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SUISA continues to be a reliable partner, even in difficult times

Dear members, we have been stuck with the corona crisis for 15 months and have been trying, as best as we can, to be a reliable partner for you when it comes to managing your copyright, despite of corona. It is now the second time round that we must hold our General Meeting by circular procedure. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

SUISA continues to be a reliable partner, even in difficult times

SUISA continues to be a guiding light and a reliable partner in these dark times. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Executive Committee, Board of Directors and staff regret very much that there won’t be a physical General Meeting in 2021 again. The General Meeting is the highlight of the yearly cycle of your company. Only a direct encounter with you shows us whether we are on the right track and whether our services cover your needs, or what we might actually have to improve yet.

We also would have liked to discuss in more detail and in person how the financial situation of your Cooperative Society has been developing in these difficult times, now that concerts have no longer taken place and no licensing fees have been collected for them anymore.

The 2020 annual results have been reasonably acceptable (-12%). For the current year’s results, we hope that there will be a relaxation of the event bans and an opening of restaurants so that the losses remain within 10% compared to 2020.

Impact of the event bans only visible after a delay

You are probably also going to feel this decline of SUISA’s collections in the settlements. Lost licence fees for cancelled live events will only result in lower amounts in the settlements which we pay out in the course of 2021 from the 2020 collections. With the 2021 settlements it thus becomes evident with a delay how the corona measures decreed by the authorities affect the pay-out of copyright remuneration.

The same applies for measures which has led to another shutdown in the context of the second wave of the pandemic from 21 December 2020. This will impact on settlements way into the year 2022.

Corona emergency fund for SUISA members

The 2020 General Meeting had decided that an emergency fund should be created for members that have a lower SUISA income due to the corona crisis. This fund continues to exist. SUISA offers its members further possibilities to bridge financial shortages: It is also possible to get advances for future settlements. Finally, there is the option that creators who get into financial hardship situations can get a support payment from the Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers.

Expansion of online services

SUISA is therefore also your point of contact throughout the crisis. We try to be there for you, subject to keeping to a strict expenses discipline when it comes to staff costs.

This is possible, among other things, because of an increased digitisation of the business transactions between you and SUISA. Since mid-May 2021, our “business intelligence” tool, the Royalty Report, has been activated for all rightsholders. It is therefore high time that you get an online access to your SUISA account and that you benefit from the digital services as soon as possible. That way, we can continue to increase transparency and expand our services for our members despite the pandemic.

Related articles
No physical General Meeting in 2021 either | plus videoNo physical General Meeting in 2021 either | plus video Members with voting rights can still co-determine the fate of the SUISA Cooperative by casting their votes in writing. Read more
Full speed aheadFull speed ahead The Corona pandemic continues to direct the course of SUISA’s business. This was clearly perceptible at the Board meeting in April. Which is why it is all the more important to set the course for the future. Read more
Negotiating in the age of corona … and with coronaNegotiating in the age of corona … and with corona Negotiating is one of SUISA’s key functions. SUISA negotiates tariffs and contracts inter alia. It must safeguard the interests of its members, ensure their legitimate demands are understood and accepted, and obtain the best possible terms for musical creation. It does this through discussion and compromise: in a nutshell, through human relations. But last spring, a new player invited itself to the negotiating table: Covid-19. Read more
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Dear members, we have been stuck with the corona crisis for 15 months and have been trying, as best as we can, to be a reliable partner for you when it comes to managing your copyright, despite of corona. It is now the second time round that we must hold our General Meeting by circular procedure. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

SUISA continues to be a reliable partner, even in difficult times

SUISA continues to be a guiding light and a reliable partner in these dark times. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Executive Committee, Board of Directors and staff regret very much that there won’t be a physical General Meeting in 2021 again. The General Meeting is the highlight of the yearly cycle of your company. Only a direct encounter with you shows us whether we are on the right track and whether our services cover your...read more

The Royalty Report is online

News about “My account”: Thanks to user-friendly graphics, the Royalty Report provides a quick overview of how the copyright royalties developed over the last five years and allows individual analyses per mouse click. Text by Claudia Kempf

The Royalty Report is online

The user interface of the SUISA Royalty Report. The data analysis tool is available to all members via the portal under “My account”. (Photo: SUISA)

The SUISA member portal is very popular and is used a lot. More than two thirds of all members have access to “My account” and use the advantages of the portal. Since May 2021, a significant function has been added to the portal: the Royalty Report. With this newly introduced analysis tool, you can create statistical evaluations of your own SUISA income and turn them into graphics.

After all, there is a lot of information in the SUISA settlements. You can access the settlements in “My account” as navigable PDFs. An accumulated evaluation of this data required manual or, in the case of publishers receiving electronic settlements, technical efforts.

This additional effort is now a thing of the past: With the Royalty Report, all members can, simply by clicking on the right button, get answers to questions such as: Which of my works is doing really well in a specific country? Which of my works generated the highest turnover last year? In which areas was a specific work most used: Radio, online or in discotheques?

The Royalty Report is interactive

The basic setting provides an overview of all work usages of the last five years and the current financial year. It shows at first glance: How many works did it take to reach the turnover I have generated? When were the works used, and where? What are the top works and what is the turnover they generated in that time? Did I earn more as a lyricist or a composer, as an original or sub-publisher? Are my works used more on Spotify or Apple Music?

