Tag Archives: Tariff

Can the blockchain and the bass strike a harmonious chord?

Technological developments that affect the music industry are a constant focus of SUISA’s management committees. Blockchain technology was one of the many important topics on the agenda at the board meetings in October 2018. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Can the blockchain and the bass strike a harmonious chord?

To what extent is blockchain technology in harmony with the interests of music copyright holders and publishers? (Photo: Daphne.t / Shutterstock.com)

At the autumn meetings of the SUISA Board of Directors in Lausanne, musician and researcher Steffen Holly from the German Fraunhofer Institute provided a glimpse into the world of blockchain technology. He showed how blockchain was born from of a combination of existing IT possibilities, using practical examples to illustrate the theory behind the system. He also showed how the development of the music industry and technology are closely related: new instruments give rise to new music, new demand and new technical possibilities. Who would have thought it would be possible to rent music? But streaming services are now licensed by SUISA.

The scientist also recommended assessing whether blockchain is a viable solution for every business model. In other words, critically examining whether the blockchain and the bass really can strike a harmonious chord. He provided some prominent real-world examples (Airbnb, Uber, car rental) and also made reference to musicnow.eu. Launched on the basis of the EU Collective Rights Management Directive, this project aims to use blockchain technology to facilitate collaboration between authors, artists, collecting societies and content users.

Technological developments are a permanent area of focus for SUISA’s Board of Directors and management team. In the recently adopted Strategy 2020, SUISA states its intention to step up its research and development under the heading “New technologies give rise to new forms of use”. Following Steffen Holly’s presentation, the collecting society is looking to engage in dialogue with a member of the musicnow.eu project.

Status of tariff negotiations and personnel changes

In addition to addressing the forward-looking topic of blockchain, Vincent Salvadé reported on the current status of the tariff negotiations between the collecting societies and the user organisations. In recent months, the Federal Arbitration Commission has approved the VN (audio-visual media for screening, broadcasting, online use) and CT 3c (public viewing) tariffs. Approval of CT 4i (integrated digital storage media) is pending, while GT 12 (set-top boxes, virtual video recorders) was appealed by the broadcasting companies.

Other important items on the agenda related to the HR department and the 2019 board elections. Monica Hernandez took over as Head of Human Resources/Training & Development in mid-June. Thanks to her dedication, extensive expertise and wealth of experience, she has quickly settled into her new role. Her colleagues value her professionalism, service mindset and customer-oriented approach, as well as her open, positive attitude.

General board elections will be held at the 2019 Annual General Meeting. With the exception of Bertrand Liechti and Marco Zanotta, who are both stepping down after serving for the maximum period, all directors are eligible for a further term of office. The Board of Directors has appointed a Nomination Committee to look for suitable successors. Its members reported on the status of this search for candidates.

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Technological developments that affect the music industry are a constant focus of SUISA’s management committees. Blockchain technology was one of the many important topics on the agenda at the board meetings in October 2018. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Can the blockchain and the bass strike a harmonious chord?

To what extent is blockchain technology in harmony with the interests of music copyright holders and publishers? (Photo: Daphne.t / Shutterstock.com)

At the autumn meetings of the SUISA Board of Directors in Lausanne, musician and researcher Steffen Holly from the German Fraunhofer Institute provided a glimpse into the world of blockchain technology. He showed how blockchain was born from of a combination of existing IT possibilities, using practical examples to illustrate the theory behind the system. He also showed how the development of the music industry and technology are closely related: new...read more

“Hands-on” – the new Common Tariff K

The new Joint Tariff K applies to events which have taken place since 01 January 2017. An overview of the changes to the concert tariff in force and some answers to frequently asked questions which have arisen based on the experience gathered with the new provisions in the first few months. Text by Chantal Bolzern

“Hands-on” – the new Common Tariff K

Since January 2017, a new concert tariff has been in force in Switzerland and in Liechtenstein. The picture shows SUISA member Seven (in the middle) on stage at the Tonart Festival in Altdorf, where he performed with a trio in March 2017. More information on Seven is available in the brochure “Where the music is new”, 2017 edition. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

What’s new?

There is now one instead of two tariffs. That way, all information that is relevant to customers, and the respective licensing terms and conditions are now combined into one single document. This makes life much easier, especially for event organisers who organise, apart from concerts, also other events such as theatre performances, cabarets etc.

The types of events are defined and explained in more detail and clarity. Apart from concerts, there are now specific event categories for concert-like performances, shows, ballet and theatre. These are intended to help customers to find their type of event and the licensing rates required for calculating the budget more quickly.

The licence fee percentages have been newly defined and reduced for many events depending on the type of event (concert, concert-like performance, show, ballet, theatre).

Apart from concerts, Common Tariff K (CT K) also governs licensing for music appearing in comedy, shows (such as “Art on Ice” or “Masters of Dirt”), sport tournaments with choreographies such as show dances or theatre performances with musical background or bedding. The calculation of the licence fees for comedy, tattoo festivals etc. in particular will become easier since the event is now relevant as a whole for the amount of the licence rate; it is no longer necessary to license individual works at different rates. This also helps making the budgeting process for event organisers easier and reduces the efforts of SUISA.

Small concerts are invoiced based on the works that were actually used (“pro rata temporis” rule) and no longer as a lump-sum. At the same time, licensing based on the costs of the music usage was re-introduced. Thus, the copyright remuneration will be calculated on the basis of the income generated or the costs incurred. The latter specifically applies to concerts which are free of charge and charity events.

Customers may also deduct the costs for external ticket sales up to a lump-sum of 10%, even for small concerts, if they submit the relevant supporting documents. SUISA thus takes into consideration that event organisers nowadays do use external ticket agencies, even for small or non-commercial events.

