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Tariff PI: Licence for work-by-work recording productions

A –Individual transactions

Who is responsible for registering a recording production?

The producer or the principal. The principal is the person or company that finances the production of the recording and has the right of disposal. 

Registration on time

Register the sound recording with SUISA at least 10 days before production. Based on your registration, SUISA will send the pressing licence directly to the pressing facility. Without this licence, the pressing facility is not allowed to produce the sound recording.

SUISA only grants licences to use original recordings (master) which have not yet been copied. For re-recordings from existing recordings, an additional authorisation must be obtained from the producer or label.

Licence and invoice

Please complete the online form. Once your application is complete, we proceed as follows:

  • we check the copyright status of the musical work and enter the recording in our system;
  • based on your application, we prepare the invoice applying the calculation basis under Tariff PI;
  • lastly, we send the necessary licence directly to the pressing plant.

Production of fewer than 100 units

If you produce fewer than 100 units, there is no need to register the list of the recorded works. When we calculate the fees, the share of unprotected works will not be deducted.

SUISA logo

The SUISA logo is burnt onto the recording when it is produced. The large pressing plants have the template.

If you produce the sound recordings yourself, we will send you the template directly once you have correctly registered the production.

Calculation examples

  • Production of 1000 sound recordings to be sold at CHF 20 each. You intend to sell the recordings directly, i.e. there is no distributor.

    Tariff PI, point 19.1

    10 % of PPD CHF 20 (excl. VAT) = 

    CHF   2

    CHF 2  x 1000 units =

    CHF 2000

    Plus 2.6 % VAT =

    CHF   52

    Invoice amount

    CHF 2052

    NB: The calculations are based on 100% protected music content. Over-licensing (Tariff Pl, points 27 to 32), if any, has not been considered.

  • Production of 1000 sound recordings. Of these, 500 will be sold at CHF 20 each and 500 will be given away for free. You intend to sell the recordings directly, i.e. there is no distributor.

    Tariff PI, points 19.1 and 21.1

    10 % of PPD CHF 20 (excl. VAT) =

    CHF      2

    CHF 2 x 500 units =

    CHF  1000

    CHF 0.70 x 500 units =

    CHF   350


    CHF  1350

    plus 2.6 % VAT

    CHF   35.10

    Invoice amount

    CHF 1385.10

    NB: The calculations are based on 100% protected music content. Over-licensing (Tariff Pl, points 27 to 32), if any, has not been considered.

  • Production of 1000 music DVDs to be sold at CHF 20 each. You intend to sell the sound recordings directly, i.e. there is no distributor.

    Tariff PI, point 19.2

    5.8 % of PPD CHF 20.00 (excl. VAT) =

    CHF   1.16

    CHF 1.16 x 1000 units =

    CHF 1160

    plus 2.6 % VAT =

    CHF  30.15

    Invoice amount

    CHF 1190.15

    NB: The calculation is based on 100% protected music content. Over-licensing (Tariff Pl, points 27 to 32), if any, has not been considered.

  • Production of 1000 music DVDs. Of these, 500 will be sold at CHF 20 each and 500 will be given away for free. You intend to sell the sound recordings directly, i.e. there is no distributor.

    Tariff PI, points 19.2 and 21.2

    5.8 % of PPD CHF 20.00 (excl. VAT) =

    CHF   1.16

    CHF 1.16 x 500 units =

    CHF 580

    CHF 0.60 x 500 units =

    CHF 300


    CHF 880

    plus 2.6 % VAT

    CHF 22.90

    Invoice amount

    CHF 902.90

    NB: The calculation is based on 100% protected music content. Over-licensing (Tariff Pl, points 27 to 32), if any, has not been considered.

B – Standard Productions Customers

Who does SUISA conclude multi-annual contracts with?

You qualify as a standard productions customer under Tariff PI (in accordance with BIEM-IFPI Standard) if you:

  • regularly produce, import, or distribute music recordings as a business and pay annual fees of at least CHF 5,000 to SUISA under this tariff
  • have a registerd office in Switzerland or Liechtenstein, and actually manage and run your business from there
  • have a proper book-keeping and inventory accounting system
  • warrant compliance with copyright requirements and are prepared to provide security and advance payments

General production licence

Standard productions customers have a general production licence as an integral contractual component. We keep the pressing plants regularly informed about the principals who qualify as Standard productions customers.


Standard productions customers pay licence fees on a six-monthly or annual basis for the number of sound recording units sold. Sales have to be reported electronically. The template for such reporting is provided when the contract is signed.

Please contact us if you need any further information at:

FAQ: Frequently asked questions

  • In Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the legal protection period runs for 70 years after the author's death. If you intend to record musical works (still) protected by copyright, or have such works recorded, you need a licence from SUISA.

    Nearly all authors in Switzerland and abroad have entrusted SUISA with the administration of their rights in Switzerland and in Liechtenstein. SUISA grants the licence to record a work on the author’s behalf against payment of the corresponding remuneration, which it passes on. Accordingly, you must always notify SUISA before producing a recording, or having a recording produced.

  • Yes. You can only record protected music on audiovisual carriers if the author or rightholder (generally the publisher) has permitted you to do so. Without such permission (known as a synchronisation licence), audiovisual carriers may not be reproduced, distributed or projected in public.

    SUISA cannot as a rule grant such licences. You must have a synchronisation licence for

    • setting films to music or reproducing films with music for purposes other than private use
    • projecting films with music outside a close circle of friends and family.