The Royalty Report is interactive. With just one click on a work or a country, for example, the entire appearance of the display is adjusted to the selected work or country. The link sign (chain symbol) in the work list leads you directly to the works database and provides details how the relevant work has been registered at SUISA.

Thanks to various filter options, the income can be shown by different criteria such as settlement date, usage period, country, distribution category, work or online music providers. In order to gain a deeper insight, the selection criteria can be combined in any way. The program also allows for an export of the filtered data to Excel. The settlements and usage periods can be specified further with a click on the arrows in front of the respective selection criteria so that an evaluation is also possible for an individual settlement.

If you have questions on how to use the Royalty Report, the following functions are available:

  • Info buttons: They appear if you hover over a field with your mouse at the top right in the user interface. They contain information about the data which are shown in this area.
  • A user manual summarises the most important functions and contains tips and tricks on the use of the Royalty Report and explanations on the various displays and distribution categories.
  • A video shows the most important user tips:

The Royalty Report is available in English. The manual contains translations of all terms and info buttons which are used in the report.

The Royalty Report is based on the data analysis tool by Microsoft Office. The software developer recommends to use the application on a computer with a browser of the latest generation. Mobile end devices such as smartphones and tablets are, however, not suitable for processing large data volumes.

The member portal will be expanded in the medium term to become a central point of contact for our members so that core tasks of SUISA can be offered more quickly and cost-efficiently. The Royalty Report is an important step into the digital future. A next step is the renewal of the login process so that members can manage their online accounts completely independently.

The access to “My account” and the Royalty Report is open to all SUISA members. Order your login for a personal online user account now: www.suisa.ch/my-account

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News about “My account”: Thanks to user-friendly graphics, the Royalty Report provides a quick overview of how the copyright royalties developed over the last five years and allows individual analyses per mouse click. Text by Claudia Kempf

The Royalty Report is online

The user interface of the SUISA Royalty Report. The data analysis tool is available to all members via the portal under “My account”. (Photo: SUISA)

The SUISA member portal is very popular and is used a lot. More than two thirds of all members have access to “My account” and use the advantages of the portal. Since May 2021, a significant function has been added to the portal: the Royalty Report. With this newly introduced analysis tool, you can create statistical evaluations of your own SUISA income and turn them into graphics.

After all, there is a...read more

Changes to the SUISA organisation chart

In the course of the retirement of our Head of the International Documentation Department, the Executive Committee decided several modifications of SUISA’s organisation chart , taking effect from 1 March 2021. These modifications also entail changes in terms of staff responsibilities. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes to the SUISA organisation chart

Brigitte Küng (image taken during a management seminar in 2012) worked for SUISA for nearly half a century and her last position was that of Head of the International Documentation Department. (Photo: Günter Bolzern)

After more than 48 years at SUISA, Brigitte Küng took her retirement at the end of February 2021.

In 1972, she started her apprenticeship with SUISA and stayed true to SUISA for nearly half a century! Her first role included the distribution of licences for sound recordings in the then MECHANLIZENZ, from 1973 she continued her task after the merger with SUISA. She continued to work in the International Documentation and finally took over the helm of said department which she led successfully up to the date of her retirement.

Brigitte Küng was also responsible for the global database of the “Compositeurs, Auteurs and Editeurs (CAE)” which is nowadays known as IPI (Interested Party Information) and reflects all interested parties in the copyright world. She became a very highly appreciated contact for documentation queries among colleagues around the world. With regards to new collective management organisations, Brigitte Küng held courses for the build-up and maintenance of documentation data. She was travelling several continents to fulfil this task.

We thank Brigitte Küng very much for her many years of loyalty and her excellent work for SUISA!

Wolfgang Rudigier takes over the International Documentation Department

Brigitte Küng’s valuable work is continued by Wolfgang Rudigier. From 1 March 2021 onwards, he has taken over the responsibility for the International Documentation in addition to the Distribution Department. Due to his long-term experience as Head of the Distribution Department, he also holds a well-founded knowledge regarding the documentation sector. Thanks to these skills, synergies can be created, not least because documentation and distribution go hand in hand from a process perspective.

Claudia Kempf now in charge of the Domestic Settlement Inquiries team

In parallel, the group referred to as Domestic Settlement Inquiries which had been located under the Distribution Department was shifted across to the Members Department and therefore to Claudia Kempf from 01 March 2021. The Members Department can, as a consequence of this organisational change, provide a comprehensive service and support and advise SUISA members both in terms of the rights administration agreement and work registrations and distribution queries.

Hansruedi Jung looks after IPI

The IPI (Interested Party Information) was integrated into the IT Department and is now in the remit of Hansruedi Jung, Head of Systems Technology. The IPI is our international database of authors and publishers which reflects member agreements from all over the world. The technical infrastructure of the IPI belongs to SUISA. It issues an invoice to collective management organisations which are using the system for this service provided to them by SUISA each year.

New organisation team leaders

These changes in the SUISA organisation chart also led to re-organisations at team leader levels: Simon Klopfenstein holds the team Domestic Settlement Inquiries from 01 March 2021 and thus changed across to the Members Department.

Eva Bisaz continues to be in charge of the group International Distribution and Settlement Inquiries (sister societies) within the Distribution Department, but has also taken on the group Domestic Broadcasting Distribution from 01 March 2021 onwards.