Performing artists of any recordings that are played by event organisers prior or after the event, or between the live performances, now also grant the event organiser reproduction rights. This entails a slight increase of the licensing rate for neighbouring rights from 0.2% to 0.25%.

Following the afore-mentioned lowering of the licensing fees, there was a review of the discount system. The volume discount is now only granted for small concerts and the contractual customer must be a member of a recognised association of event organisers in order to qualify for a discount.

What has not changed?

Services to concert goers by third parties that are included in the entrance fee, such as the use of public transport, a voucher for an inclusive drink etc. as well as ticket and value-added tax may still be deducted from the income if the relevant supporting documents are submitted.

The minimum licence fee has remained the same and still amounts to CHF 40 per event. Our contractual customers continue to receive the association discount as well as a 2% cash discount if they pay their invoice within 10 days.

Event organisers must submit set lists or lists of the performed works to SUISA. Firstly, SUISA requires such lists so that it can calculate a correct licensing amount. If SUISA does not hold the rights in all the titles, because, for example, copyright protection has already lapsed, the licensing amount is reduced on a pro rata temporis basis. The licensing rate also gets reduced on a pro rata temporis base if music is not used throughout the entire performance, as is the case quite regularly for theatre performances or comedy. Secondly, SUISA requires the lists in order to distribute the income collected to those composers and publishers whose music has been performed during the event.

Answers to frequently asked questions

Why does the new tariff create more administrative effort?
Introducing a new tariff is always an opportunity to check with long-term customers whether the modalities for the notifications of the events are still suitable for both parties. Furthermore, it is possible that with the partial changes to the licensing rates or conditions under the tariff, SUISA requires different information from customers. This mainly affects such concerts for which event organisers had received a licence based on the Common Tariff Kb between 2009 and 2016 (small concerts). Unfortunately, this is linked to an increased administrative effort for customers as well as for SUISA during a transitional period. As soon as we have clarified with individual customers in each case how we can licence and distribute correctly, this will get easier again.

What is a small concert and why is there no longer a specific tariff for it?
Between 2009 and 2016, a proper tariff applied for small concerts, Common Tariff Kb. Since the beginning of this year, small concerts are governed by the same tariff again as major concerts, theatre performances or comedy events.

In order to continue to fall under the “small concert” category, the capacity of the event venue must be no bigger than 999 people, and the income generated from ticket sales may not exceed CHF 15,000 per event. In this segment, the basic licensing rates were lowered from 10% until 2008 via 9.5% in 2016 to 9% for this year. Until 2008 the same rules have applied, and now, from 2017 onwards, apply again for the declaration of the concerts and licensing such as major concerts. This means that customers deliver the same information to us and don’t have to ask themselves each time which category the event falls under and how they should submit their documentation to SUISA.

This is especially a simplification of matters for medium-sized clubs whose capacity is just less than 1,000 people and which have generated more than CHF 15,000 in ticket sales in one instance and less in another. It’s also facilitating matters immensely for the venues that organise cabarets and concerts. Until now, you had to adhere to CT Ka for comedy, dance, acrobatics etc., and CT Kb for concerts.

Why are sponsoring monies or subsidies suddenly taken into consideration as income in the case of small concerts?
The basic idea of copyright is that authors participate in the collections which have been generated from the exploitation of their works. In the event business, the main income source are usually the ticket sales. If an event organiser’s plans for their budget only caters for the music costs such as payment for musicians to be covered by way of third party means, such third party means (sponsoring, subsidies etc.) must be taken into consideration as an income. This rule has already been established in concert tariffs as early as 20 years ago. It applies for all major concerts, comedy and theatre performances and used to apply to small concerts up until 2008. Due to the combination of the two tariffs CT Ka and CT Kb, it now applies to small concerts again since the beginning of this year.

Many non-commercial clubs and stages create annual budgets, where they make a hybrid calculation. They receive subsidies from their municipalities or cantons, but finance themselves from ticket income and turnover generated by the gastronomy on top of that. As long as they assume in their annual budgets that their ticket sales cover the artists’ performance salaries, the new tariff entails no changes for them. For long-term customers it therefore suffices to glance over their old invoices (up until 2008) to see whether a change has taken place. During the tariff negotiations, we undertook thorough calculations and research together with the associations whose results are now confirmed when implementing the tariff: for the vast majority of the event organisers of the non-commercial sector and especially clubs and stages, nothing will change.

The changes do, however, affect event organisers of corporate events or events that are free of charge, but also categories which can only pay artists’ salaries and other costs related to music by means of subsidies or sponsors’ subsidies.

What are non-musical performances at major concerts and what do they entail?
Both the old Common Tariff Ka (item 25 CT Ka) as well as the new Common Tariff K (item 14.1 CT K) include the term “non-musical performances”. We found out in everyday application of the tariff, that it wasn’t always clear to event organisers what is meant by this term. In order to answer these questions in the tariff, we have clarified this term in the new tariff text: it includes sophisticated choreographies, elaborate costumes and costume changes, video installations or light shows which go beyond the ‘must-have’. By doing so, we want to – as is required by copyright law – take performance-related activities into consideration which are not music but are still protected by copyright.

In practice, this means that the entire concept is taken into consideration for concerts of artists such as Beyoncé or bands like Archive, and the event organiser has to pay a lower licensing rate for the copyright in musical works. It also means that even in big stadiums, concerts sometimes will take place without elaborate artistic production and the event organiser will pay the usual basic licensing rate. That does not only apply to big classical concerts but can also be the case for concerts of certain singer songwriters, like Bruce Springsteen or Neil Diamond.

