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Remuneration for private copying – new CT 4i as of 1 July 2022

Copying music, videos and e-books for their personal entertainment: Consumers in Switzerland have been enjoying this freedom for a very long time. For several years, rightsholders have been paid royalties for copies made on smartphones and tablets. Starting this summer, they are now also going to receive remuneration for copies on laptops and external hard drives. Text by Anke Link

Remuneration for private copying – new CT 4i as of 1 July 2022

With the expansion of Common Tariff 4i, rightsholders will also receive remuneration for private copies of their works on laptops and external hard drives from July 2022. (Photo: Rawpixel / Shutterstock.com)

Some 30 years ago, the fact that you could make tons of music copies on audio cassettes kicked off private copying levies to be anchored into legislation. Since then, it has been permitted in line with the Swiss Copyright Act to make copies of protected works for the use in people’s private circles or home lives. The range of blank media subject to a licence fee has increased in the course of technological developments; today, digital storage built into devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops is predominantly relevant.

In return for the many ways in which music, films and other works can be stored, authors and performers of music, filmmakers, writers, etc. are entitled by law to remuneration for these private copies.

Such a levy must be paid by the manufacturers and importers of the recording and storage devices. The collective management organisation regularly negotiate with the associations of these companies about the level of the levy and for which memories it must be paid. The licence fee for private copying is then collected by SUISA according to so-called “Common Tariffs” for all Swiss collective management organisation and distributed to the respective rightsholders.

Levy for private copies on laptops and external hard disks

In the summer of last year, the associations agreed with the collective management organisation that from 1 July 2022 memory in laptops and notebooks as well as external hard drives is also going to be considered blank media subject to a mandatory levy. These storage facilities therefore now also fall within the scope of Common Tariff 4i (CT 4i). In the case of external hard disks, it does not matter whether they are magnetic hard disks (hard disk drives) or contain another storage technology (solid state drive or a combination of both). It only matters that they are intended for connection to personal computers (desktop computers, laptops, notebooks or tablets). Connections like these can be made via cable (e.g. USB or Firewire) and via ports such as BUS and PCI slots of personal computers. External hard disks are all storage extensions for personal computers, regardless of whether they are connected or installed outside of the computer. However, so-called “server grade” hard disks, which are intended for the server infrastructure of companies, are exempt from the obligation to pay a fee.

In contrast to the previous CT 4i, which still provided for different fees according to the equipment category, uniform remuneration rates will apply to almost all storage facilities covered by the tariff from 1 July 2022. The fees were based on the corresponding price of the devices and external hard disks, and the proportion of the respective storage devices used in connection with private copying. On this basis, uniform fees were calculated and negotiated, which are now only dependent on storage capacity and apply per device or per external hard disk. Only MP3 players are still subject to separate levies:

For MP3 players and the like:

Storage capacity per device
up to and including 4 GB CHF 2.40
up to and including 8 GB CHF 4.20
up to and including 16 GB CHF 4.70
up to and including 32 GB CHF 7.80
more than 32 GB CHF 12.40

For all other devices covered by the CT 4i or for external hard disks:

Storage capacity per device/hard disk
over 16 GB up to and including 32 GB CHF 2.10
up to and including 64 GB CHF 2.90
up to and including 128 GB CHF 3.85
up to and including 256 GB CHF 4.80
up to and including 512 GB CHF 5.60
up to and including 1 TB CHF 6.50
up to and including 2 TB CHF 7.50
more than 2 TB CHF 8.30

With the exception of MP3 players, the fees are only due for devices or external hard drives with a storage capacity of more than 16 GB. For external hard disks, a maximum fee of CHF 4.50 also applies, even if the storage capacity is very high. This takes into account the fact that the prices of external hard drives are lower compared to the other devices covered by the levy. Value-added-tax is owed in addition in each case.

Registration of storage devices subject to a mandatory levy

Even though there is such a uniform levy for almost all storage devices, it is important in the context of the correct distribution of the collected amounts to the rightsholders that the manufacturing and importing companies distinguish between the device categories when registering their storage devices that are subject to a mandatory levy. This is due to the fact that films and movies are copied to laptops, tablets and external hard drives more frequently than to smartphones, for example. Levies collected for these memories must thus be split in a different way than the fees collected for smartphones. Only in this way is the money allocated to the correct creators and any other rightsholders who are entitled to it. SUISA will provide its clients with corresponding reporting forms from July 2022, which will form the basis for invoicing.