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In the course of the retirement of our Head of the International Documentation Department, the Executive Committee decided several modifications of SUISA’s organisation chart , taking effect from 1 March 2021. These modifications also entail changes in terms of staff responsibilities. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes to the SUISA organisation chart

Brigitte Küng (image taken during a management seminar in 2012) worked for SUISA for nearly half a century and her last position was that of Head of the International Documentation Department. (Photo: Günter Bolzern)

After more than 48 years at SUISA, Brigitte Küng took her retirement at the end of February 2021.

In 1972, she started her apprenticeship with SUISA and stayed true to SUISA for nearly half a century! Her first role included the distribution of licences for sound recordings in the then MECHANLIZENZ, from 1973 she...read more

A worthy result despite Covid

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

A worthy result despite COVID

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUISA has responded to the crisis

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

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

Supplemental distributions from released settlement liabilities

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

Understanding for customers

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

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

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

A worthy result despite COVID

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

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

Full speed ahead

The Corona pandemic continues to direct the course of SUISA’s business. This was clearly perceptible at the Board meeting in April. Which is why it is all the more important to set the course for the future. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

Report from the Board of Directors: Full speed ahead

Despite adverse circumstances, the Cooperative Society SUISA stayed its course in the interest of its members and principals. (Photo: Lobroart / Shutterstock.com)

Business as usual – this expression may sound odd in Corona year 2. And yet, at the last spring meeting, much remained the (new) same. After one year of Corona, SUISA’s Board and Executive Committee have grown accustomed to meeting via videoconference. Just as they have become inured to the rolling budgeting rendered necessary by the uncertain situation in the cultural sector.

And yet, this year, the first Board meeting was special. After a bumper year in 2019, SUISA saw a downturn in revenues in 2020 – as was only to be expected given the pandemic. However, the decline was less steep than had been feared. Turnover dropped 12% overall. This was primarily due to the drastic fall in revenues from performance rights. Corona-related bans on events, and recurrent business shutdowns led to a 34% decline in revenues from this sector. The most affected were concert licence fees (–51%), restaurants (–46%), entertainment events (–47%) and cinemas (–59%).

Relatively good performance thanks to broadcasting rights and online uses

That total sales “only” declined by 12% was due to a slight increase in broadcasting rights and, above all, to the growth in revenues from online business. Good secondary income and strong cost awareness within SUISA also contributed.

It follows, therefore, that the amount distributable to authors and publishers also declined – by 10.5% overall. Moreover, the Board decided to allocate an unchanged additional distribution of 7% from the released settlement provisions on all uses of works to be settled in 2021.

The business activities of our subsidiary SUISA Digital Licensing, responsible for global online licensing, developed satisfactorily. In 2020, SUISA Digital Licensing generated about CHF 5.5m in revenues. The Board acknowledged the financial situation of SUISA Digital Licensing and the current status of the joint venture Mint Digital Services. Since both companies are still in development, the Board decided the necessary measures to ensure the equilibrium of SUISA Digital Licensing’s balance sheet. SUISA’s claims on Mint for business development costs (under del credere provisions) were extended for an additional year and the additional claim from 2020 was in its turn written off in the financial statements.

The 2021 General Meeting will take place by written correspondence again

In view of the continuing uncertainty with regard to indoor assemblies, the Board decided that the General Meeting would perforce be held for a second time by written correspondence. The Board nominated State Councillor (FDP/Freibourg) to succeed Géraldine Savary who was withdrawing. Video messages from Johanna Gapany, SUISA President Xavier Dayer, and CEO Andreas Wegelin, and information about the 2021 General Meeting to be held by written correspondence is available under www.suisa.ch/en/members/general-assembly.html and on the SUISAblog.

Status of 2021 budget with the ongoing Corona crisis

The uncertain situation in the cultural sector owing to the Corona crisis continues to cause concern. When and how performances will be able to be staged anew, and music halls and theatres will be able to open, is still unknown. As a result, rolling budget planning continues to be the order of the day as in past months. The Board’s Finance Committee will decide in early June 2021 whether the budget approved in December 2020 needs re-adjusting because of Corona.

Thanks to the emergency Corona fund, the Pension Fund for authors and publishers, and the extended rules on advances, SUISA has been able to support its members in these difficult times. In this regard, the Board decided to extend the time limit for the repayment or compensation of advances against current settlements until the end of June 2022.

Mint joint venture to be strengthened

Apart from music publishers – including BMG for Australia, Africa and India – Mint’s customers for online licensing now also include European sister societies. Mint offers their repertoires in bundles to online providers such as Spotify, Apple Music, or Youtube.

By bundling repertoires, Mint is strengthening its market position in online music rights. Despite the small Swiss repertoire, SUISA has become a serious negotiating partner thanks to Mint and SUISA Digital Licensing and the bundling of its repertoire. Depending on the country, its market share of the global repertoire varies between 4 and 10%. At the meeting, the Board defined the conditions to be applied to large European collecting societies wishing to participate in the Mint joint venture. This will further strengthen Mint’s market position in the constantly growing market for online music rights.

Adapting the range of services for members and principals

In the Report on the December meeting, we mentioned that the Board was looking to reorganise the services provided to members and principals with a view to saving costs. As of 2022, principals will only be able to access SUISA’s extended range of services through the online service portal. Comprehensive information on revenues and invoicing will be even easier for principals to find on the portal thanks to the new functionalities. Instead of time-consuming inquiries by phone, letter or email, principals will be able to call up all the data on their relationship with SUISA online through their individual “My account” access. Voting members will have access to these same services via the online service portal; in addition, however, they will continue to be entitled to personal advisory services.

