Erika Hug: Committed and combative

SUISA and FONDATION SUISA are mourning Erika Hug. The publisher and entrepreneur had been influencing the promotion of Swiss music creation for more than three decades, on the SUISA Board of Directors, as a co-founder of FONDATION SUISA and as the president of the foundation board. She passed away unexpectedly on 14 July 2021 at the age of 76. Obituary by Andreas Wegelin and Urs Schnell

Erika Hug: Committed and combative

Erika Hug (1945-2021). (Photo: FONDATION SUISA / Musik Hug)

The Swiss music scene is mourning the loss of Erika Hug, publisher and owner of the established and traditional music business. She passed away completely unexpectedly on 14 July 2021.

Erika Hug had taken on leadership of the renowned Zurich music company as a young woman in the sixth generation. Apart from traditional publishing and sheet music business, the company grew well in the 1980s and entered the new sales business with CDs at an early stage. With her husband, German music entrepreneur Eckard Harke, the sales of music instruments also saw a strong development. One speciality were the two Steinway Piano Galleries in Lausanne and Zurich.

The profound changes in the music business in the course of internet digitisation led to a decline in demand for sheet music, sound recordings or instruments after the turn of the millennium. The Swiss-wide branch network was reduced at the start of the 2000s and the company was finally sold in 2017.

Contribution at SUISA and FONDATION SUISA

Over many years, Erika Hug had been giving her know-how and experience as an entrepreneur to the Cooperative Society, SUISA and the FONDATION SUISA by way of being a member of the SUISA Board of Directors and of the Pension Board of the FONDATION SUISA. From 1985 to 1995, Erika Hug was a Board member of the Cooperative Society SUISA and President of their committee for international relations.

Erika Hug was a founder member of the SUISA foundation for music (today: FONDATION SUISA) in 1989. For 27 years, until the end of 2015, she had been a member of the Foundation Board. From 1990 onwards, Erika Hug first presided the Finance Committee of the Foundation, from 1996 onwards, she became Vice President. Finally, from 2005 she led the Foundation for 10 years as President of the Foundation Board.

Erika Hug had been a major influence on the Cooperative Society and the Foundation over the last 30 years as a publisher and expert in the music business sector. She got involved when it came to access to music and to playing an instrument, especially also with respect to the younger generation and less well-off members of society. The project “make music in the classroom” of FONDATION SUISA is a proof for this. Erika Hug was also a fighter for more women in music and in business.

We mourn a great Swiss personality when it comes to bringing music to the people, and we are grateful for her commitment in the managing committees of our Cooperative Society and Foundation and would like to express our heartfelt condolences to her family.

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  1. Ho avuto il piacere di lavorare con Erika Hug per 14 anni nel Consiglio di fondazione della Fondazione Suisa per la musica e, di questa donna, ho sempre apprezzato la chiarezza d’intenti nel promuovere la musica “Made in Switzerland”, la tenacia e le brillanti idee.
    Un’altra sua qualità che ho sempre apprezzato in lei era la capacità di saper mettere a proprio agio le persone, di saperle ascoltare e, se le idee che venivano proposte le sembravano buone, di impegnarsi nella realizzazione senza mai risparmiarsi.
    Di lei serberò sicuramente un buon ricordo.
    R.I.P. Erika

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SUISA and FONDATION SUISA are mourning Erika Hug. The publisher and entrepreneur had been influencing the promotion of Swiss music creation for more than three decades, on the SUISA Board of Directors, as a co-founder of FONDATION SUISA and as the president of the foundation board. She passed away unexpectedly on 14 July 2021 at the age of 76. Obituary by Andreas Wegelin and Urs Schnell

Erika Hug: Committed and combative

Erika Hug (1945-2021). (Photo: FONDATION SUISA / Musik Hug)

The Swiss music scene is mourning the loss of Erika Hug, publisher and owner of the established and traditional music business. She passed away completely unexpectedly on 14 July 2021.