This extension of CT 4i ensures that consumers can continue to copy their favourite works to the devices of their choice without having to have a guilty conscience and that those who create these works are compensated for doing so.

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Copying music, videos and e-books for their personal entertainment: Consumers in Switzerland have been enjoying this freedom for a very long time. For several years, rightsholders have been paid royalties for copies made on smartphones and tablets. Starting this summer, they are now also going to receive remuneration for copies on laptops and external hard drives. Text by Anke Link

Remuneration for private copying – new CT 4i as of 1 July 2022

With the expansion of Common Tariff 4i, rightsholders will also receive remuneration for private copies of their works on laptops and external hard drives from July 2022. (Photo: Rawpixel / Shutterstock.com)

Some 30 years ago, the fact that you could make tons of music copies on audio cassettes kicked off private copying levies to be anchored into legislation. Since then, it has been permitted in line with the Swiss Copyright Act to make...read more

Music in video games: Licensing and Addendum to Rights Administration Agreement

What is a video game without sound? Video games are hard to imagine without music. Many games become huge hits precisely because of their music which is often even released as a separate soundtrack. What is the proper licensing procedure for music in video games and what is the purpose of the new Addendum to the Rights Administration Agreement? Text by Michael Wohlgemuth

Music in video games: Licensing and Addendum to Rights Administration Agreement

Gaming corner at the internet café: every game has to have the right sound. (Photo: OHishiapply / Shutterstock.com)

The video-game industry has been chalking up continuous growth for years. The corona crisis gave earnings in this sector an additional boost. Never before have so many people consumed video games, whether on their smartphones, tablets, consoles, or PCs.

Although music plays a significant part in this success story, video-game producers have so far only cooperated with collective management organisations in isolated cases. Instead, the producers have worked directly with authors and artists who do not belong to a collective management organisation, which has enabled them to sign what are known as “buy-out dealsˮ.

This is mostly still the case today. To improve its members’ competitive chances in this flourishing market, SUISA has prepared a new addendum to the rights management agreement.

Buy-out
In a buy-out, the author transfers all their rights of use in their works to the producer against payment of a single lump-sum amount. As a result, once the purchase price is paid, the author is not entitled to any further revenues from royalties or neighbouring rights. As a rule, members of collective management organisations cannot sign buy-out agreements because they have transferred their rights of use to their collective management organisation. The very purpose of the collective management organisation is to ensure that its members receive royalties for every new use of their works. Clearly, a compromise had to be found in the case of video games (see text).

Basic principles

What music rights must a video-game producer acquire?

To produce or reproduce a video game, the producer must acquire the following rights:

  • Synchronisation right: This is the right to set an audiovisual work (in this case, a video game) to music. SUISA members (or their publishers) may settle the synchronisation rights directly with the video-game producer.
  • Reproduction and physical distribution rights: These rights are necessary to reproduce a musical work on a video or data carrier and to distribute the recording thereafter. SUISA manages the reproduction and distribution rights. The new addendum provides that these rights may be excluded from the rights administration agreement (for more, see the section “New Addendum to the Rights Administration Agreement for SUISA members”).
  • Online rights (download and streaming): Nowadays, most games are also – or only – sold on Internet for the buyer to download. In order to make a game available for downloading, the video-game producer or the online distributor (e.g. the platforms Steam or Origin) need to acquire a downloading licence.
    Certain video games can only be played by streaming on a browser, for example. This then requires a streaming licence.
    SUISA manages these online rights. Such rights cannot be excluded from the rights administration agreement by the addendum.
  • Neighbouring rights: Neighbouring rights are the rights of the performers and the rights in the sound recording. These two rights are collectively referred to as “Master Rights”.
    Authors who play their compositions themselves and produce their own recordings may licence these rights, as a performer and recording producer combined, directly to the video-game producer for all uses. Otherwise, the owner of the Master Rights must license them separately to the video-game producer. SUISA does not manage these rights.

For legal questions relating to video games, please contact our Legal Department: legalservices (at) suisa (dot) ch

New Addendum to the Rights Administration Agreement for SUISA members

Buy-outs are, as we stated above, customary practice for video-game producers. This has repeatedly placed SUISA members at a competitive disadvantage on the video-game music market because of their membership. Producers have preferred to work with authors who do not belong to a collective management organisation and who can therefore freely dispose of their rights.

The new addendum is designed to eliminate the competitive disadvantage for our members while maintaining the basic fundamentals of collective management. Since buy-outs cannot be reconciled with the basic principles of fair and usage-based remuneration, SUISA has opted for a compromise solution.