Why were the new provisions of the concert tariff made known so shortly before its introduction?
In June 2016, SUISA had announced that a new tariff had been negotiated with the relevant user associations such as SMPA, petzi, KTV, ATP etc. and that an agreement had been made. The result of the negotiations was submitted to the Federal Arbitration Commission for copyright and neighbouring rights (ESchK) for approval. The EschK approved the new Common Tariff K on 20 December 2016 and the tariff could thus come into force on 01 January 2017. The relevant tariff documents could not be officially published prior the approval had been given by the ESchK. SUISA had no influence on the date of the approval.

Further information:
«Concerts, comedy shows, shows, ballets, etc.» on www.suisa.ch

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The new Joint Tariff K applies to events which have taken place since 01 January 2017. An overview of the changes to the concert tariff in force and some answers to frequently asked questions which have arisen based on the experience gathered with the new provisions in the first few months. Text by Chantal Bolzern

“Hands-on” – the new Common Tariff K

Since January 2017, a new concert tariff has been in force in Switzerland and in Liechtenstein. The picture shows SUISA member Seven (in the middle) on stage at the Tonart Festival in Altdorf, where he performed with a trio in March 2017. More information on Seven is available in the brochure “Where the music is new”, 2017 edition. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

What’s new?

There is now one instead of two tariffs. That way, all information that is relevant to customers,...read more

Tariff negotiations 2016 – an overview

While companies in other sectors are at their busiest during the Christmas period, SUISA “sales” hit their peak time during spring – this is when tariff negotiations must be brought to a conclusion and the approval for the tariffs to be valid from 1st January of the following year must be obtained from the Federal Arbitration Commission for the Administration of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights. Text by Anke Link

The Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (see picture), www.tonhalle-orchester.ch, is a member of orchester.ch, an association of Swiss professional orchestras with which SUISA has successfully reached a new tariff for copyright licence fees for performances by concert consortiums. (Photo: Priska Ketterer / Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich)

SUISA and many of its negotiation partners have agreed upon adding a new clause to the tariffs in the last few years, allowing an automatic extension of the relevant tariff in cases where none of the parties desire a new round of negotiations. This has now shown its benefits: None of the relevant tariffs has been terminated so that it has not been necessary to hold negotiations for these tariffs.

This has opened up additional capacity for the negotiation of new tariffs that come to an end in 2016. At the same time, SUISA has also been able to participate intensively in the negotiation process for tariffs managed by its sister organisations Suissimage and ProLitteris.

As early as in autumn 2015, SUISA had agreed a new Tariff D with orchester.ch, the association of Swiss professional orchestras, which will come into force from 01 July 2016. The tariff has been edited in terms of the wording, but the remuneration and the tariff system remain unchanged. The same applies for Common Tariff HV (hotel TV) and Common Tariff 4 (blank media levy) where an approval of the associations for the new version of the tariffs from 01 January 2017 could be swiftly reached.

Agreement on a new concert tariff from 2017

The negotiation of the new Common Tariff K (CT K) for concerts, concert-like performances, shows, ballet and theatre required more time to settle. Negotiations for this tariff had already begun in December 2013. The preceding tariffs CT Ka and CT Kb had been extended twice, in order to provide enough time for the negotiation of the new tariff.

This turned out to be a good investment as the time was used so that SUISA and its negotiation partners could agree upon a new tariff CT K which will enter into force from 01 January 2017. The new CT K will apply to all concerts and performances which have previously been covered by CT Ka and CT Kb. Individual performance categories have been formulated more clearly in the new tariff.

The tariff structure has also been changed compared to the previous tariffs. A basic criterion – the fact that organisers pay a licence fee based on a percentage of their income – still remains the same. Depending on the type and size of the event, different percentages apply. The different percentage rates take it better into account that there may be additional artistic performances during concerts which influence the character of the performance.

If such additional performances take place they have a diminishing effect on the percentage. In return, the previous discounts were deleted. Only those organisers who are members of an association for organisers may be subject to rebates if the respective association collaborates with SUISA. Overall, the new CT K provides for a fair remuneration and also contributes to an increased legal certainty for all partners.

The importance of the legal certainty can be illustrated by the seemingly never-ending process which preceded the first legally binding and valid Common Tariff 4e (Levy for private copying via smartphones). Rights holders had to wait more than five years until the remuneration due to them could finally be collected. SUISA is trying, wherever possible, to avoid such situations.

Number of tariffs reduced

Negotiations for the new Common Tariff 4i (Levy for integrated digital storage media in devices) which is going to combine the previous common tariffs 4d (MP3 player and hard disc recorders), 4e (mobile phones) and 4f (tablets). Instead of three tariffs, there will only be one, the CT 4i. This is another step towards a reduction of the number of tariffs requested by the public and the politicians.

During the negotiations for the new CT 4i, SUISA and its negotiation partners agreed on a lowering of the tariff rates per GB for smart phones and tablets and a lowering of the tariff rates per GB for hard disc recorders with a storage space of more than 2 TB. That way, the established increased storage capacity of these devices in the market has been taken into consideration.

Unfortunately, SUISA could not reach an agreement for Common Tariff 3a (background music and making available of broadcasts). This tariff procedure is unfortunately in dispute and may – see above – drag on over a longer period of time.

SUISA cooperates with others for further tariff negotiations

Apart from these “main negotiations”, SUISA also supported its sister society ProLitteris with the negotiations on a new Common Tariff 7 (“School tariff”) and other new common tariffs 8  and 9 (levy on photocopying and remuneration for digital networks). All three tariff negotiations could be concluded with agreements whereby a slight increase could be reached for CT 8 and 9.

