopt important additions. The “Transfer of Value”, for example, is extremely disappointing for creators and artists: Internet giants’ platforms continue to be the ones that cash in on the online exploitation of music and films. Creators and artists – and thus the suppliers of the content – are almost left empty-handed. Text by Andreas Wegelin, CEO

The Copyright Act urgently requires provisions for the online exploitation of works protected by copyright. The value...read more

Blockchain – an ending or future for collective management organisations?

Dear members, everyone in the music industry is talking about “Blockchain” at the moment. But it’s not easy to find anyone who can explain in simple terms what it’s all about … By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

Blockchain - an ending or future for collective management organisations?

British singer songwriter Imogen Heap is said to be the pioneer in the practical application of Blockchain technology for music distribution: Since October 2015, her single “Tiny Human” can be purchased and licensed online via the platform Ujomusic. The payment of the parties involved is based on pre-defined distribution rules via crypto currency. (Photo: Screenshot ujomusic.com)

Blockchain is a technology, a database, a register. It enables the secure exchange of information in a network which is based on the contribution of qualified participants (miners) who check the validity of the transaction by means of the processing power of their computers. All transactions are grouped into blocks which are linked with one another and each participant can check whether the validation operation is correct. This is also how Bitcoin works.

You haven’t quite grasped all of the above? Me neither. It appears, however, that this technology which is based on “smart contracts” gets away without intermediaries: The composer could therefore be paid for concert tickets or music streaming directly. There is even word in the street that this could be the end of collective management organisations.

“Collective management of rights is more than just pure technology. It is based on an important value: a joint defence of creative work.”

Same old story: Since online music emerged about 20 years ago, people predicted that the internet would free authors and help them to become independent of intermediaries. Well, collective management organisations are still here and they constitute an indispensable counterweight to internet giants.

Collective management of rights is, after all, more than just pure technology. It is based on an important value: a joint defence of creative work. Authors will always need an organisation which supports them, which negotiates contracts for them (including smart contracts) and campaign for fair transaction conditions (even if they have been certified by the Blockchain).

But hold on a minute: This statement does not allow us to rest on our laurels. It’s the duty of collective management organisations to be interested in the Blockchain, to understand it and to try and use it for the utmost advantage of authors and publishers.

“Collective management organisations hold essential information which ensures that the remuneration is transferred to the right persons.”

SUISA collaborates with its sister societies to achieve this aim – in Switzerland and abroad. This technology could, after all, be instrumental in avoiding conflicts among rights holders with respect to a work or regarding their due remuneration.

Collective management organisations hold essential information which ensures that the remuneration is transferred to the right persons, and they also possess powerful IT instruments. So how would it be possible that they’re skipped in the transaction validation process?

One thing is for sure: You must not leave the technology companies alone to deal with these questions. Otherwise the Blockchain would become a blocking chain – at the detriment of creative work!

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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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Dear members, everyone in the music industry is talking about “Blockchain” at the moment. But it’s not easy to find anyone who can explain in simple terms what it’s all about … By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

Blockchain - an ending or future for collective management organisations?

British singer songwriter Imogen Heap is said to be the pioneer in the practical application of Blockchain technology for music distribution: Since October 2015, her single “Tiny Human” can be purchased and licensed online via the platform Ujomusic. The payment of the parties involved is based on pre-defined distribution rules via crypto currency. (Photo: Screenshot ujomusic.com)

Blockchain is a technology, a database, a register. It enables the secure exchange of information in a network which is based on the contribution of qualified participants (miners) who check the validity of the transaction by means of the processing...read more

Stream ripping – tape recorders on the internet

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

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

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

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

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

Remuneration for private copies for authors

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

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

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

Blank media levies apply for recording and storage media

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

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

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

Stream ripping – an obsolescent model?

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

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

Legal streaming services pay licence fees for authors’ rights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. Text by Andreas Wegelin, CEO

Composers and lyricists don’t always perform on a stage. This is why it is even more important for them that they receive their copyright royalties from their cooperative society. (Photo: Dreadek / Shutterstock.com)

SUISA has published its annual results for 2015, and the numbers are good news: The cooperative society for authors and publishers of music could slightly increase its collections in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. Thanks to the continued large demand for music in this country, SUISA collected CHF 132.7m in these territories. Together with the income generated by usage of the SUISA repertoire abroad, the net amount for the exploitation of copyright was a total of CHF 142.7m.

