Tag Archives: Reports on music use

Personnel changes in SUISA’s Music Department

At the end of September 2018, Ernst Meier, Head of the Music Department, retired after 33 years’ work for authors and publishers. His successor is Andres Pfister. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Personnel changes in SUISA’s Music Department

Ernst Meier, in his office in the SUISA branch at the Bellariastrasse in Zurich in September 2018. The long-term head of the Music Department is now enjoying his retirement. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

Ernst Meier applied back in 1985 as a musicologist for an assistant’s position in the then Swiss music archives of SUISA, today’s “Music Department”. His passion for music was ignited early on: At the young age of 14, he began to play the organ. By studying musicology at the University of Zurich, he turned his passion consequently into his profession.

As head of the Music Department, Ernst Meier answered many specialist questions which required specific musicological knowledge. He thus examined cases where the suspicion of plagiarism arose, or checked registrations of arrangements of works that were no longer protected to establish whether the work qualified as a derived copyrighted work.

Mid 2011, the “Programmdienst” (Programme Services) team was integrated into the Music Department. Ernst Meier and his six staff members made sure that protected works were correctly identified on performance programme lists. In their work, they were supported by Ernst Meier especially regarding concert programmes of contemporary and classical music. These details form the basis for exact invoicing to the event organisers and the correct distribution of copyright remuneration based on programmes.

SUISA has had a seat on the Board of the RISM Schweiz («Répertoire International des Sources Musicales») since RISM was founded as an association. Ernst Meier represented SUISA there in his role as a musicologist and therefore was able to maintain valuable contacts regarding his field of study. He also got involved in the Schweizerische Vereinigung der Musiksammlungen (IAML, Swiss Association of Music Collections).

After 33 years in the service of authors and publishers, Ernst Meier retired at the end of September 2018. With his love for music and his enormous knowledge and instinct, especially regarding all musical matters, he has left a mark on the Music Department at SUISA over a long period. Management thanks Ernst Meier for his valuable work for SUISA and wishes him all the best for his future.

SUISA Music Department from autumn 2018
Andres Pfister, 31 years old, has been working as Ernst Meier’s successor and musicologist for SUISA since 01 September 2018. He lives in Berne and has been studying musicology and social anthropology at the University of Berne. He successfully concluded his studies with a Masters Diploma in the summer of 2018. Andres Pfister already pursued many different work-related activities during his time as a student. He was active as a tutorial assistant at the Institute for Musicology at the University of Berne or worked at the Institute for Culture in the educational directorate of the Canton of Berne. He also moderated the classical music programme “Ostinato” as a radio DJ on RaBe (Radio Berne) and was responsible for the editorial management of the broadcast. He continues to sporadically work for the radio.
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At the end of September 2018, Ernst Meier, Head of the Music Department, retired after 33 years’ work for authors and publishers. His successor is Andres Pfister. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Personnel changes in SUISA’s Music Department

Ernst Meier, in his office in the SUISA branch at the Bellariastrasse in Zurich in September 2018. The long-term head of the Music Department is now enjoying his retirement. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

Ernst Meier applied back in 1985 as a musicologist for an assistant’s position in the then Swiss music archives of SUISA, today’s “Music Department”. His passion for music was ignited early on: At the young age of 14, he began to play the organ. By studying musicology at the University of Zurich, he turned his passion consequently into his profession.

As head of the Music Department, Ernst Meier answered many...read more

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. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Why our members don’t have to notify SUISA whether their works are on Youtube

(Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

“I reckon it might be difficult for SUISA to track all videos of Swiss artists [on YouTube]. I take it that this won’t happen automatically. Is it therefore necessary that I inform SUISA of a video where I am the author and for which I want to get the relevant royalties?”

Automatic reporting between SUISA and YouTube

Authors do not need to send notifications on their works on YouTube. YouTube and SUISA have an automatic reporting in place. Said reporting takes place in two steps and the process – in simplified terms – is based on the following principle:

YouTube periodically provides SUISA with basic usage data in an electronic format. The list is called: “Masterlist”. Said list contains details on the videos that have been played via YouTube. Further details are included on the used music in the respective video, if these are known to YouTube. These details provided by YouTube consist of work / song title, artist name(s), album title plus optional additional details such as label, ISRC/ISWC no. or UPC.

Based on these details, SUISA defines the repertoire it represents. In other words: The “Masterlist” is compared to the SUISA works database. Works whose rights are represented by SUISA, are marked on the list. After that, SUISA notifies YouTube for which works on the “Masterlist” SUISA is entitled to receive royalties.

Based on this information, YouTube knows that the copyright for the marked videos must be paid out to SUISA. Only now can the second step in the reporting process take place: YouTube creates reports on music use which contain the number of clicks as well as details on the relevant income. The remuneration paid by YouTube is made up of a part of the income generated by advertising. YouTube transfers the money to SUISA. Based on the information saved in the SUISA works database, the distribution to rights holders is made.