SUISA also supported the negotiations led by Suissimage for Common Tariff 1 (cable re-transmission) and Common Tariff 12 (virtual video recorders and catch-up TV). An increase could be reached with the negotiation partners for both tariffs.

The broadcasters, however, on the side of the rights holders, have not supported this agreement for the CT 12. They deem the option provided by catch-up TV to skip the ads to be a threat to their business models and therefore wish to directly represent their own interests in the impending tariff approval procedure with the Federal Arbitration Commission.

Even though it has not been possible to reach mutually agreed deals in all negotiations, SUISA and its sister societies did manage to reach agreements in the majority of cases and therefore continue to safeguard the interests of all of its members.

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While companies in other sectors are at their busiest during the Christmas period, SUISA “sales” hit their peak time during spring – this is when tariff negotiations must be brought to a conclusion and the approval for the tariffs to be valid from 1st January of the following year must be obtained from the Federal Arbitration Commission for the Administration of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights. Text by Anke Link

The Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (see picture), www.tonhalle-orchester.ch, is a member of orchester.ch, an association of Swiss professional orchestras with which SUISA has successfully reached a new tariff for copyright licence fees for performances by concert consortiums. (Photo: Priska Ketterer / Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich)

SUISA and many of its negotiation partners have agreed upon adding a new clause to the tariffs in the last few...read more

New Concert Tariff 2017

After some intensive negotiations, SUISA and the association of concert organisers have agreed on a new concert tariff. The new Common Tariff K shall replace the tariffs CT Ka and CT Kb still valid until the end of 2016, and enter into force on 01 January 2017. Text by Chantal Bolzern and Manu Leuenberger

Stefan Buck during a sold out gig (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

According to the SMPA index, Swiss music on Swiss concert stages has been on the upswing (pictured: Stefan Buck during a sold out gig by the band Band Hecht on 24 March 2016 in the Lucerne concert house Schüür). A new concert tariff for the remuneration to composers and lyricists of the performed songs shall be in force with effect from 2017. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

For six years now, the applicable Common Tariffs Ka and Kb have already been in place for concerts, shows and theatre performances. The music business and together with it, the concert market, have progressed further in the meantime. It was time for a new concert tariff which takes the current conditions in the live business into consideration. As always, whenever negotiations are on the cards, SUISA intends to simplify the tariff landscape. This means: reducing the number of tariffs and streamlining structures.

Tariff negotiations for the new concert tariff with the SMPA, Petzi, the Swiss Stage Association as well as other significant trade associations had started in February 2014. After intensive discussions, SUISA and the associations of the concert organisers managed to agree on a new concert tariff in April 2016. From now on, there is only one Common Tariff K which shall replace the two old tariffs Ka and Kb, and enter into force with effect from 01 January 2017.

By way of agreeing this new tariff, SUISA has achieved the intended simplification: There is now only one tariff instead of previously two. The advantage for customers is that they can now locate all the answers relating to their concerts, irrespective of the size of the event, in one single tariff. The animated exchange with representatives from the concert sector had another positive aspect i.e. that important customer concerns – such as tiered licence fees depending on the type of event – could be taken on board and have influenced the creation of the new tariff.

Financial importance of the concert market for SUISA members

The agreement is good news, not least because the concert business has a great significance for SUISA members. The concert and festival landscape in Switzerland is in full swing. SUISA licences more than 20,000 concerts and festivals and looks after nearly 10,000 concert organisers and stages. In 2015, the income from tariffs Ka and Kb amounted to CHF 20.3m. These two tariffs thus nearly made up half of SUISA’s total income from performing rights (CHF 46m).

The financial importance of the Swiss concert market can also be illustrated by means of some figures from the SMPA index for 2015. The SMPA index is issued by the Swiss Music Promoters’ Association. According to their own accounts, members of the association for professional Swiss concert, show and festival organisers more than 80% of the tickets sold in Switzerland were for concerts, shows and festivals.

In line with the 2015 index, members of the SMPA sold 3.6m tickets to an audience amounting to 5.2m of about 1,700 events. At an average ticket price of CHF 78.65 they reached a gross turnover of approx. CHF 357.7m which represents an increase of 11.5% compared to the previous year.

It is positively noteworthy that the number of Swiss artists who are hired for the events has, according to the SMPA index, continued to rise. As such, 1,087 Swiss Acts as well as 1,687 foreign artists participated in SMPA events in 2015. Since 2011, the number of Swiss artists hired for these events has doubled, as per the information provided by the association in a media bulletin dated 21 April 2016.

The new concert tariff CT K

Irrespective of whether Swiss or international artists perform: The new concert tariff CT K shall apply for all events which take place in Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein. Even if the two old tariffs (Ka and Kb) have been contracted to one new tariff, a lot is still the same.

As previously, SUISA will continue to request set lists in future, so that the income can be distributed correctly to the composers and lyricists of the pieces used in the performance. In 2015, SUISA processed 360,000 works arising from the set lists of such events. Based on the set lists, the income from tariffs Ka/Kb could be distributed, resp. paid out to the rightsholders of these works.

The difference between major events and small concerts

In the new concert tariff, the 10% discount continues to apply for all customers if they are members of an association (such as SMPA or Petzi), which support SUISA in its work as mentioned in the tariff wording. As before, major events are distinguished from small concerts. In a nutshell: For small concerts, the volume discount continues to be applicable, but there are no tiered licence fees. For major events, new, tiered licence fee rates have been introduced, but the volume discount has been discontinued.