Important income for composers, lyricists and publishers

Approx. 88% of the income collected by SUISA is distributed to rights holders. That’s CHF 125m that are being paid out to the creators of music. Such income is especially important for composers, lyricists and publishers. Many authors don’t perform on stage and therefore don’t receive fees or shares in the income generated from merchandise. The remuneration yielded via the collective management of the exploitation of works composed or lyrics written by these authors are a part of their income.

Cooperative societies run their operations sustainably in the interest of their members

In Switzerland and Liechtenstein, SUISA is tasked with this duty as the cooperative society of its members. Cooperative societies are mainly self-help organisations of the members. They do not undertake speculative financial transactions or try to yield the highest possible wins for shareholders. Instead, they work in the interest of their cooperative members. In the case of SUISA, these are the music authors and publishers. As the year end for 2015 shows, SUISA is on the right track: The cooperative society’s income has continuously increased over the last three years. The main drivers of this positive development have been concerts and digital TV in particular.

Concerts are flourishing

The biggest increase during 2015 has been thanks to continuously flourishing concert and festival activities in Switzerland. Approx. CHF 20.3m have been collected by SUISA by means of copyright licence fees from the concert tariffs CT Ka and CT Kb in the last year; in 2014, the respective sum was CHF 18.7m. These two concert tariffs thus make up nearly half of the total income for performing rights. Last year, CHF 46m were collected in total for performing rights (compared to CHF 44.1m in the previous year). A main influence on the increased collections last year were some disputes which could be resolved and therefore led to a retroactive payment of licence fees.

Digital TV continues to grow

The income from broadcasting rights slightly increased from CHF 64m to CHF 64.6m last year. The increase stems from higher income for TV advertising windows on the one hand; On the other hand, the increasing popularity of digital TV has a positive effect for authors and publishers: Both the dissemination of broadcasts via cable as well as the rental of set top boxes and therefore the possibility to enjoy time-shift television led to higher collections in 2015.

Online flop, sound recordings top?

SUISA’s annual results for 2015 in the sectors online and sound recordings, however, do not correspond with current developments at all. The trend in the market clearly shows: More and more music is being used via internet and especially by means of streaming, whereas the public has been buying less and less sound recordings for years. Nevertheless, the SUISA collections for sound recordings have risen slightly last year, while the results for the online sector exhibited a falling trend. Special case Switzerland? No.

In the case of the collections yielded for sound recordings, a major production of one single customer was the reason for the plus compared to the previous year. The drop in online income in 2015 is due to the invoicing procedures. Due to the rapidly increasing data volume that SUISA has to process for streaming exploitation, the distribution procedures for online income had to be re-engineered. As a consequence, some streaming operators’ income from last year could not be invoiced before January 2016. Irrespective of this seasonal time shift in terms of invoicing, it also has to be mentioned in the context of online collections that further efforts are needed to negotiate fair payments for authors and the dissemination of their music on the internet.

“The remuneration collected from the most used gratuitous channel YouTube is too low for authors and has to be given a special mention from a point of negative impact.”

In the course of its second quarter distribution in June 2016, SUISA is going to distribute income from online business to rightsholders. The distributable amount, however, will remain at a low level just like in the previous year. One reason for this are illegal offers and gratuitous services which are financed by advertising. They compete with the legal fee-based offers by e.g. Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play and others.

The remuneration collected from the most used gratuitous channel YouTube is too low for authors and has to be given a special mention from a point of negative impact. The licence fees collected from online providers continue to remain an important subject for SUISA in 2016: Composers, lyricists and publishers of music must receive a fairer payment for the exploitation of their works via downloads and especially streaming.

Keep admin costs low

Another important (ongoing) subject are the costs. SUISA is doing well in that regard: The admin costs were 2.5% lower in 2015 at CHF 27.4m compared to the previous year (CHF 28.1m). SUISA thus confirms the results of a cost analysis that had been carried out on behalf of the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) at the five Swiss collective management organisations. The result of the analysis showed: The Swiss collective management organisations work economically and their costs are adequate.

For SUISA members, this means: You can count on the fact in future that your cooperative society will run sustainable operations in order to provide a substantial contribution to your livelihood.

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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. Text by Andreas Wegelin, CEO

Composers and lyricists don’t always perform on a stage. This is why it is even more important for them that they receive their copyright royalties from their cooperative society. (Photo: Dreadek / Shutterstock.com)

SUISA has published its annual results for 2015, and the numbers are good news: The cooperative society for authors and publishers of music could slightly...read more