SUISA has concluded reciprocity agreements with over 100 foreign sister societies. Through these reciprocity agreements, SUISA represents the members of its sister societies in Switzerland and its sister societies represent SUISA’s members abroad.
If the work of a Swiss author is performed at a concert abroad, for example, the local organiser must pay the corresponding royalties to the collective management organisation in that country. The latter will remit the funds to SUISA who will pass them on to the Swiss author.
How do I collect my money?
The sister societies in the countries of use are responsible for licensing the works in accordance with their own tariffs. They then remit the royalties to SUISA applying their own distribution rules. Once SUISA receives a complete settlement statement from a sister society, it will pay you your share of the royalties on a quarterly basis.
Why haven’t I received any money?
The reasons may differ from one country to the next since, in the case of royalties from abroad, SUISA has to rely on the local legislation and tariffs of its respective sister societies. Therefore certain individual uses may not produce any royalties at all. Incomplete works documentation or programme reporting may be another reason. It is important that you make sure always to give the organiser a programme.
How can I collect my money just the same?
If money for uses abroad is outstanding, let us know and send us all the requisite information so that we can make inquiries with our sister society. As a rule: if you know that your works have been used abroad, please inform us immediately.
How is my share made up?
Every country and each sister society has its own legislation, tariffs and distribution rules. Royalties may vary significantly and are frequently lower than the remuneration for uses in Switzerland.
How long is the claim period?
We recommend you inform us as soon as possible about the uses of your works abroad so that we can promptly ask our sister society for licensing and distribution.
The effective claim period varies from one collective management organisation to another and depends on where your works were performed.
The claim period also varies from one sister society to another and depends on the type of use. Normally the claim period runs for 3 years after the date of use with a few exceptions for live performances in bars and similar venues. ASCAP (USA) for example sets the time limit for claims to early May of the following year whereas PRS (UK) applies a one year time limit. Other sister societies have time limts that vary depending on the amount of the claim.
How much is deducted from my foreign income to cover administrative costs?
SUISA applies a cost-coverage deduction of 4% on the settlement amount received from the sister society. Withholding taxes may be deductible.
Is SUISA informed about all uses of the Swiss repertoire abroad?
No. SUISA does not receive any information from foreign music users (foreign radio stations, TV channels etc.) about the music they perform. Foreign music users only report to their local collecting society.
Since it may happen that a sister society fails to record and settle a use abroad, we strongly recommend that you personally inform SUISA about the foreign usages that you are aware of. In that respect, SUISA can check the incoming funds or inform the relevant sister society about the use of your works. Please send us the following information on the relevant usage:
- Date of the performance
- Place (with the complete address)
- Organiser's name (with the complete address)
- Set list (list of all works performed)
- Date and place of the broadcast
- Name of the radio or television station
- Broadcaster's home country
- Name of the programme (if known)
- Title of the broadcast work
- Publication date
- Name of the label / Producer
- Home country of the label / Producer
- Catalogue number
- Title of the recording
Do I receive remuneration if my works are used abroad?
In the offline sector (performances, broadcasts, sound recordings, etc.), SUISA does not directly manage your rights abroad, but transfers rights management to foreign collective management ortganisations. If your music is used in a territory not covered by a reciprocal representation agreement, you will not receive any remuneration through SUISA.
Royalties are settled in accordance with the regulations, tariffs, distribution rules and contracts applicable in the host country on the settlement date scheduled by the sister society. Therefore, longer processing times must be expected for foreign uses.
My music is used abroad. How much will my royalties be?
It is almost impossible to say in advance how much the royalties will amount to for a particular use. The amount can be influenced by many factors: if your music is played by a radio station, for eample, the amount may depend on the duration, number of listeners, type of music, time of day and type of radio station. Amounts will thus vary from year to year. Each sister society has its own rules regulating whether and how much money is paid for any given use.
I have just completed an international tour. When will I receive my royalties from the countries concerned?