In practice, this means: Organisers of small concerts are granted up to 20% volume discounts in addition to the association membership discount if they regularly organise concerts. In the case of major events, however, newly tiered licence fee rates for different event types such as concerts, open air festivals, shows, theatre performances etc. shall be applicable. Depending on the type of major event, the base licence rate varies between 3% and 10% of the gross income generated by ticket sales.

With this innovation of the tiered licence fee rates, the diverse significance of music in major events is taken into consideration. The negotiating parties agreed that an open air might essentially depend on the programme and the performing artists, but that the choice of the grounds and additional offers also contribute to the atmosphere and success of a festival. In the case of stadium concerts, on the other hand, artists work with screens, choreographies and elaborate light shows which differentiates them from acoustic concerts in a more intimate circle. Finally, the versatile use of music in the cabaret sector or in theatre performances had to be duly taken into consideration.

Approval and validity of the new tariff

The new Common Tariff K is yet to be approved by the arbitration tribunal in charge, the Federal Arbitration Commission (ESchK) so that it can enter into force with effect from 2017. Once it has been approved, the new Tariff CT K shall act as the basis for the remuneration for music in concerts, shows, and theatre performances etc. which are performed after 01 January 2017. Any events performed up to the end of 2016 shall still be licensed based on the existing Common Tariffs Ka and Kb.

All event organisers that have an agreement with SUIA shall receive a letter with further details on the new tariff in order to facilitate their budgeting of the events in the next year. It is also planned to provide further information via SUISA’s publication channels.

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After some intensive negotiations, SUISA and the association of concert organisers have agreed on a new concert tariff. The new Common Tariff K shall replace the tariffs CT Ka and CT Kb still valid until the end of 2016, and enter into force on 01 January 2017. Text by Chantal Bolzern and Manu Leuenberger

Stefan Buck during a sold out gig (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

According to the SMPA index, Swiss music on Swiss concert stages has been on the upswing (pictured: Stefan Buck during a sold out gig by the band Band Hecht on 24 March 2016 in the Lucerne concert house Schüür). A new concert tariff for the remuneration to composers and lyricists of the performed songs shall be in force with effect from 2017. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

For six years now, the applicable Common Tariffs Ka and Kb have already been...read more

How much copyright remuneration does a concert organiser have to pay?

This is a question that many ask: How much is the copyright fee for concerts? The reply is of interest to both customers and members of SUISA: Concert organisers plan copyright remuneration in their favour into the budgets for their events. SUISA members can calculate their income up front once they know the rules of thumb for the concert remuneration. Text by Chantal Bolzern

How much copyright remuneration does a concert organiser have to pay?

Concert event in the Zurich Hallenstadion: With a capacity from 1,000 people upwards or ticket sales of more than CHF 15,000 gross, the tariff for major concerts applies. (Photo: Marcel Grubenmann)

How much a concert organiser has to pay in terms of copyright remuneration depends on different factors: The size of the concert, number of concerts held per year, association membership, potential rebates etc. An exact amount cannot be predicted in detail without any individual information being provided first. There are, however, some rules of thumb depending on the size of the event.

Small concerts

A concert event is considered to be a small concert and is licensed on the basis of the Common Tariff Kb (CT Kb) as long as the capacity of the club or the area is no more than 999 people and no more than CHF 15,000 ticket sales gross.

For such small concerts, the organiser should budget 9.5% of the ticket sales as the maximum for the copyright remuneration to be invoiced by SUISA. The percentage goes down to 3.5% if more than half of the music played during the concert stems from composers who have been dead for more than 70 years or are not affiliated with any collective management organisation.

The organiser may also benefit from a volume discount if it has entered into an agreement with SUISA. The volume discount can range from 5% to 20% if the event organiser has carried out more than 10 concerts in the previous year. Furthermore, it receives an additional rebate of 10% if it belongs to an association of concert organisers such as SMPA or PETZI.

All in all, an organiser may thus get up to 30% discount if it fulfils all of the contractual provisions. This means specifically that the licence rate for small concerts can be reduced from 9.5% to 6.65%. Finally, a concert organiser has the right to be subject to a 2% cash discount if it has paid the last SUISA invoice within 10 days.

Small concert – simplified calculation example

Concert in a club – 400 people capacity – 350 sold tickets @ CHF 23.00.

Ticket income 350 x CHF 23.00 CHF 8,050.00
Licence base 6.65%, maximum discount (30%) CHF 535.30
– 2% discount (of CHF 535.30) CHF 10.70
= Copyright remuneration CHF 524.60

Major concerts

If organisers carry out a major concert, the licence fee will be calculated based on Common Tariff Ka (CT Ka). Major concerts are considered to be concerts in venues or on areas with a minimum capacity of 1,000 people or for which the organiser has achieved ticket sales of more than CHF 15,000 gross.

In such cases, the organiser should budget a maximum of 10% of the gross income from ticket sales for the copyright remuneration to be invoiced by SUISA. The organiser of a major concert can – as long as it provides all relevant receipts – claim certain deductions from the gross income; for example, any train tickets included in the ticket price, access to the camping grounds and similar expenditure. It can also deduct a lump sum of 10% for pre-sales office costs.

The major concert organiser may also benefit from various rebates as long as it has entered into an agreement with SUISA and sticks to the conditions. It shall receive a volume discount between 5% and 10% if it had organised more than 10 concerts in the previous year. Depending on the capacity of the event venue, the rebate may range from 5% to 15%. Just like with small concerts, there is also a 10% association rebate for major concerts.

As a consequence, organisers of major concerts can benefit of a discount of up to 35% which means that the licence rate can go down from 10% to 6.5%. The 2% discount is also applicable to major concerts if the organiser has paid the last SUISA invoice within 10 days.