Erika Hug had taken on leadership of the renowned Zurich music company as a young woman in the sixth generation. Apart from traditional publishing and sheet music business, the...read more

New login procedure for the “My Account” member portal

On 7 September 2021 SUISA is introducing a new login two-factor authentication procedure for the “My Account” member portal. This means that when you log in, you will need to enter an individually generated code in addition to your password. This procedure is designed to enhance the protection of your personal data and to enable you to manage your own account in future. This article describes what you have to do for continued access to your SUISA data. Text by Claudia Kempf

New login procedure for the “My Account” member portal

On 7 September 2021, SUISA will activate the new login process for the “My Account” member portal. (Photo: ArthurStock / Shutterstock.com, edited by Nina Müller)

Security is important to us. To ensure even stronger protection of your data, we are introducing a two-factor authentication process for “My Account”. This login procedure requires you to enter two different codes as unequivocal proof of identity to access your personal account.

In future, apart from your username and password, you need a code which will be generated each time you log in. This login procedure with two security factors – password and code – is called two-factor authentication. When dealing with sensitive data, it is especially worthwhile to have a second security step in addition to a secure password to safeguard the data against unauthorised access.

What possibilities does the new login process offer?

The enhanced security level will facilitate your future use of “My Account”. You can henceforth choose your own username and no longer need to log in with the “M number” (previously the fixed login number) assigned to you by SUISA.

Moreover, you can manage your own user account and grant an own access to third parties, e.g. your manager. You can also authorise their access to services, or restrict such access. You can decide, for example, to authorise a third party to view your works but not your settlement statements, or to permit them to register works on your behalf.

How will the change-over to the new login process work?

On 7 September 2021, we will activate the new login process. Existing logins will no longer be valid from this date. To continue to use “My Account” thereafter, please re-register after 7 September 2021 under www.suisa.ch/my-account. All existing “My Account” users will receive their new registration particulars for this purpose by post as of mid-August. These registration particulars are valid for 30 days and can only be used once.

How does the first login work?

First of all, you must open a new user account for yourself and select a username and password for that account. Then you can enter the registration particulars sent to you by post and activate your own personal “My Account” profile. Finally, as Administrator, you can open a user account for other persons and grant them access to your data.

Only the login procedure has been modified. None of your existing entries – e.g. particulars for the registration of works or works registrations that have already been filed – are affected by the change and you can continue to access them as before in your “My Account”.

Thanks to the two-factor authentication process, access to your data can be structured more flexibly. Moroever, the new process will enhance the security of “My Account” and we will consequently be able to extend our offer of online services for members.

For questions about registration and login, please refer to the following functions under www.suisa.ch/my-account:

  • Step-by-step instructions (PDF) will guide you through the login process.
  • Please check our help area for answers to the most common questions.
No access to “My Account” yet?
Order your registration particulars at: www.suisa.ch/my-account
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On 7 September 2021 SUISA is introducing a new login two-factor authentication procedure for the “My Account” member portal. This means that when you log in, you will need to enter an individually generated code in addition to your password. This procedure is designed to enhance the protection of your personal data and to enable you to manage your own account in future. This article describes what you have to do for continued access to your SUISA data. Text by Claudia Kempf

New login procedure for the “My Account” member portal

On 7 September 2021, SUISA will activate the new login process for the “My Account” member portal. (Photo: ArthurStock / Shutterstock.com, edited by Nina Müller)

Security is important to us. To ensure even stronger protection of your data, we are introducing a two-factor authentication process for “My Account”. This login procedure...read more

SUISA Board of Directors holds a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months

On the day before the General Meeting, the SUISA Board and its committees usually hold a physical meeting at the venue of the General Meeting. This year, it was different for the second time in a row. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

SUISA Board of Directors holds a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months

SUISA partition wall set up at a venue: The meeting of a nearly full Board of Directors took place for its regular June sessions in Muri near Berne. (Photo: Natalie Schlumpf & Wolfgang Rudigier)

While the General Meeting could only take place by postal vote due to the precautionary measures taken in the context with the corona pandemic for the second time, the Board of Directors decided to hold a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months in Muri near Berne on 24 and 25 June 2021, adhering to the prescribed protective measures.

Except for one Board member who did not want to expose itself to a heightened risk of getting infected due to imminent concert performances and therefore took part via video, all of the members of the Board of Directors joined the Executive Committee in the meeting and cherished the opportunity to be able to have an exchange outside the meetings in the evening.