As the above-mentioned Report says, in December 2020, the Board decided that authors and publishers would be admitted as members with full voting rights once they have been principals for at least one year and have received over CHF 3000 (previously 2000) in settlements since first registering as principals. Moreover, members who have received distributions totalling less than CHF 3000 over the last ten years would revert back to the status of principal. This change is in accordance with Article 5.5.4 of SUISA’s Articles of Association. Principals do not have voting rights in the Society, but they are entitled to the same licensing and distribution of revenues from the use of their works; principals have no financial disadvantage over voting members.

These measures – especially the upgrading of services through the members portal – are designed to further enhance SUISA’s efficiency. And, as a result, to distribute a higher share of revenues to authors and publishers.

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The Corona pandemic continues to direct the course of SUISA’s business. This was clearly perceptible at the Board meeting in April. Which is why it is all the more important to set the course for the future. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

Report from the Board of Directors: Full speed ahead

Despite adverse circumstances, the Cooperative Society SUISA stayed its course in the interest of its members and principals. (Photo: Lobroart / Shutterstock.com)

Business as usual – this expression may sound odd in Corona year 2. And yet, at the last spring meeting, much remained the (new) same. After one year of Corona, SUISA’s Board and Executive Committee have grown accustomed to meeting via videoconference. Just as they have become inured to the rolling budgeting rendered necessary by the uncertain situation in the cultural sector.

And yet, this year,...read more

No physical General Meeting in 2021 either | plus video

Members with voting rights can still co-determine the fate of the SUISA Cooperative by casting their votes in writing. Text by Regula Greuter; Videos by Manu Leuenberger

No physical General Meeting in 2021 either

The big room in the Bierhübeli in Berne remains empty: The SUISA “AGM” 2021 will be held based on voting in written format. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger, edited by Likeberry and Schellenberg Druck AG)

Not quite as expected, the Covid-19 pandemic prevents holding a face-to-face General Meeting again this year. The plan was that the Bierhübeli in Berne should be the venue for this year’s event on 25 June 2021. The current situation, however, allows for no reliable planning of the event and the Board of Directors has consequently decided during its meeting on 22 April 2021 that the General Meeting should be held again this year by participation via voting in writing. That way, all members entitled to vote have the opportunity to participate in the AGM without taking a health risk.

Organisational execution

From 25 May 2021 onwards, the documents for the General Meeting will be dispatched to all members entitled to vote (invitation to voting by letter, information on the General Meeting including the agenda items and the voting form). From the day you receive the documents you can complete the personalised voting form, sign it and return it to SUISA by letter no later than 25 June 2021 (25th June is the latest date of receipt).

The results of the votes are then counted by the election office headed by Dr. Bernhard Wittweiler (head of SUISA’s Legal Department).

The results of the vote and election will be formally established by the President, the Secretary, the CEO and the Head of the Legal Department on the basis of the count and published on the SUISA website on 30 June 2021.

Agenda items of this year’s General Meeting

Apart from the usual statutory business, i.e. ratification of the minutes, decisions on the financial statements, the management report and the annual report of the SUISA cooperative and the SUISA group – the General Meeting will be presented with a motion to adapt the general rules on investment and a surrogate candidate for Géraldine Savary who is stepping down from her post.

Adapting the general rules on investment

It is a matter of increasingly social concern to sustainably manage investments. SUISA is also intending to submit to this. This is why the Board of Directors decided to adapt rules on investment of SUISA by adding the criterion “sustainability”. Apart from the main objectives of the investments, i.e. security and liquidity, the criterion of “sustainability” shall now also be anchored into the general investment rules.

Pursuant to the Articles of Association, the General Meeting is responsible for the general investment policy with regards to the collected remuneration (Article 9.2.2 m).

The Board of Directors therefore proposes that the general rules on investment should be supplemented by the criterion of sustainability.

By-election to the Board

Due to Géraldine Savary who is going to step down (former State Councillor SP/VD) a new member for the Board of Directors will be proposed for election. In accordance with the Articles of Association (Article 9.3.2) apart from SUISA members entitled to vote and be elected, “persons who, on grounds of their position or expertise, have a special involvement with SUISA’s activities” can be elected to the Board of Directors. As a consequence, there were active or former Parliamentarians throughout many years who were members of the Board of Directors who bring valuable experience to SUISA with their expertise.

The Board of Directors therefore proposes that Johanna Gapany (State Councillor FDP/FR) to be newly elected to the SUISA Board of Directors.

Johanna Gapany started her political career in her younger days. This led her from the General Council to the Municipal Council of Bulle, she took a seat in the Grand Council of the Canton of Fribourg from 2016 to 2019 until she was elected in 2019 as the first woman of the Canton of Fribourg to the Council of States. A graduate in business economics, she brings professional experience as a marketing manager in various companies and as a communications manager in a private hospital in Fribourg.

Even though there will be no physical General Meeting in 2021, members with voting rights will be able to have their say on SUISA’s business in writing. We invite you to use this opportunity and to vote!