Major concert – simplified calculation example

Open Air concert – 11,000 people capacity – 9,985 sold tickets @ CHF 110.00.

Ticket income 9,985 x CHF 110.00 CHF 1,098,350.00
– 10% cost external pre-sales office (CT Ka item 29) CHF 109,835.00
– cost for the public transport in the ticket (CT Ka item 11) CHF 29,995.00
= subtotal CHF 958,520.00
Licence basis 6.5%, maximum discount (35%) CHF 62,303.80
– 2% discount (of CHF 62,303.80) CHF 1,246.10
= Copyright remuneration CHF 61,057.70

Additional remuneration for interval music

The following shall apply to small concerts and major concerts alike: Should music recordings be played during the concerts e.g. as interval music, the organiser will have to pay a remuneration for neighbouring rights. Information on this is available within tariffs CT Ka and CT Kb as well as on Swissperform’s website.

Additional information: tariffs, fact sheets, forms etc.

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  1. Comment cela se passe-t-il si l’on joue mes compositions, que je dirige?
    Merci pour votre réponse.
    Monique Buunk (Nom d’auteur: Monique Droz)

    • Manu Leuenberger says:

      Chère Madame,

      Merci pour votre commentaire. Lorsque des oeuvres sont exécutées en public, des droits d’auteur sont dus, quelque soit l’interprète ou la personne dirigeant l’exécution. C’est l’organisateur d’un concert qui est en charge des droits d’auteur. Il peut arriver que l’auteur soit organisateur de son propre concert. Dans ce cas, des règles particulières s’appliquent. Pour plus d’informations, nous vous invitons à contacter directement notre service clientèle.

      Meilleures salutations
      Manu Leuenberger, SUISA Communication

  2. Frédéric says:

    Vous n’avez rien indiqué pour le cas où le concert porte uniquement sur de la musique non protégée (typiquement musique classique); dans un tel cas, la redevance est logiquement nulle ?

    • Manu Leuenberger says:

      Bonjour Frédéric,
      Merci beaucoup pour le commentaire.
      SUISA n’établit des factures que pour la musique pour laquelle elle représente les droits. Si par exemple, dans un cas donné, tous les compositeurs et arrangeurs sont décédés depuis plus de 70 ans, SUISA n’enverra pas de facture.
      Le genre de musique ne dit rien sur la question de savoir si la musique est encore protégée ou non. Dans la musique classique, de nombreuses œuvres arrangées sont jouées, et l’arrangeur en question est peut-être encore vivant. Dans ces conditions, l’organisateur doit après chaque concert envoyer à SUISA la liste des œuvres exécutées avec des indications sur les compositeurs et les arrangeurs (si certaines œuvres jouées n’étaient pas des œuvres originales). SUISA examine si elle représente les droits ou non.
      Les détails concernant les tarifs peuvent être trouvés dans les textes des tarifs ou demandés à la Division Clients de SUISA.
      Manu Leuenberger, Communication SUISA

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This is a question that many ask: How much is the copyright fee for concerts? The reply is of interest to both customers and members of SUISA: Concert organisers plan copyright remuneration in their favour into the budgets for their events. SUISA members can calculate their income up front once they know the rules of thumb for the concert remuneration. Text by Chantal Bolzern

How much copyright remuneration does a concert organiser have to pay?

Concert event in the Zurich Hallenstadion: With a capacity from 1,000 people upwards or ticket sales of more than CHF 15,000 gross, the tariff for major concerts applies. (Photo: Marcel Grubenmann)

How much a concert organiser has to pay in terms of copyright remuneration depends on different factors: The size of the concert, number of concerts held per year, association membership, potential rebates etc. An exact amount cannot be...read more

Ein Blick auf die Tarifverhandlungen 2015

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Fair play on smartphones for authors at last

Copying music, videos and e-books on a smartphone for their personal entertainment – A freedom consumers have enjoyed for a long time. Authors have not enjoyed fair play on smart phones until now: Thanks to tariff CT 4e which has now finally come into force, rightsholders receive a remuneration from the device manufacturers and importers. Vincent Salvadé, deputy CEO of SUISA, answers questions on the new tariff for smartphones.

Smartphones as mobile jukeboxes: The devices enable consumers to copy protected works for private purposes. Authors of these works now receive a payment based on the blank media levy. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Vincent Salvadé, a levy now has to be paid for smartphones. Who is paying it? Will smartphones become more expensive now?
The levies are paid by the manufacturers or importers of the smartphones. Of course it is up to them whether they shift the levy onto the retail price. Let’s take a look on the price ratio: For devices with 64GB storage, the listed price is around CHF 900. The authors’ remuneration for this storage size amounts to CHF 3.84. This is less than 0.5% of the listed price. VAT and exchange range fluctuations, are, however, examples for factors that impact on the calculation of the sales price for the devices much more than the actual blank media levies. Experience has shown that a remuneration for authors has no significant impact on the end consumer price.

Why does SUISA ask for money at all whenever smartphones are being sold?
Smartphones can also be used to make copies of music, videos etc. for private purposes. In Switzerland, making private copies of works protected by copyright is permitted. In return, the law provides for a remuneration to be paid for the recording media. There are some who are already criticising this system. Swiss consumers, however, benefit from the following advantage: They have the freedom to make copies of copyright protected works for private purposes. The remuneration for the authors is paid by the industry, i.e. the manufacturers and importers of the recording media.

Also worth mentioning: Smartphone levies are charged by all five Swiss collective management organisations. SUISA takes over the administration of the tariff for the repertoires of the other societies.

