Theater, shows, comedy shows, readings

Apply for a licence

Apply here for a licence to use music in the theatre, shows, comedy shows, and readings

Apart from concerts, music plays an important role in many other events. Such events do not generally offer live music but play music from CDs, MP3 files or streaming portals instead. Therefore, in addition to authors’ rights, neighbouring rights for commercially available recordings will also be due.

Concert-like performances

This category applies to events where music and musical interludes alternate with non-music performances (e.g. stand-up comedy, cabaret, readings with music). Tattoo and open air festivals also qualify as concert-like performances.


The term “show” covers events where music is combined with other genres, such as ice skating, variety shows, revues, dance tournaments, or ballet performances.


The licence fees for music used in theatre performances are also regulated by CT K. Theatre performances include performances of literary theatrical works with musical inserts or interludes.


As a rule, licence fees are set as a percentage of your ticket revenues. In certain cases, the fee may be calculated based on the costs for the event (artists’ fees, travel and accommodation costs, rental of venues, instruments, and the PA system). The fees depend on the individual structure of the event and the musical works actually used. For more information see the fact sheet and the tariff

Do lists of the music used have to be furnished?

Yes. SUISA needs the list to calculate the fees properly and distribute them to the right-holders. Please send us the list of  musical works no later than ten days after the performance.

How to proceed:

Send us the duly completed questionnaire together with your list of works. We will then issue the licence and invoice. Once your payment is received, we distribute the remuneration to the beneficiary composers, lyricists, and publishers.

FAQ: Frequently asked questions

  • If you wish to perform protected music (or have it performed) in public, you must apply to SUISA for authorisation.

    All forms are available at this link.

    The forms should be completed and filed with SUISA no later than ten days after the concert. To calculate the royalties properly, SUISA needs to have a detailed list of the works performed, and a copy of your income and expenditures statement.

  • As a general rule, remuneration is charged under Common Tariff K if the public comes on purpose to listen to music. Therefore, shows, ballets and theatre performances, for example, can also be subject to CT K. 

    When music is played in the context of a dance or entertainment event, Common Tariff Hb, the tariff for dances and entertainment, will apply. CT Hb is applicable even if the concert or concert-like performance lasts less than one hour.

    The decision to apply CT K or CT Hb cannot depend solely on the popularity of the performing artists, since popularity (and an artist's attraction) evolves much too quickly.  In setting its rates, SUISA has to take other criteria into account, such as ticket prices, (concert) venue, type of advertising and other expenditure items.

    If you are at doubt when preparing your budget, it is worthwhile consulting SUISA's customer services to find out which tariff is applicable.

    For more about CT K

    For more about CT Hb

  • No. Royalties for concerts are calculated as a percentage of concert revenues or of the costs of music use. The financial situation of each event is thus equitably taken into account. But it is also possible to conclude an annual contract with SUISA and pay the agreed instalments for the whole year. In exchange, SUISA will grant you a licence for all your events during the year. If you are interested, please contact our customer services. 

  • SUISA normally calculates the remuneration based on a concert's revenues. In the following cases, however, the cost of the music use serves as the calculation basis:

    • if the revenues cannot be established;
    • if the costs are higher than the revenues and the customer has not prepared a budget, or if the customer assumes from the outset that the costs will have to be fully or partially covered by his own funds;
    • charity events where the profit goes to the needy.