All documents and details regarding the General Meeting can be accessed at www.suisa.ch/en/members/general-assembly.html. Questions on the process and the agenda items can be sent to the Executive Committee by e-mail: gv (at) suisa (dot) ch

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Members with voting rights can still co-determine the fate of the SUISA Cooperative by casting their votes in writing. Text by Regula Greuter; Videos by Manu Leuenberger

No physical General Meeting in 2021 either

The big room in the Bierhübeli in Berne remains empty: The SUISA “AGM” 2021 will be held based on voting in written format. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger, edited by Likeberry and Schellenberg Druck AG)

Not quite as expected, the Covid-19 pandemic prevents holding a face-to-face General Meeting again this year. The plan was that the Bierhübeli in Berne should be the venue for this year’s event on 25 June 2021. The current situation, however, allows for no reliable planning of the event and the Board of Directors has consequently decided during its meeting on 22 April 2021 that the General Meeting should be held again this year...read more

Planning ahead in a crisis situation

Advance planning is particularly important in times of crisis. During the December 2020 meetings of the Board, SUISA looked at the key issue, budgetting, and other relevant topics for the future. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

Report from the Board of Directors: Planning ahead in a crisis situation

Despite a bleak budget forecast, SUISA makes music possible, also in 2021. The photo shows a snapshot of last year’s Label Suisse where SUISA contributed as a sponsoring partner. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli & Dirk Hoogendoorn)

The SUISA Board of Directors dedicated its December meetings mainly to the 2021 budget. During the current crisis situation due to the pandemic, the projections are even more difficult, compared to 2019. It is possible that there may be major deviations regarding the degree of how the budget is met. In addition, the 2020 budget was revised last year at the end of April during the running financial year and the Executive Committee worked on the basis of a corona budget with new targets for the remaining eight months.

In December, the Board of Directors approved the following cornerstones for the 2021 budget:

2021 income has been budgeted at 20.7% less than the results from 2019, i.e. the financial year before the start of the crisis. Compared to the very cautious corona budget for 2020, however, it is 6.7% higher. The income from performing rights is set at 37% below the 2019 figures. This is due to the event bans resulting from corona ordinances and regulations.

The 2021 costs were budgeted at about 5% less than those for 2019. They are, however, 20% lower than the figure provided in the revised corona budget 2020.

Several factors play a role when it comes to how cost is developing: Apart from savings in terms of personnel, there are significant cost segments in the IT and securities expenses. Savings are planned for personnel costs, on the one hand due to retirements and associated restructuring, and on the other hand due to the outsourcing of 11 staff into the subsidiary Mint Digital Services AG.

When it comes to the IT segment, the Board of Directors thinks it is more important to maintain innovation and to partially expand on it in order to retain competitiveness than to just implement mere saving measures. Efforts to save money which are too strict often backfire and lead to an unwanted slowing down of the development of our service ranges.

Finally, the securities expenses are a budget item which is very hard to estimate per se. Luckily, the Board of Directors could establish that the financial markets have meanwhile recovered from their collapse in March 2020 and that financial investments are thus again back on the levels of last year. For 2021, the Board has budgeted a much lower finance expenditure than in the 2020 corona budget.

Despite the bleak budget outlook, the Board of Directors decided that the cost deductions for the 2021 distributions should remain unchanged. Executive Committee and Board of Directors expect that the amounts from released liabilities can compensate for the decrease in revenue and thus for an increase in the cost to revenue ratio.

New service range catalogue and minimum fee for SUISA membership

The Board of Directors also covered the service range offered to members and principals in its December meeting. SUISA now holds more than 12,600 members who are entitled to vote and 26,700 principals. Unfortunately, of the 40,000 rights holders, only 60% generate significant income. More than a third of all entitled rights holders never receive a distribution because their works are neither performed, recorded, broadcast nor used online. All rights holders were able to use all of SUISA’s service ranges in the past. The digitisation led to the creation of online services (“My account” portal). Self-service options available in the portal for rights holders are going to be further expanded.

The Executive Committee thus worked out proposals how costs could be saved by offering service ranges to principals only via online features. This measure would save working time and thus staff costs. As a consequence, the Board of Directors now decided to adopt the conditions for membership. From now on persons who have been principals with SUISA for at least one year and have been paid out a minimum of CHF 3,000 (previously CHF 2,000) will become members of SUISA. Principals shall, from 2022 onwards, only be able to access SUISA’s range of services via the online portal “my account”.

Changes in the distribution and investment rules

Further business discussed at Board level was the approval of new distribution rules, among other for the collections from blank media levies and the change of the investment rules regarding the criterion of sustainability of financial investments.

Flexible management in times of crisis

Finally, the Board of Directors decided to create a conference of Presidents which is meant to replace the previous corona task force. Based on the reporting of the Executive Committee, it is scheduled to determine the impact of the ordinances and regulations by the authorities on SUISA’s business on a monthly basis and highlight need for action to the Board of Directors. Members of the conference of Presidents are Géraldine Savary, Roman Camenzind, Rainer Bischof, Marco Neeser and Xavier Dayer.