Who determines the price of the levy and how much is it for smartphones actually?
Collective management organisations such as SUISA have a statutory obligation to negotiate licence fees with the relevant industry and consumer associations. The tariffs must subsequently be approved by the Federal Arbitration Commission for the Administration of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights. If the tariff negotiations between the user associations and collective management organisations ended with an agreement, the Federal Arbitration Commission usually approves the negotiated tariff. If there is no agreement, however, the Federal Arbitration Commission decides on a tariff and uses criteria within legislation and jurisdiction as a basis. It is possible to appeal against the decisions taken by the Commission with the Federal Administrative Court and if necessary, the Federal Supreme Court after that.

The remuneration in the tariff as it has now been approved for the period 2015 to 2016 depends on the storage capacity of the device per gigabyte as shown in the table below.

Copyright Neighbouring rights Total
Up to and including 4 GB CHF 0.091 CHF 0.029 CHF 0.12
Up to and including 8 GB CHF 0.076 CHF 0.024 CHF 0.10
Up to and including 16 GB CHF 0.061 CHF 0.019 CHF 0.08
Up to and including 32 GB CHF 0.053 CHF 0.017 CHF 0.07
Up to and including 64 GB CHF 0.046 CHF 0.014 CHF 0.06

If the storage capacity is more than 64 GB, the same remuneration applies as for devices up to and including 64 GB but at a maximum of 2% of the listed price.

Who gets the money collected by SUISA?
SUISA transfers a part of the collections to the other collective management organisations participating in the tariff. These include Suissimage and the Société suisse des auteurs for audiovisual works, ProLitteris for literary works and photographs, as well as Swissperform for neighbouring rights, which are due to the artists, producers of recordings and producers of radio and TV broadcasts. The collective management organisations have the duty to remunerate the rightsholders they represent. The payout to the rightsholders is made pursuant to distribution rules which have to be approved by the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property. The remaining part of the collections is distributed by SUISA to the rightsholders of musical works. In the case of SUISA, the money is therefore paid to composers, music lyricists, arrangers and their legal successors, or publishers.

Smartphones have been around for a while. Why is it that SUISA has not charged levies for them earlier?
The negotiation on the levies for smartphones have actually already begun in 2008. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to reach an agreement during the talks. In 2010, the Federal Arbitration Commission has approved a tariff for the first time. The Federal Administrative Court has, however, declared the approval to be void due to a procedural error. At the end of 2011, the Federal Arbitration Commission has also approved two new tariffs: one tariff for the period 2010 to 2011, another for the period 2012 to 2013. These new tariffs have also been appealed before the Federal Administrative Court which had been pending until the beginning of this year.

In the summer of 2014, we finally managed to reach an agreement with the negotiation partners. This concord has finally resolved this tricky situation and has subsequently been approved by the Federal Arbitration Commission on 25 November 2014. Now that the deadline for appeals has lapsed, the approval is legally binding.

The time-consuming process surrounding tariff CT 4e is a good example to demonstrate what type of challenges we have to deal with: The approval process for a tariff is taking much too long and should be improved. It has been a while since collective management organisations have asked for this to happen …

What will be the next thing for which SUISA is going to raise a blank media levy?
In the interest of its members, collective management organisations such as SUISA have the duty to keep up with technical developments and to ensure that authors get paid for the new exploitation forms. Private copying has been on the decline since the streaming technologies have emerged during the last few years. And if a copy is being made today, then it is usually made in the “cloud”, in other words, on a central server, which the user accesses via an internet connection. We are currently analysing this development in order to verify whether there is a potential obligation to pay a remuneration for this type of usage form.

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  1. Christian S. says:

    Wahnsinnig? d.h. ich zahle fürs Lied auf CD, dann lad ich es auf’s Handy, zahl ich nochmal, dann spiel ich es im öffentlichen Raum, zahlen bitte! Dann hab ich noch einen MP3 player und bezahle nochmal? Aber moment – ich streame ja nur Musik auf mein Handy über einen bekannten Dienst, den ich monatlich bezahle – wieso bezahl ich da auch nochmal? Wahnsinnig?

    Zudem ist eure Frage zu “Wer erhält das Geld” nicht beantwortet! Ich sehe da nur, wer wieder mal profitiert! Nicht meine lokale Punkband des Vertrauens…

    • Guten Tag Herr S.

      Wenn Sie eine CD erwerben oder einen Song aus einem Online-Store herunterladen, dann gehört diese CD oder Datei Ihnen. Die Musik gehört aber nach wie vor den Erfindern, also den Komponisten und Textern. Wenn Sie die gleiche Musik nun aber auch auf Ihrem MP3-Player oder Smartphone hören wollen, dann dürfen Sie die CD und Songs selbst kopieren. Die Urheber haben aber für diese Privatkopie laut Urheberrechtsgesetz eine Vergütung zugut, denn Sie als Konsument ersparen sich den nochmaligen Kauf einer weiteren CD oder einer weiteren Datei. Klar: Für die Fälle, in denen Musik gestreamt und nicht aufs Handy kopiert wird, braucht es entsprechend keine Vergütung. Dass teilweise Konsumenten Musik nur streamen und nicht auf Handys kopieren, wurde bei der Berechnung der Vergütung berücksichtigt.

      Die Verwertungsgesellschaften stellen diese Vergütung allerdings nicht Ihnen, dem Konsumenten, in Rechnung, sondern den Herstellern resp. Importeuren dieser Geräte. Diese Unternehmen machen Geld damit, dass Konsumenten für Speicherplatz bezahlen, um urheberrechtlich geschützte Werke (Musik, Filme etc.) darauf zu kopieren. Natürlich können Hersteller/Importeure diese Vergütung in den Verkaufspreis hineinzukalkulieren – genauso wie andere Kosten für Herstellung, Entwicklung, Lohn etc. oder die Gewinnmarge. Wie im Blogbeitrag geschrieben haben diese Vergütungen erfahrungsgemäss keinen wesentlichen Einfluss auf die Endpreise der Geräte. Bei einem Smartphone mit 64GB Speicher macht diese Vergütung 3.84 CHF aus – dies sind bei einem Verkaufspreis von rund 850 CHF weniger als ein halbes Prozent.