Encouraging perspectives in the online licensing business

The Board of Directors received a thorough report on the annual results of the subsidiary Mint Digital Services, jointly held with SESAC, whose financial year had ended on 31 March. The result is encouraging even if the organisation needs to receive further support. Perspectives for the new financial year are looking up and are going to improve the earnings situation further. It is important to know that the bundling of the copyright of our members with the rights of large publishers and sister societies lead to a situation whereby we can act in the online licensing market with more market power and subsequently negotiate better conditions with the online providers of music.

On 1 July 2021, the Act on Collective Management Organisations entered into force in the Principality of Liechtenstein. It contains, among others, provisions to cater for transparency among collective management organisations. The EU Directive of 2014 has thus been implemented. So that SUISA can take these provisions into account, the code of conduct and the rules on the disclosure of conflicts of interest at Board level were adapted. There are also new disclosure obligations for the Executive Committee. The Board of Directors has passed the respective documents.

Amendments to the budget due to Covid-19

The Board of Directors has adapted the budget to the continuing corona situation for the current year. As early as in December 2020, a cautious budget had been passed for 2021. Nevertheless, the income side must be adjusted to reflect a minus of 1.5% which is expected compared to the original budget. Expenditure is anticipated to be 2.2% less.

Another topic at the meeting was the situation regarding the handling of the double taxation provisions between the Italian sister society SIAE and SUISA. SUISA, just like other European sister societies, is going to approach the Italian tax authorities in order to keep withholding tax deductions for SUISA rights owner members who have their residence outside of Switzerland as low as possible.

Finally, the Board of Directors approved an amendment to the distribution rules regarding the pay-out of licensing income of streaming and download platforms. For another amendment regarding the question how long SUISA can process adjustment distributions for online usages, the Board is going to wait for a more detailed report by the Executive Committee.

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On the day before the General Meeting, the SUISA Board and its committees usually hold a physical meeting at the venue of the General Meeting. This year, it was different for the second time in a row. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

SUISA Board of Directors holds a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months

SUISA partition wall set up at a venue: The meeting of a nearly full Board of Directors took place for its regular June sessions in Muri near Berne. (Photo: Natalie Schlumpf & Wolfgang Rudigier)

While the General Meeting could only take place by postal vote due to the precautionary measures taken in the context with the corona pandemic for the second time, the Board of Directors decided to hold a physical meeting for the first time in 15 months in Muri near Berne on 24 and 25...read more

General Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of Directors

For the second time running, the SUISA General Meeting took place in writing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Altogether 1,486 composers, lyricists, music publishers and heirs participated in the voting process by letter and e-mail. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

General Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of Directors

The SUISA General Meeting elected National Councillor Johanna Gapany (pictured), FDP Fribourg, as a new Board member. (Photo: Luan Bardi)

Due to the current Covid-19 situation, SUISA had to renounce on a physical General Meeting this year, just like it had to in 2020. Instead, the General Meeting was held again in written form. SUISA members could vote by letter or e-mail again this year.

As usual, SUISA members decided on the statutory business of their Cooperative Society and the SUISA Group. They approved, among others, the annual financial account and exonerated the SUISA Board and auditing firm, BDO.

National Councillor Johanna Gapany new in the SUISA Board of Directors

The General Meeting elected National Councillor, Johanna Gapany, FDP Fribourg, to the Board of Directors to replace Géraldine Savary who had stepped down; her term of office is until 2023.

Johanna Gapany grew up in Gruyère and began her political career early on. Among other activities, she held the Presidency of the Jungfreisinnigen (Young Liberals) of the Canton Fribourg and also held the position of Vice President of the Jungfreisinnigen Switzerland. In 2019, Johanna Gapany was elected as the first woman from the Canton Fribourg into the National Council. She is Vice President of the Finance Committees member of the Science, Education and Culture Committees (WBK/SECC), the Social Security and Health Committees (SGK/SSHC) and the delegation at the inter-parliamentarian Union.

In her video message to the General Meeting, she mentioned that the reason for her candidacy for the SUISA Board was that “music has a special value, for me personally and for our culture and our country.” SUISA gained a committed politician to the Board with Johanna Gapany who intends to support the issues of music creators. In the video, she directed her message to musicians as follows: “I would like to support you so that your work is recognised. The career of a music creator should not be regarded as a whim, a child’s dream or a calling but as a real profession.”

Gapany succeeds former National Councillor Géraldine Savary (SP, VD), who had been a strong supporter of the interests of music creators over the ten years as a SUISA Board member. Savary’s postulate entitled “Does Switzerland need a law against illegal music downloads?” was the trigger for a copyright reform in 2010, and that the Swiss Copyright Act was adapted to the digital age.