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Negotiating in the age of corona … and with coronaNegotiating in the age of corona … and with corona Negotiating is one of SUISA’s key functions. SUISA negotiates tariffs and contracts inter alia. It must safeguard the interests of its members, ensure their legitimate demands are understood and accepted, and obtain the best possible terms for musical creation. It does this through discussion and compromise: in a nutshell, through human relations. But last spring, a new player invited itself to the negotiating table: Covid-19. Read more
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  1. hermann says:

    Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren
    ich habe ihren Artikel mit Aufmerksamkeit gelesen und ich habe absolut Verständnis für die Aussagen und Denkweisen. Sie haben die Aufgabe ihre Mitglieder und Auftraggeber bestmöglich zu versorgen.
    Meine Sicht der Dinge ist etwas differenzierter. Die vielen Betriebe und Vereine die durch Covid 19 stark eingeschränkt wurden, von Bundesgeldern und auch von rückzahlbaren Krediten (Covid19-Krediten) belastet sind, sollen den Jahresbeitrag ohne Berücksichtigung der aktuellen Situation bezahlen.
    Das sehe ich auf keinen Fall so, denn der FC Ebikon ist einer der betroffenen Fussballvereine in der Schweiz, die ihren Betrieb einstellen musste. Das heisst, das der Trainingsbetrieb und aber auch der Betrieb unseres Clubhauses eingestellt werden musste, dies wurde so angeordnet. Somit hatten wir nicht die Möglichkeit das gesellschaftliche Leben, den Clubbetrieb mit Musik, Filmen, Videos etc zu nützen. Das heisst konkret, dass wir die Rechnung nicht in diesem Umfange bezahlen werden, sondern im Umfange der Nutzungsmöglichkeiten die staatlich verordnet sind.
    Falls der Trainingsbetrieb per 1.3. oder dann hoffentlich per 1.4.21 wieder gestartet werden kann, erwarte ich eine angepasste Rechnung von Ihnen. Weiter hätte ich erwartet, dass sie der aktuellen Corona Situation Rechnung tragen und sie eine partnerschaftliche und faire Rechnung versenden.
    Für eine Stellungnahme bitte ich sie und grüsse Sie freundlich
    Sebastian Hermann
    Finanzchef FC Ebikon

    • Sehr geehrter Herr Hermann

      Danke für Ihre Nachricht.

      Die SUISA ist sich bewusst, dass viele Betriebe und auch Sportvereine wie der FC Ebikon unter den Folgen der behördlichen Massnahmen zur Eindämmung der Corona-Pandemie leiden. Denn den Musikschaffenden, den Mitgliedern der SUISA, ergeht es in diesen schwierigen Zeiten gleich.

      Damit verbunden hält die SUISA ihre Dienstleistung aufrecht, öffentliche Musiknutzungen zu erlauben, aber hat schon im Frühling 2020 zugunsten der Lizenznehmerinnen und -nehmer einige ihrer Modalitäten den ausserordentlichen Umständen angepasst.

      Die Kundinnen und Kunden der SUISA sind in den verschiedensten Wirtschaftszweigen tätig. Teilweise sind und waren aufgrund der behördlichen Verordnungen die Musiknutzungen sogar regional unterschiedlich verunmöglicht. Für die nachweislich nicht erfolgten Nutzungen entfallen die Vergütungen für die Urheberrechte.

      Damit der Nachlass korrekt dem individuellen Einzelfall entsprechend in Abzug gebracht werden kann, kommen aus administrativ-technischen Gründen differenzierte Verfahren zur Anwendung. Speziell bei Lizenznehmerinnen und -nehmern des Gemeinsamen Tarifs 3a (GT 3a) für Hintergrundunterhaltung können die Termine der Betriebsschliessungen von Unternehmen zu Unternehmen sehr stark variieren.

      Die konkreten Daten der Betriebsschliessung können deshalb über ein elektronisches Kontaktformular gemeldet werden. Nach Prüfung der Angaben erfolgt eine Gutschrift gemäss dem Gemeinsamen Tarif 3a. Der Wert dieser Gutschrift kann je nach behördlich verordneten Schliessungen wegen Covid-19 variieren.Die Gutschrift wird in der folgenden Jahresrechnung abgezogen.

      Das Kontaktformular steht zur Verfügung unter: http://www.suisa.ch/3a. Dort sind auch weitere Informationen zu finden, wie die SUISA ihren Kundinnen und Kunden entgegenkommt: http://www.suisa.ch/de/suisa/massnahmen-der-suisa-bezueglich-der-corona-pandemie/informationen-fuer-kunden.html

      Für Fragen stehen wir Ihnen selbstverständlich gerne zur Verfügung.
      Freundliche Grüsse
      Kundendienst GT 3a

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Advance planning is particularly important in times of crisis. During the December 2020 meetings of the Board, SUISA looked at the key issue, budgetting, and other relevant topics for the future. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

Report from the Board of Directors: Planning ahead in a crisis situation

Despite a bleak budget forecast, SUISA makes music possible, also in 2021. The photo shows a snapshot of last year’s Label Suisse where SUISA contributed as a sponsoring partner. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli & Dirk Hoogendoorn)

The SUISA Board of Directors dedicated its December meetings mainly to the 2021 budget. During the current crisis situation due to the pandemic, the projections are even more difficult, compared to 2019. It is possible that there may be major deviations regarding the degree of how the budget is met. In addition, the 2020 budget was revised last...read more

Negotiating in the age of corona … and with corona

Negotiating is one of SUISA’s key functions. SUISA negotiates tariffs and contracts inter alia. It must safeguard the interests of its members, ensure their legitimate demands are understood and accepted, and obtain the best possible terms for musical creation. It does this through discussion and compromise: in a nutshell, through human relations. But last spring, a new player invited itself to the negotiating table: Covid-19. By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

Negotiating in the age of corona … and with corona

The tariffs that are being negotiated now, during the corona crisis, are intended to apply in better times when music will hopefully be played again. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli & Dirk Hoogendoorn)

The dynamics have changed. Talks are now held mostly by videoconference. In other words, human relations take place through an interposed screen. This makes it more difficult to observe non-verbal reactions to a proposal, or simply to understand one’s counterparts. We must adapt … and regret the days when a handshake symbolised agreement.