      Es wäre natürlich schön, wenn man das Geld direkt denjenigen verteilen könnte, deren Musik letztlich auf die Geräte kopiert wird. Hierfür müsste man aber von jedem Konsumenten wissen, welche Songs er auf seinen Geräten hat. Diesen Eingriff in die Privatsphäre will niemand. Zudem wäre dies administrativ zu aufwändig und zu teuer, womit weniger Geld für die Künstler übrig bliebe. Aus diesem Grund wird das Geld nach einem festgelegten Schlüssel verteilt: Massgeblich ist, welche Werke auf Tonträger genutzt und im Radio gespielt werden. Davon profitiert vielleicht nicht Ihre lokale Punkband des Vertrauens oder die regional bekannte Metalband meiner Kollegen. Aber es gewährleistet immerhin, dass auf jene Werke, die aufgrund ihres Erfolgs mehr auf Leerträger kopiert werden, ein entsprechend grösserer Teil abgerechnet wird als auf erfolglose Titel.

      Beste Grüsse

      Giorgio Tebaldi / Kommunikation SUISA

      • Klar nicht erfassbar ist, welche Songs der Konsument auf seinen Geräten hat. Hingegen ist es im Zeitalter der elektronischen Downloads und des Streamens leicht erfassbar, wer welche Songs wieviele male und wie lange ab seinen Servern gestreamt und wie oft zum Download angeboten hat. Auf den Servern der Provider entstehen immer Eventlists, die mit einem einfachen Befehlsscript an die SUISA übertragen werden könnten. Die SUISA wertet die Daten aus und schreibt die Vergütung den Berechtigten Urhebern und Verlägen, Song für Song (d.h. präzise) gut….mehr oder weniger “Erfolg” ist dann nicht mehr das Vergütungskriterium, sondern jeder einzelne gestreamte oder heuntegeladene Song zählt…alle anderen Lösungen sind gelinde gesagt strafrechtlich relevante d.h. strafbare urheberrechtswidrige Vorgänge.

        • Manu Leuenberger says:

          Guten Tag

          Danke für den Kommentar. Der Vergütungsanspruch bei Smartphones wird erhoben für die Privatkopien, die auf den Geräten möglich sind. Damit ist die Vervielfältigung von Musik, Videos, Büchern etc. zu privaten Zwecken gemeint; also z.B. wenn der Nutzer einer Audio-CD auf sein Smartphone kopiert, um die Musik auch unterwegs zu hören. Private Kopien dieser Art können und sollen nicht erfasst werden: Der Kontrollaufwand ist nicht vertretbar, ebenso ist der Eingriff in die Privatsphäre unerwünscht.

          Das Downloaden und Streamen von legalen Quellen ist nicht Teil dieses Vergütungsanspruchs. Mit den lizenzierten Anbietern von Download-/Streaming-Services werden die Vergütungen aufgrund von Nutzungsmeldungen abgerechnet, auf denen die Anbieter die Views, Klicks oder Streams pro Song/Werk ausweisen müssen. Hier verteilen wir nach dem von ihnen beschriebenen Vorgehen mit den Eventlists, wir nennen sie Programme.

          Die Frage ist aber wie verteilt man die Einnahmen aus diesem Vergütungsanspruch, wenn wir bei privaten Kopien aus den erwähnten Gründen nicht registrieren können, welche Titel genutzt werden? Entgegen Ihrer Aussage gibt es hier keine urheberrechtswidrigen Vorgänge. Das Gesetz sieht für solche Fälle eine Regel vor: Wenn der Aufwand für die Verteilung unzumutbar hoch ist, darf aufgrund von statistisch sachgerechten Annäherungswerten verteilt werden (Art. 49 URG). Genau das passiert bei der Leerträgervergütung: Wir verteilen diese Einnahmen anhand der Verteildaten, die wir mit Programmen (Eventlists) in anderen Nutzungsbereichen erhalten. Aus repräsentativen Umfragen haben wir ermittelt, welche Werke für das private Kopieren genutzt werden. Es sind hauptsächlich Kopien von Sendungen oder von Tonträgern. Die Programme der Sender und die Produktionsmeldungen von Tonträgern werden also auch zur Verteilung der Leerträgervergütung beigezogen. Wenn eine lokale Band also eine Sendung in einem Radioprogramm hatte oder auf CD produziert wurde, bekommt sogar diese einen Anteil an der Leerträgervergütung.

          Freundliche Grüsse
          Manu Leuenberger / Kommunikation SUISA

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Copying music, videos and e-books on a smartphone for their personal entertainment – A freedom consumers have enjoyed for a long time. Authors have not enjoyed fair play on smart phones until now: Thanks to tariff CT 4e which has now finally come into force, rightsholders receive a remuneration from the device manufacturers and importers. Vincent Salvadé, deputy CEO of SUISA, answers questions on the new tariff for smartphones.

Smartphones as mobile jukeboxes: The devices enable consumers to copy protected works for private purposes. Authors of these works now receive a payment based on the blank media levy. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Vincent Salvadé, a levy now has to be paid for smartphones. Who is paying it? Will smartphones become more expensive now?
The levies are paid by the manufacturers or importers of the smartphones....read more