Géraldine Savary now intends to dedicate her entire time to her new role as editor-in-chief of the French-speaking women’s magazine “Femina” and therefore decided to leave the SUISA Board.

SUISA’s investment rules now also take sustainability into consideration

Another item on the agenda was the general investment rules of SUISA. The SUISA Board of Directors moved to the General Meeting that the additional criterion “sustainability” should be added to the existing criteria “security” and “liquidity”. The sustainable investments are categorised in line with the ESG criteria: Environment, Social and Governance. These criteria will be taken into account for each new decision on investments.

Altogether 1,486 composers, lyricists, music publishers and heirs participated in the written voting and electing process. An overview of the results of the SUISA General Meeting 2021 can be found at www.suisa.ch/en/members/general-assembly.html

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For the second time running, the SUISA General Meeting took place in writing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Altogether 1,486 composers, lyricists, music publishers and heirs participated in the voting process by letter and e-mail. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

General Meeting 2021: National Councillor Johanna Gapany elected to the SUISA Board of Directors

The SUISA General Meeting elected National Councillor Johanna Gapany (pictured), FDP Fribourg, as a new Board member. (Photo: Luan Bardi)

Due to the current Covid-19 situation, SUISA had to renounce on a physical General Meeting this year, just like it had to in 2020. Instead, the General Meeting was held again in written form. SUISA members could vote by letter or e-mail again this year.

As usual, SUISA members decided on the statutory business of their Cooperative Society and the SUISA Group. They approved, among others, the annual financial account and exonerated the SUISA Board...read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact of the event bans only visible after a delay

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

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

Corona emergency fund for SUISA members

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

Expansion of online services

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changes to the SUISA organisation chart

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

Changes to the SUISA organisation chart

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

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

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

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

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

Wolfgang Rudigier takes over the International Documentation Department

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

Claudia Kempf now in charge of the Domestic Settlement Inquiries team

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

Hansruedi Jung looks after IPI

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

New organisation team leaders

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

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

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Online licensing activities require early work registrationsOnline licensing activities require early work registrations From a sales perspective, online music distribution provides enormous opportunities. With little effort, music can be made available to a global audience within an instant. The distribution of copyright royalties, however, is complex when it comes to online usages. This is also due to the fact that the processes differ from those for performing and broadcasting rights. The most important advice is: First, register the work with SUISA as early as possible, then publish it online. Read more
How private copying produces revenue – distribution of blank media leviesHow private copying produces revenue – distribution of blank media levies Nowadays, the lion’s share of private copying is done from the internet rather than from CDs as in the heyday of the record market. SUISA’s Distribution Rules have now been amended to reflect present circumstances. The adjustments are designed to ensure a more equitable distribution of the remuneration from private copying. Read more
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All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

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

Changes to the SUISA organisation chart

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

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

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

A worthy result despite Covid

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

A worthy result despite COVID

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUISA has responded to the crisis

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

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

Supplemental distributions from released settlement liabilities

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

Understanding for customers

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

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

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

A worthy result despite COVID

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

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

Full speed ahead

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

Report from the Board of Directors: Full speed ahead

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

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

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

Relatively good performance thanks to broadcasting rights and online uses

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

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

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

The 2021 General Meeting will take place by written correspondence again

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

Status of 2021 budget with the ongoing Corona crisis

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

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

Mint joint venture to be strengthened

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

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

Adapting the range of services for members and principals

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

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

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

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

Report from the Board of Directors: Full speed ahead

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

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

And yet, this year,...read more

No physical General Meeting in 2021 either | plus video

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

No physical General Meeting in 2021 either

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

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

Organisational execution

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

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

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

Agenda items of this year’s General Meeting

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

Adapting the general rules on investment

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

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

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

By-election to the Board

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

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

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

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

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

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

No physical General Meeting in 2021 either

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

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

Planning ahead in a crisis situation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New service range catalogue and minimum fee for SUISA membership

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

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

Changes in the distribution and investment rules

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

Flexible management in times of crisis

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

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  1. hermann says:

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

    • Sehr geehrter Herr Hermann

      Danke für Ihre Nachricht.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave a Reply

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

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

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

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