As each sister society autonomously determines its way of operating, the timing of the royalty payment can vary greatly. Provided that a use is settled by a programme and that all distribution-relevant criteria are fulfilled (existing programme, payment of the royalty amount by the licensee, valid work documentation, etc.), we expect a processing time of at least 1 to 2 years. You can shorten the processing time by:
- registering all performed works at SUISA in due time;
- asking the local organiser about the local rules;
- filling in the programme form correctly on site and handing it in to the organiser, who will then forward it to the relevant sister society;
- notify SUISA of your uses.
My co-author has already received the royalties for use in his country from his collecting society. Where is my payment?
Since sister societies usually settle simultaneously to their members and to the foreign sister societies, we always have to count with delays. However, as soon as SUISA has received the records and the bank transaction from the society concerned, the royalties will be paid on to the rightholders with the quarterly settlement.
My song is played by a foreign radio station. Will I be remunerated for it?
This depends on whether your song is included in the programme that the radio station has to hand over to the competent collective administration society. Local and online radio stations are generally not compelled to submit such a programme, as their licence fees are very low and do not facilitate distribution by programme.
A sampling system is also common among collective administration societies. Sampling in this context means that the societies request information about what was played on radio or television on certain days or in certain weeks. Only if your music is included in such a sample, a remuneration will be paid for it accordingly.
I have received a remuneration for a live performance abroad. However, it is not clear from the settlement which performance it is.
In contrast to domestic settlements, it is only possible to map the details of a corresponding use in our foreign settlements if these are also included in the data records of the sister company. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Special distribution rules for live performances in the USA
Several collecting societies (so-called Performing Rights Organisations or PROs) are active in the USA, for example ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. As a rule, performances by SUISA members are administered by ASCAP and only in exceptional cases by another PRO.
In addition, licence fees are distributed for symphonic performances, "recitals" and educational performances. However, these are usually subject to a sampling process. Sampling in this context means that only performances on certain days or in certain weeks are accounted for.
ASCAP strives to identify public performances in each of the more than 700,000 licensed establishments. It is not cost-effective for ASCAP to track all performances in bars, clubs and other "general licensees", because accurate performance data is not available and the licence fees paid by these establishments are relatively modest. These establishments usually purchase a flat licence to use music. To ensure that authors do not go completely empty-handed for music uses at such "live pop performances", ASCAP has initiated the so-called OnStage programme, through which authors can apply for compensation for uses in the previous year. You can notify us of such performances by 31 March of the following year so that we can ensure that the relevant documents are submitted to ASCAP in due time.
ASCAP distributes royalties if your work was played during one of the Top 300 Tours, the 300 highest-grossing tours per year, or if your tour includes at least one of the 15 Prestige Venues:
1. Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles, CA)
2. Staples Center (Los Angeles, CA)
3. Gibson Amphitheatre At Univ. CityWalk (Universal City, CA)
4. American Airlines Arena (Miami, FL)
5. Knight Concert Hall (Miami, FL)
6. BB&T Center (Sunrise, FL)
7. Beacon Theatre (New York, NY)
8. Madison Square Garden Arena (New York, NY)
9. Radio City Music Hall (New York, NY)
10. Theater At Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)
11. Hiram Bithorn Stadium (San Juan, PR)
12. Roberto Clemente Coliseum (San Juan, PR)
13. James L. Knight Center (Miami, FL)
14. Coliseo de Puerto Rico (San Juan, PR)
15. Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY)
Further information can be found here. (ASCAP OnStage, ASCAP Plus Awards, Performance Notification and our Top 300 Tours Survey - https://www.ascap.com/help/royalties-and-payment/payment/monetaryawards)
Live performances in the UK
Royalties are only paid by UK sister society PRS for concerts at major events. For live performances in pubs, discos and smaller clubs, authors can apply for a small royalty under the PRS Gigs and Clubs Scheme. Please notify us of such performances no later than 11 months after the performance so that we can ensure timely submission of the relevant documentation to PRS. Further information can be found here: https://www.prsformusic.com/royalties/live-performance-royalties.