“Without an organisation like SUISA many songs would never have been created”

The famous and popular musician Peter Reber has been a SUISA member since 1971. In a written interview, the composer, lyricist, artist and publisher explains, why his collective management organisation is important for him and why – from his point of view – it is not necessary that collective management organisations should be subject to a stricter supervision.

“Without an organisation like SUISA many songs would never have been created”

Peter Reber is a composer, lyricist, publisher, artist and event organiser and a SUISA member since 1971 (Foto: zVg)

Peter Reber, you have been a SUISA member since 1971. Why?
Peter Reber: It goes without saying that you don’t go to the baker and help yourself from the shelf with the bread rolls without paying. Not everyone understands that you can’t simply use intellectual property without paying, as it’s much more complex and needs explaining in more depth. Composers and lyricists are not in a position to manage their interests on a national and international level themselves. Without an institution such as SUISA and its international partners, I would never have been able to find an economic foundation for my activity. Many songs would never have been written. SUISA does not just manage my financial interests, but is also the prerequisite for a diverse range of activities in our country.

Copyright issues are subject to change. How do artists and musicians have to adapt to it?
Of course it also is down to us artists to deal with those issues. We witness such developments in every day situations, after all. Due to the digital revolution such as loss-free copying and the rapid development of the new media, i.e. the internet, many new questions have to be answered. As an artist, I pass my feedback and my issues on to SUISA; in return, I benefit from the workshops and infos which SUISA offers to us authors.

The Federal Council intends to tie collective management organisations more closely to the government. What is your stance regarding these plans?
I have been a SUISA member for 45 years. As a composer, lyricist, publisher, artist and event organiser, I know the entire spectrum of the music business. It is very complex, as it ranges from aesthetic via organisational to legal issues. Due to its flexibility and the flat hierarchy within SUISA it has always been possible for me to find someone to talk to about my issues. My issues have always been in good hands as a consequence of the profound knowledge of the SUISA staff. I would have huge concerns if the government and the politicians would increase the influence and control over our copyright society. It is important to me that SUISA retains a certain independence. Only if it does, can it represent the interests of us authors in a credible manner and does not turn into a playground for other political and economic interests.

Where could copyright be improved from your point of view?
There is always and everywhere room for improvement. Important steps have been introduced by SUISA already in some ways: Authors have the opportunity today to let SUISA only represent them in partial aspects and to manage the other areas themselves, for example.
The biggest problem, however, has been and will remain the fact that the public still does not show enough understanding for the fact that intellectual property is worth protecting and must be paid for, too. That’s an area where us authors and our SUISA have to continue to work on.

On Peter Reber
With more than 40 gold and platinum awards for more than 2 million sold sound recordings, Peter Reber can be counted among the most successful Swiss composers, lyricists and performers. From 1968 to 1981, he has been member of the successful band Peter, Sue & Marc, after that he began an equally successful solo career. During his career, Peter Reber has written more than one thousand lyrics, melodies and arrangements and provided six Swiss contributions to the Eurovision Song Contest. His compositions have been published on sound recordings by more than hundred national and international artists, from folk musicians to rock musicians. 2016, he received the Swiss Music Award for his life’s work. www.peterreber.ch

The interview with Peter Reber was conducted for the “Sessionsbrief” (session letter) of Swisscopyright. Swisscopyright is the joint umbrella of the five Swiss collective management organisations ProLitteris, SSA, SUISA, Suissimage and Swissperform. With the “Sessionsbrief”, the societies inform interested parties from within the political scene as well as the public on subjects affecting copyright.

Swisscopyright Sessionsbrief September 2016 (PDF)
Swisscopyright Website

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  1. Giorgio Tebaldi says:

    Lieber Jean-Pierre

    Die SUISA kommuniziert seit 2008 die Löhne der Geschäftsleitung transparent in ihrem Jahresbericht (www.suisa.ch/jahresbericht). 2015 belief sich der Lohn unseres Generaldirektors auf CHF 307’506, wie man im letzten Jahresbericht auf Seite 32 lesen kann; insgesamt erhielten die drei GL-Mitglieder CHF 776’349. Das ist um einiges tiefer als die von Dir genannten CHF 400’000 pro Person.

    Die Verwaltungskosten sind für die SUISA natürlich ein wichtiges Thema, und wir sind entsprechend darum bemüht, unseren Aufwand so gering wie möglich zu halten. Dass die Kosten der SUISA – und auch der anderen vier Schweizer Verwertungsgesellschaften – in einem angemessenen Rahmen sind hat Ende 2015 übrigens eine Studie im Auftrag des Instituts für Geistiges Eigentum (IGE) gezeigt: https://blog.suisa.ch/de/die-suisa-arbeitet-kostenbewusst/ / https://www.ige.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/Urheberrecht/d/Studie_Verwaltungskosten/MM_IGE_Abschluss_der_Verwaltungskostenanalyse14012016.pdf.

    Herzliche Grüsse
    Giorgio Tebaldi / Leiter Kommunikation

  2. Nicht nur als langjähriges SUISA-Mitglied (Tonträger “Face the world” von A touch of class; jp’s acoustic instrumentals & Disco (S)Hits) bin zwar generell und grundsätzlich ebenso gegen staatliche Eingriffe aller Art.
    Da ich bis Ende April ’13 hauptberuflich 18 Jahre lang als geschäftsleitender Berater der Communication Executive AG (Tochter des Headhunters Engineering Management Selection Schweiz) aktiv war, ist mir allerdings konkret bekannt, welche fürstlichen Löhne sich die erweiterte Geschäftsleitung der SUISA seit Jahrzehnten genehmigt: Da es sich dabei um über 400’000.- CHF Jahresgehalt pro Person und Jahr handelt, ist nur völlig logisch und nachvollziehbar, dass die Entschädigungen an all die echten Musiker und musikalisch eher trivialen Musikanten zur Deckung dieser “Overhead”-Kosten ZU LASTEN der Künstler allzu mickrig ausfallen müssen!
    Gegen diesen Schutz der GF-Pfründe ist längst konkreter Handlungsbedarf angezeigt; und es wäre äusserst sinnvoll, wenn die SUISA-Verantwortlichen diesbezüglich selbst ein Einsehen hätten!…

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