Moreover, the crisis tends to freeze negotiating positions. On the one hand, the economy is in trouble: large events are banned, and the country goes from lockdown, to unlockdown, to re-lockdown. On the other, artists’ and creators’ revenues are in free fall. Under the circumstances, it is more difficult to make concessions and reach a compromise. Everyone is determined to protect what little they have left.

So what strategy should SUISA now adopt?

Firstly, certain sectors are clearly less impacted by the crisis than others. Online usages, for example, are not lagging: people are too scared – or are not allowed – to go to the cinema, so they watch a film on VoD. Music streaming is also doing well. These are therefore the areas SUISA should focus on to negotiate the best terms for its members. Who, for their part, are having a truly hard time.

“It is our duty today to prepare for the future and to support the equitable implementation of legal principles in favour of our members.”

We must, however, avoid one pitfall. In many areas, the fall in users’ revenues automatically has negative consequences for authors: after all, authors’ royalties are calculated as a percentage of users’ revenues. Users should not take advantage of the crisis to obtain better terms from SUISA. Otherwise authors will lose twice. We have had to remind our partners of this.

But the hard truth is that the live entertainment sector is in agony. Last spring, we interrupted certain negotiations hoping to start them again when the sun came back. After a short reprieve, the clouds are now building up again … and the tariff process takes time. Now, at the end of 2020, we are negotiating tariffs which will only come into force in 2022 when (as we dare hope) the crisis will be well behind us. It is our duty today to prepare for the future and to support the equitable implementation of legal principles in favour of our members. That is certainly not easy when our partners are losing money. But it is our responsibility for a better future.

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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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Negotiating is one of SUISA’s key functions. SUISA negotiates tariffs and contracts inter alia. It must safeguard the interests of its members, ensure their legitimate demands are understood and accepted, and obtain the best possible terms for musical creation. It does this through discussion and compromise: in a nutshell, through human relations. But last spring, a new player invited itself to the negotiating table: Covid-19. By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

Negotiating in the age of corona … and with corona

The tariffs that are being negotiated now, during the corona crisis, are intended to apply in better times when music will hopefully be played again. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli & Dirk Hoogendoorn)

The dynamics have changed. Talks are now held mostly by videoconference. In other words, human relations take place through an interposed screen. This makes it more difficult to observe non-verbal reactions to...read more

Income and expenditure, investments and an anniversary

A wide-ranging list of topics was on the agenda for discussion at the meetings of the SUISA Board on 28 and 29 September 2020. For the first time after the disruption caused by corona, a part of the meeting participants met in Lausanne while respecting the protective measures in person, while some members of the Board of Directors joined via videoconferencing from their home office. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

Report from the Board: Income and expenditure, investments and an anniversary

Snapshot of the Label Suisse Festival 2020 in Lausanne (to be seen in the picture: Corin Curschellas and Ursina Giger from the trio La Triada). The rights management monopoly of SUISA has a central significance for the cultural development and promotion of music in its entire diversity in Switzerland; that is the persuasion of the SUISA Board of Directors. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli & Dirk Hoogendoorn)

The Board of Directors took note of the fact that the situation regarding the collections in the crisis year have, so far, remained stable compared to the assumptions made in April. Expectations made in the corona budget that had been created in the spring during lockdown were even slightly exceeded on the collections side. Nevertheless, it is very likely that SUISA will close its 2020 financial year with a decrease in income of about 25% compared to the previous year. The expenditure so far is also within the economy budget, and at 12.7% less expenses even better than anticipated.

Christoph Trummer, Head of Political Projects at the Professional Association of Freelance Musicians, Sonoart, informed the Board members about the current state of affairs and the future development of the support measures for music creators. It shows that the cultural associations managed during the covid-19 crisis to take a joint and persistent stance vis-à-vis Parliament, but also offices and authorities, to speak with one voice and to obtain the support for creators and artists that is so urgently needed.

Expenses per tariff from collections to distribution

A rather pleasant result of the cost unit calculation was presented. Said calculation shows how high the expenditure per tariff is from collection to distribution. As a matter of fact, expenses are not the same for all tariffs, depending whether we must issue invoices to many individual customers or just a few, and whether the market survey and coverage is costly.

The costs for the collections and the distribution of copyright remuneration for concerts are, for example, lower than for events held by clubs or associations. In the former case, we often deal with professional event organisers and promoters who usually are aware of their duties when it comes to authors. In the case of events held by associations, sports clubs or office parties the people in charge organising these events often have to be made aware of their obligations.

Cost shares overall did, however, fall per tariff in the survey year 2019. This is because higher secondary income from securities income could be used to cover a large part of the costs. The SUISA Executive Committee is going to continue to explore all possibilities to process collections and distributions in a more cost-effective way. An important element for this shall be the continued automation of the licensing process: Event organisers and promoters shall be able to send online notifications for their events, in an uncomplicated manner. If they do not do so, the system is set to find events on the basis of key word searches and initiate the collection process.

Financial affairs

For the subsidiary Mint Digital Services, the SUISA Board of Directors approved the hypothecation of a securities depot as a guarantee, instead of the guarantee of surety planned for the summer for the licensing of large publishing catalogues.