    NB: You must also obtain permission for projections at club or association events, for training purposes, for hotel-video services. The permission must be obtained in advance.

  • You may burn your own CDs and DVDs provided

    • the CD or DVD is for your own private use, or
    • the CD or DVD is a gift for a close friend or relative.

    You may not burn your own CDs and DVDs if

    • you intend to sell the CD or DVD without having obtained the authorisation of the record company or a licence from SUISA, or
    • the CD or DVD is a gift for someone other than a close friend or relative.

    The Copyright Act authorises the use of a work “in the personal sphere or within a small circle of closely-related persons, such as relatives or friends“. In case law and literature, this circle is very narrowly defined. Moreover, only private individuals may burn CDs or DVDs - burning is not permitted if it is done by a press shop or any other third party for a fee. 

  • Download the "Application for a sound carrier recording licence", fill it in and send it to SUISA. SUISA must receive the duly completed form at least ten days before the recording date. SUISA will then authorise the pressing plant to produce the sound recordings. Without SUISA’s authorisation, the pressing plant cannot proceed.

  • As long as you are only re-recording in your private sphere and you use the music privately, you do not have to do anything because the use is private and permitted by law.

    However, if you intend to use the music thus recorded in public, you first have to obtain permission from the record company, which generally holds both the recording rights and the performing artist's rights. Then you declare the sound recording production to SUISA and obtain a licence for the mechanical rights in the musical works. The record company's permission must be attached to your «Application for a sound carrier recording licence».

  • To use music for advertising purposes you need the express permission of the author or his publisher. SUISA will forward your application. As this is often quite a long procedure, SUISA notifies applicants on receipt of their duly completed application forms that no sound recordings may be produced until a written authorisation is issued. Authors and publishers may demand remuneration for the licence: such remuneration is additional to any royalties collected by SUISA.
    For more information

  • SUISA represents the world film music repertoire in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Abroad, authorisation must be obtained from the copyright collecting society of the country where you want to produce and/or show the audiovisual recording.

  • If you combine music with other works (pictures, dialogues etc.) on the audiovisual recording, or make the audiovisual recording for alien purposes (advertising, sales promotions or public relations), you may be going against the author’s principles or intentions. In principle, to protect the author's moral rights, SUISA only issues a licence to record music with the author's consent (e.g. evidenced by the "sync" licence). 

  • No. Rental remuneration cannot be included in the price of videos and DVDs since the Copyright Act provides that only collective administration societies are entitled to collect this remuneration (Article 13(3)).  The higher price for rental cassettes is due to the exclusivity period during which films are not allowed to be broadcast on (free) television.

  • Say you already have a pair of sunglasses but need another one in the car: you have to buy a second pair. If you have bought a CD or downloaded music from an online shop and want to listen to the same track in your car or on your MP3 player when you go jogging, you are allowed to copy the CD or the songs yourself – at least in Switzerland. The authors are entitled to a fee for those private copies since you are saving the cost of buying another CD or the songs again.

    The authors are entitled to fair remuneration for the loss of income. The same applies to every single private copy. It’s a simple and fair system. Because, although the CD or music file belongs to you, the music still belongs to its authors, i.e. the composers and lyricists.

    Moreover, it’s not the end-user who pays the blank media levy, but the manufacturer or importer of the storage media. And the manufacturer or importer build the royalties into the retail price just like they do with their other production costs and their profit margin.

  • This extrapolation is wrong since it assumes fees are charged at a flat rate. Fee rates per memory unit are actually constantly falling. In 2003, the fee for 1GB in the first tariff for once-recordable DVDs was 40 centimes, today it is 19 centimes for rewritable DVDs and 7 centimes for once-recordable DVDs. Moreover, the increasing memory size is taken into account by the degressive rates: the bigger the memory, the lower the rate.

    The tariffs are regularly renegotiated with the user associations. An equal representation arbitration commission decides the tariff. Its decision can be appealed before the Federal Administrative Court, with a final appeal before the Federal Supreme Court. In March 2010, for example, the Federal Arbitration Commission for Copyright and Neighbouring Rights introduced a new tariff for music phones. That decision was appealed and, as a result, the tariff is still not in force.

  • On the contrary: consumers are not the losers but the winners since they profit from the new copying technologies. Thanks to the rapid fall in the price of storage media, digital copying has never been so easy and so cheap. On the other hand, the revenues from the blank media levy are stagnating again given the steep decline in rates in recent years.

    The blank media levy compensates authors for the private copying of their works. According to the Federal Copyright Act, authors are entitled to “adequate” compensation. As memory size grows, more works are copied. So more rightholders have to be compensated. If authors are to receive adequate compensation, tariff rates cannot continue to be endlessly reduced.

    A 1GB memory can store about 250 pieces of music. The going rate for MP3 players is maximum CHF 0.70 per GB. This represents a royalty of CHF 0.0028 (or 0.28 centimes) per piece of music. As a rule, this amount has to be split among several rightholders.

  • When you buy CDs or music on the internet, you do not pay any royalties for private use. Nor are any royalties payable since private use is permitted by law. There is no restriction on the copying of music files from a CD or the internet for private use. The copying of protected works onto a blank carrier is the only use in the private sphere which is subject by law to the payment of a fee; that fee is payable, however, by the manufacturer or the importer, not by the buyer.  By law, the private consumer never has to pay a royalty. However, as in other areas, it is common for the manufacturer or importer to pass on its costs to the consumer.