The new addendum to the rights administration agreement enables SUISA members for the first time to settle the synchronisation, reproduction, and distribution rights for commissioned compositions in one package directly with the video-game producers. At the same time, SUISA will continue to manage online uses like downloads or streamings – as is also the case in the film sector.

All other rights of use remain with SUISA in accordance with the rights administration agreement. Thus, when music from a video game is broadcast on the radio or performed at events, for example, SUISA will assert the rights of its member composer.

In practice, for the reproduction and distribution rights to be excluded from the rights administration agreement, the following criteria must be satisfied:

  • the work must be a commissioned composition. Pre-existing works that have already been published cannot be excluded from the rights administration agreement.
  • • When the work is commissioned, the following particulars must be communicated to SUISA:
    • title of the work and video game;
    • playing time of the work;
    • name and address of the principal;
    • name and address of the game producer;
    • nature and aim of the game.
  • The exclusion cannot apply to games which are used by a company for advertising, sponsoring or other purposes in association with presentations about the company itself or its products and services.

The Addendum can be obtained from the Members’ Department: authors (at) suisa (dot) ch

Licences and tariffs

What fees does SUISA apply for online uses?

Online platforms (domestic*)

These licence fees apply to online platforms offering video games for streaming or downloading.

Downloads 2% of total revenues Minimum fee
Generally CHF 500 per 100,000 downloads or streams
Subscription 2% of total revenues Minimum fee
CHF 0.15 per subscriber per month

*The licensing for international platforms like Steam, Uplay, Playstation Store etc. is handled through our subsidiary SUISA Digital Licensing AG.

Other online uses (e.g. game-playing via live-streaming or browser)

The following licence fees only apply if the producer or publisher itself distributes the game (e.g. via its own website):

General 2% of total revenues Minimum fee
A. Music only in the game menu and intro or outro sequences
CHF 400 per 100,000 downloads or streams
B. Games with in-game background music
CHF 500 per 100,000 downloads or streams
C. Games with a focus on music
CHF 600 per 100,000 downloads or streams
Advertising games 2% of total revenues Minimum fee
A. Music only in the game menu and intro or outro sequences
CHF 800 per 100,000 downloads or streams
B. Games with in-game background music
CHF 1,000 per 100,000 downloads or streams
C. Games with a focus on music
CHF 1,200 per 100,000 downloads or streams

What fees does SUISA apply for reproduction and distribution rights?

Since video games are audiovisual productions, Tariff VI applies. The main points of this tariff are:

Physical reproduction for sale

  • 3.3% of the retail sales price, or of costs (if the game is distributed for free)
  • 4.4% of the actual invoiced price (AIP) if the customer has concluded a multiannual contract with SUISA covering royalty settlements and can furnish to SUISA the breakdown of its sales with the number of units and sales price per audiovisual recording per accounting period. The AIP is the price invoiced by the customer to the retailer or, if the customer does not distribute the recordings itself, the actual wholesale price invoiced by the customer’s official distributor.
  • The applicable rate is reduced as follows:
    storage space of the protected music to total storage capacity of the carrier
    (e.g. 500 MB protected music to 2000 MB storage capacity of the carrier = 75% fee reduction)
  • Minimum fee:
    29 centimes per game with music, regardless of its playing time,
    2.2 centimes per minute of music and per audiovisual recording, subject to a maximum of 29 centimes per audiovisual recording if the customer provides SUISA with an accurate breakdown of the music in the game.

Special case: Commissioned music by SUISA members

If a member of SUISA composes commissioned music for a game and signs the Video Game Addendum to the Rights Administration Agreement, the licence fee can be negotiated directly with the game producer without involving SUISA.

Production music mark-up

The use of production music managed by SUISA is subject to the following mark-ups:

  • for the synchronisation right: 50%
  • for neighbouring rights:
    • 50% of the total remuneration for the reproduction rights under Tariff VI (see above) and the synchronisation rights if the game is distributed only in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
    • 100% of the total remuneration for the reproduction rights under Tariff VI (see above) and the synchronisation rights if the game is distributed internationally.

For video-game licensing or inquiries, please contact: customerservices (at) suisa (dot) ch

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What is a video game without sound? Video games are hard to imagine without music. Many games become huge hits precisely because of their music which is often even released as a separate soundtrack. What is the proper licensing procedure for music in video games and what is the purpose of the new Addendum to the Rights Administration Agreement? Text by Michael Wohlgemuth

Music in video games: Licensing and Addendum to Rights Administration Agreement

Gaming corner at the internet café: every game has to have the right sound. (Photo: OHishiapply / Shutterstock.com)

The video-game industry has been chalking up continuous growth for years. The corona crisis gave earnings in this sector an additional boost. Never before have so many people consumed video games, whether on their smartphones, tablets, consoles, or PCs.