The Board of Directors is, pursuant to the Articles of Association, responsible for the financial matters of SUISA. In general, the monies are supposed to be invested for the period which lies between the time of receipt of payment from the licensees until the distribution work has been finished and the payments have been made to rights owners. The investments are made on the basis of regulations. Due to the initiative of a member of the Board of Directors, this set of regulations including “security” and “reasonable return of investment” was extended by the criterion “sustainability”.

Past and future

SUISA turns 100 in 2023. The first preliminary preparations and planning work for the anniversary were launched. Inspired by a suggestion of the SUISA Communications Department, deliberations were made how the round birthday of the cooperative could be celebrated adequately. Possible jubilee projects are set to be worked on further.

Furthermore, the Board took note of a legal expert opinion on SUISA’s monopoly position and its future on a licensing market for copyright which has begun to open up. The rights management monopoly has already disappeared in the online rights sector. Latest developments show that SUISA is also facing increased competition in other rights management areas such as by foreign agencies which directly license concerts that take place in Switzerland. In the meantime, SUISA remains, due to the statutory provisions, obliged to a large degree to manage the rights belonging to its field of activity as comprehensively as possible, the expert opinion states.

The Board of Directors holds the view that the rights management monopoly of SUISA needs to be strengthened because it has a central significance for the cultural development, the promotion of music in its entire diversity in Switzerland for authors, music promoters and for consumers. The Executive Committee was tasked to take the necessary measures to inform the authorities and the public.

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

Your email address will not be published.

A wide-ranging list of topics was on the agenda for discussion at the meetings of the SUISA Board on 28 and 29 September 2020. For the first time after the disruption caused by corona, a part of the meeting participants met in Lausanne while respecting the protective measures in person, while some members of the Board of Directors joined via videoconferencing from their home office. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

Report from the Board: Income and expenditure, investments and an anniversary

Snapshot of the Label Suisse Festival 2020 in Lausanne (to be seen in the picture: Corin Curschellas and Ursina Giger from the trio La Triada). The rights management monopoly of SUISA has a central significance for the cultural development and promotion of music in its entire diversity in Switzerland; that is the persuasion of the SUISA Board of...read more

Report of the task force of the SUISA Board of Directors – end of June 2020

In April 2020, SUISA’s Board of Directors set up a working group to respond as quickly as possible to the negative financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis on SUISA and to identify cost-saving measures together with the Executive Committee.

Report of the task force of the SUISA Board of Directors - end of June 2020

In view of the expected negative economic consequences of the lockdown on SUISA, initial cost-saving measures were taken and a corona budget was drawn up. (Photo: Yuttapon Busu / Shutterstock.com)

Several meetings were held for this purpose, and we would like to share with all SUISA members the main points arising from these ongoing discussions.

The Executive Committee estimates that the losses in connection with the Covid-19 crisis currently amount to around 25% of budgeted revenues for 2020. Initial cost-cutting measures have already been taken to reduce costs, provided that negative impacts on SUISA’s regular operations and important development projects (e.g. online access to “My Account” for members, self-service portal for clients) are avoided.

The issue of short-time work was discussed as a possible solution to reduce costs. SUISA’s Executive Committee drew the attention of the task force to the fact that short-time work would currently have a negative impact on the collection of royalty income, especially in the area of smaller performances, and on SUISA’s regular operations. Although almost all concerts between the end of March and the end of May were cancelled, the work of SUISA’s staff has not yet decreased significantly, partly because additional services such as the emergency support fund are now being provided for members.

The Executive Committee drew up a corona budget, which now serves as a reference basis (the budget for 2020, which was adopted in autumn 2019, is no longer realistic due to the crisis). In the corona budget, the reduction in collections is offset by using the funds normally released for our supplementary distributions to cover costs. For this purpose, an upper limit was set for the use of the released totals. It is therefore unlikely that there will be any supplementary distribution next year.

The task force clearly spoke out against an increase of the current maximum deduction of costs of 15% in the distributions to members. The Executive Committee is therefore urged to undertake all reasonable cost savings.

The task force and the Executive Committee are well aware that the economic consequences of the lockdown and especially the ban on events in spring 2020 may linger on for longer and that they are not yet immediately visible: It will therefore examine all realistic savings measures not only in the short but also in the medium term. In this context, it is also important to consider which services could then no longer be provided to members for cost reasons.

All the above items were approved by the Committee for Finance and Controlling and the Board of Directors.

The task force will continue to meet monthly with the Executive Committee to discuss further developments. It will report to the full Board of Directors at every opportunity so that the latter can take decisions quickly if the situation so requires.

The task force:

Xavier Dayer
Marco Neeser
Rainer Bischof
Roman Camenzind

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Leave a Reply

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

Your email address will not be published.

In April 2020, SUISA’s Board of Directors set up a working group to respond as quickly as possible to the negative financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis on SUISA and to identify cost-saving measures together with the Executive Committee.

Report of the task force of the SUISA Board of Directors - end of June 2020

In view of the expected negative economic consequences of the lockdown on SUISA, initial cost-saving measures were taken and a corona budget was drawn up. (Photo: Yuttapon Busu / Shutterstock.com)

Several meetings were held for this purpose, and we would like to share with all SUISA members the main points arising from these ongoing discussions.

The Executive Committee estimates that the losses in connection with the Covid-19 crisis currently amount to around 25% of budgeted revenues for 2020. Initial cost-cutting measures have already been taken to reduce costs, provided that negative impacts on SUISA’s regular...read more