Similar reporting principle for radio and TV

The underlying principle for the YouTube process is comparable to the broadcast reports of radio and TV stations. Most broadcasters work with digital systems today. With these systems, they create reporting logs in file format and transfer them electronically to SUISA. SUISA then carries out the matching of the works database and allocates the royalties to the authors and publishers entitled to receive a payment.

In the case of radio and TV stations, members basically do not need to notify SUISA when their song is played either. It suffices if the work has been correctly declared once with SUISA, and has subsequently been registered in the works database. The reporting between users, such as the broadcasters in this example, and SUISA takes place via (often automated) reports on music use.

Special case YouTube: Data volume and data quality

Compared to the well-established system of broadcast reports by radio/TV stations, some new and difficult questions must be answered when developing a reporting system with YouTube, the currently biggest video platform in the world.

One significant difference between YouTube and the reporting with customers such as radio/TV broadcasters is the data quality: In the case of radio and TV, the music databases are often administered by music editors. The more precisely the databases have been maintained, the more correct the details on the played song titles on the broadcast logs. The contents on YouTube, however, are mostly uploaded by private users. In the case of such “user generated content”, less diligence is usually applied in terms of the details of the used material. As a consequence, the quality of the available data on the YouTube usages is correspondingly low at times.

The enormous data volume poses another challenge: The repertoire used on YouTube is that of radio/TV stations, but many times over. YouTube indicates that currently 100 hours of video material are uploaded to YouTube per minute. According to the same statistics, 1 billion individual users are said to consume more than 6 billion hours of videos on YouTube per month, on average. The following applies: 1 user watches 1 video = 1 use which would have to be notified in principle. In the case of SUISA this applies for users who watch videos from computers with a Swiss IP address.

Customer reporting crucial for the correct distribution

In light of these huge masses of videos, SUISA depends on an automatic reporting by YouTube. SUISA does not have the resources to track individual videos of Swiss artists on the platform. SUISA does – as with all its customers – endeavour in collaboration with the licensee to develop a best possible reporting in terms of correctness and comprehensiveness, as long as this seems reasonable in relation to the administrative effort. Only then can SUISA pay its rightsholders what they are due in terms of royalties.

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  1. Marco says:

    I have a key question after reading this article, about the sentence:
    “In the case of SUISA this applies for users who watch videos from computers with a Swiss IP address.”
    This means that I can retrieve money only from the cliks that come from Switzerland? What happens with the clicks coming from the rest of the world?
    Thank you in advance for clarifying

    • Manu Leuenberger says:

      The agreement with YouTube covers the repertoire of SUISA members for the exploitation via the video platform in many countries. In particular, the agreement governs user access from Swiss IP addresses as well as access from the EU region, EFTA, EEA and other countries outside of Switzerland. For exploitations in these territories included in the contractual arrangements, remuneration is paid by YouTube to SUISA and we pass this remuneration on to the rights holders.
      Manu Leuenberger / SUISA communication department

  2. Linus Walter says:

    Verstehe ich das richtig, für unsere YouTube-Inhalte, die ausserhalb der Schweiz abgespielt werden, erhalten wir nichts?
    Oder habe ich das falsch verstanden?

    • Manu Leuenberger says:

      Lieber Linus
      Zuerst einmal bitten wir für unsere verspätete Antwort um Entschuldigung.
      Zu Deiner Frage: Durch den Vertrag mit Youtube ist das Repertoire der SUISA-Mitglieder für die Nutzung auf der Video-Plattform in einer Vielzahl von Ländern lizenziert (siehe dazu auch unsere Medienmitteilung zum Vertragsabschluss vom 25.9.2013 http://www.suisa.ch/de/news/news-archiv/news/article/2013/09/25/suisa-und-youtube-einigen-sich-auf-lizenzvertrag/). Konkret gilt der Vertrag neben Nutzer-Zugriffen von Schweizer IP-Adressen auch für Zugriffe u.a. aus dem Gebiet der EU, EFTA, EWR und weiteren Ländern ausserhalb der Schweiz. Für Nutzungen in diesen vertraglich vereinbarten Ländern werden allfällige Vergütungen von Youtube direkt an die SUISA ausbezahlt und von uns an die Rechteinhaber weitergeleitet.
      Nochmals sorry für die späte Antwort und viele Grüsse
      Manu Leuenberger / Kommunikation SUISA

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.

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. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Why our members don’t have to notify SUISA whether their works are on Youtube

(Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

“I reckon it might be difficult for SUISA to track all videos of Swiss artists [on YouTube]. I take it that this won’t happen automatically. Is it therefore necessary that I inform SUISA of a video where I am the author and for which I want to get the relevant royalties?”

Automatic reporting between SUISA and YouTube

Authors do not need to send notifications on their works on YouTube. YouTube and SUISA have an automatic reporting in place....read more