Although music plays a significant part in this success story, video-game producers have so...read more

Music in companies: What to bear in mind

Music plays an important role in many businesses. It creates a pleasant atmosphere for customers, guests, and employees, it enhances advertising messages, and is an important part of corporate events. The rights to use music are easy to obtain from SUISA. Depending on the type of use, different tariffs and rates apply. Text by Liane Paasila, Martin Korrodi and Giorgio Tebaldi

Music in companies: What to bear in mind

By playing the right background music in your shop, you assure your customers a pleasant shopping experience and may even influence their buying behaviour. (Photo: Tana888 / Shutterstock.com)

Companies are aware of the impact music has on their business. Retailers employ professional sound companies to offer their customers a pleasant shopping experience – and encourage them to buy your products. Medical practices play soothing background music to help their patients relax – none wants to listen to heavy metal during a medical examination or treatment. And commercials too only work with the right music, often specially commissioned. In short, there are any number of examples of the ways in which music can contribute to the success of a business.

Remuneration for composers, lyricists, and publishers

It follows that those who compose the music and write the lyrics – the authors – are entitled to payment. This is done through SUISA, which grants licences for the different music uses and collects the fees in exchange. The amount of the licence fees depends essentially on the value status of the music in the corresponding use. For example, in the case of a symphonic concert, which one generally attends just for the music, the fees will be higher than for the background music in the waiting room at the doctor’s where listening to music is not the main purpose of the visit.

Music from all over the world thanks to SUISA

The tariffs for the different music uses are negotiated at regular intervals between SUISA and the associations of users (e.g. Gastrosuisse for music uses in the hospitality industry); they are jointly set, and then approved by the Federal Arbitration Commission for Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights.

And because SUISA represents the entire world repertoire in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, a licence from SUISA allows the holder to use virtually any music, from anywhere the world over. SUISA distributes the proceeds worldwide to the authors and publishers of the music thus used. For each CHF 100 it collects, SUISA distributes CHF 87 to music authors and publishers.

SUISA issues licences to over 120.000 users, including radio and TV broadcasters, concert organisers, clubs, cafés and restaurants, event and party organisers, shop owners, and online music services. This year, SUISA is planning to conduct a targeted market campaign covering music uses in businesses and will be contacting potential customers directly with its offerings.

Music uses in companies

Three of the most common music uses in businesses are explained below:

1. Background music in sales rooms and offices

In Switzerland, over 100,000 businesses play music via different technologies to create the desired atmosphere on their premises – sales rooms, offices, waiting rooms, etc. In company cars, when on hold, or in the lift, music entertains your customers and employees. Various studies show that music also serves to steer consumer behaviour.

Such uses of music in businesses qualify as public uses and are subject to a fee. Businesses accordingly pay a fee under Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a) to the authors, publishers, artists, or producers. “Common” means that in addition to covering the copyrights managed by SUISA, the tariff also covers those of the other copyright administration societies like Swissperform (for performing artists and producers) and Suissimage (for film creators). SUISA acts as central collecting agent for this tariff on behalf of all the Swiss collecting societies and distributes their share of the collected revenues to the authors and publishers of the music.

Examples of background music uses (CT 3a)
Where?
• Office premises (e.g. common rooms, offices, meeting rooms)
• Sales areas (e.g. sales rooms, restaurants, inns and hotels)
• Company vehicles
• Lines on hold
• Museums, exhibitions
• Medical practices (patient rooms, surgeries, waiting rooms)
How?
• Retransmission of radio broadcasts and music recordings
• Retransmission of TV broadcasts and films (film projections with announced time and venue; public viewings on giant screens with a diagonal exceeding 3 metres are regulated separately).
• Operation of interactive multimedia terminals
Further information background music uses (CT 3a)
CT 3a portal
SUISA website, about CT 3a: www.suisa.ch/3a
Distribution of CT 3a revenues:
www.suisablog.ch/en/how-suisa-distributes-fees-collected-for-background-entertainment/

2. Videos and films with music on the Internet

Ever more businesses are relying on digital formats to reach their customers through professional websites or contributions to social media. Digital communication is important to reach and maintain a connection with customers and other target groups, and not only in extra-ordinary times like during this pandemic. Videos with a musical backdrop play an essential role in this regard, contributing to make a product or service more appealing to customers.

