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The "No Billag" initiative endangers Swiss creators and artists

The initiative calls for the complete abolition of electronic media’s (radio and television) public funding . In June 2015, Swiss voters elected to switch from a usage-based radio/TV reception fee to a single household fee. The household fee is scheduled to be introduced on 1 January 2019. Collection of this household fee will be carried out by Serafe. As a result, Billag will be dissolved on 31 December 2018. The title "No Billag" is misleading on two levels. The movement has little to do with Billag or Serafe, both of which are merely debt collection companies. The true objective of the initiative’s proponents is to abolish government spending on electronic media. This would result in large-scale cutbacks in programming, which would have a particularly negative impact on the Swiss music industry.

 

  • If Swiss broadcasters, including some private radio broadcasters, no longer have state funding, it would deal a significant blow to the Swiss musical landscape, particularly in rural regions. Broadcasters that are financed purely via advertising play a much lower percentage of Swiss music (see table on the following page).
  • The seven main arguments why Swiss composers, singers, musicians and even listeners should vote NO to the "No Billag" initiative:

 

1. SRG programmes and state-supported private broadcasters are the only places where Swiss music enjoys a satisfactory level of airplay: on average, 21% of music titles on SRG programmes are Swiss, while the average for most private broadcasters is only 9%.

 

2. SRG programmes represent the greatest diversity of Swiss music titles, since they play lesser-known music in addition to international hits: SRG programmes play an average of more than 14,000 different titles annually; the average is less than a third of that for private broadcasters at 4,175.

 

3. Switzerland is a country with four languages and four cultures; thus, diverse programming is extremely important to the Swiss music industry. State-funded broadcasters offer the only opportunity for Romansh songs or music from Ticino to be heard.

 

4. Everyone in the music industry benefits from diversity, particularly lesser-known Swiss musicians. Where else would concerts or recordings of folk musicians, jazz musicians or newcomers be broadcast? Private radio stations rarely play this music since it does not attract advertising spending.

 

5. SRG broadcasters in particular contribute to the success of Swiss music through interviews, concert broadcasts and live broadcasts.

 

6. Only fee-financed radio and television can afford to create programmes for which little or no advertising can be obtained. This includes not only SRG SSR broadcasters, but also 21 private, licensed radio broadcasters and 13 TV broadcasters, most notably in mountainous and peripheral regions.

 

7. Without this fee-financed programming, Swiss music would have little opportunity to be prominently broadcast and promoted. This would also lead to less Swiss music being composed and performed.


If the diversity of Swiss music is important to you, vote against the "No Billag" initiative!

As a Swissartist, would you like to take a stand against the "No Billag" initiative? Support the call for artists here

 

Radio programming – key statements concerning all SRG broadcasters/evaluated private broadcasters: 

  • Average percentage of Swiss music played by SRG: 21% 

  • Average percentage of Swiss music played by private broadcasters: 9%

  • Average programming diversity of SRG broadcasters: 14,044 different recordings per year

  • Average programming diversity of private broadcasters: 4,175 different recordings per year

  • General: overlapping airplay across different private broadcasters: approx. 75% 


Percentage of SUISA repertoire (2016)* / programming diversity for Swiss radio broadcasters (2015)**

SRG broadcasters Percentage: SUISA works across all musical programming Diversity: Number of different music titles Private broadcasters Percentage Diversity
SRF MW 34.78% 28‘978 Radio 24 8.54% 2‘320
Swiss Classic 7.03% 4‘007 Argovia 7.04% 2‘669
Swiss Jazz 8.19% 10‘645 Sunshine 8.63% 1‘746
Virus 49.13% 8‘206 Fribourg 2.87% 8‘606
Swiss Pop 25.33% 4‘929 Central 11.54% 6‘885
SRF 3 23.21% 13‘702 Zürisee 7.47% 4‘319
SRF 2 13.51% 16‘826 Beo 27.95% 10‘012
SRF 1 17.67% 12‘189 Pilatus 9.26% 2‘389
Rete Uno 8.26% 8‘600 Chablais 3.02% 1‘137
Rete Due 5.25% 18‘335 Energy ZH 8.13 1‘670
Rete Tre 11.66% 14‘209
RTR 38.76% 18‘176
La Première 14.23% 12‘728
Espace 2 9.87% 27‘075
Couleur 3 13.97% 19‘220
Option Musique 9.61% 6‘881
Total 224‘706 41‘753
Average 20.99% 14‘044 8.8% 4‘175


* Source: www.suisa.ch/hitparade / A work counts as SUISA repertoire if at least one of the associated authors is a SUISA member.
** Evaluation by Swissperform

Peter Reber

Musician

"Of course we need private media broadcasters, but we also need a strong, independent SRG that is beholden to the country and not to any shareholders. Accepting the 'No Billag' initiative would be devastating for Switzerland. So please vote no!"

Franz Treichler

Composer and singer in the band "The Young Gods"

"The 'No Billag' initiative threatens diversity of opinion in Switzerland. Our democracy needs independent media."

Gotthard

Rock band

"For us as musicians, it’s clear that the initiative needs to be rejected. It threatens our cultural diversity, our individuality and thus our national identity."

"Media that is centred around click rates and shareholder value is dangerous for all of us. For lots of different reasons."

Who will fight against it?

SUISA's foundation

FONDATION SUISA

Mint Digital Services