Persons wishing to use a music recording in a video must first understand the distinction between the two types of licensable rights, namely:

  • on the one hand, the rights in the audio recording which are held by the record label;
  • on the other, the copyrights in the work itself, i.e. the composition and lyrics, if any, which are held by the music publisher and/or the authors.

The record label is responsible for the neighbouring rights in the audio recording. In the case of a video recording with music, permission and licences for the synchronisation and re-recording of the recording must be obtained from the label.

For the author’s rights in the work, the music publisher and SUISA are responsible. SUISA grants licences for the reproduction of the work as part of the video production, and for the making available of the work in the video on an own website and/or on social media platforms. The music publisher grants the licence for the synchronisation right in a work. To publish a video with a musical backdrop, one must first contact the publisher and ask whether the song can actually be used in a video.

The licensing procedure is basically the same for any company. For smaller firms with no more than 49 employees and annual turnover up to CHF 9 million, SUISA offers an all-in solution with its partner Audion. You can purchase a licence covering both the author’s rights and those of the label/producer for an annual fee of CHF 344. Thanks to this all-in arrangement, small businesses may use as many short videos with music as they wish to promote their image, products, and services on their website and social media profiles. This arrangement ensures easy access to a licence for the use of music protected by copyright.

Further information about the use of videos with music on websites
Customer portal Music on websites
FAQs:
www.suisa.ch/en/customers/online/music-on-the-internet-for-small-businesses/questions-answers.html
SUISAblog articles about the all-in arrangement:
www.suisablog.ch/en/collective-management-is-a-service-for-music-creators-and-music-users-alike/

3. Music for company events

Christmas parties, general meetings, product presentations – music is often an important component of company events. These are licensed under Common Tariff Hb (CT Hb) which regulates music for dance and entertainment outside the hospitality industry. CT Hb applies to live performances: a band hired for the Christmas party, for example, or a DJ at a staff party, as well as events with musical intermissions such as general meetings, or company events organised for customers.

In terms of rates, the tariff distinguishes between small and large events. Small events are those organised in venues with a capacity of up to 400 people. The fees here are flat fees, per day and per event, depending on the number of persons attending. In the case of large events, since companies do not generally sell tickets for admission, tariff rates are calculated based on the costs sustained in connection with the use of the music. These costs typically consist of the artists’ fees and expenses, instrument rental fees, and the rent charged for the venue. If admission is charged, other calculation bases may apply.

The tariff also provides for a number of discounts – for example, for companies that conclude a contract with SUISA under CT Hb for all their events, or which organise more than 10 events per year.

Companies in the hospitality industry
Inns, pubs, and restaurants:
For entertainment and dance events in restaurants and the like, the applicable tariff is CT H, not CT Hb. CT H applies to the same events as CT Hb, but because of the association with food and beverage, another calculation model is used which takes into account the price of the cheapest alcoholic beverage in addition to the number of persons attending and the admission price.
Hotels:
It is not always clear for hotels what surface areas to use as the calculation basis, so the following should be helpful: CT 3a also applies to the surface area of hotel rooms. SUISA often receives reports from hotels where the surface areas of the rooms have not been included in the total usage area. For hotel rooms, depending on the total area concerned (rooms and common rooms), an additional fee is charged on top of the base fee (Common Tariff 3a, section 6).
Further information about music events
Outside the hospitality industry, CT Hb:
www.suisa.ch/en/customers/organisers-of-events/events-parties/parties-and-other-dance-events.html
For the hospitality industry, CT H:
www.suisa.ch/en/customers/restaurants-hotels/clubs-bars-restaurants/djs-or-musicians.html
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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.

Music plays an important role in many businesses. It creates a pleasant atmosphere for customers, guests, and employees, it enhances advertising messages, and is an important part of corporate events. The rights to use music are easy to obtain from SUISA. Depending on the type of use, different tariffs and rates apply. Text by Liane Paasila, Martin Korrodi and Giorgio Tebaldi

Music in companies: What to bear in mind

By playing the right background music in your shop, you assure your customers a pleasant shopping experience and may even influence their buying behaviour. (Photo: Tana888 / Shutterstock.com)

Companies are aware of the impact music has on their business. Retailers employ professional sound companies to offer their customers a pleasant shopping experience – and encourage them to buy your products. Medical practices play soothing background music to help their patients relax –...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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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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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

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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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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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

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.

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