Escaping the SUISA-jungle

Escaping teh SUISA jungle with support and explanations by SILANFA

You are subject to SUISA fees

With any kind of music in your premisses, you are subject to SUISA fees. As they might be called different in other countries, such as GEMA in Germany, the AKM in Austria or the SIAE in Italy, these institutions guarantee a fair royalty payment to the artists for their played songs.

In Switzerland, it is irrelevant whether the music is streamed from online services, such as spotify, youtube radio, a radio station, from a data storage medium or produced by a live artist. SUISA fees apply.

But there are many different tarrifs from SUISA and sometimes, it is not that easy to understand which fee applies and how the “mechanics” in paying it works.

It's only the radio playing in the background

Even though it is “just” the radio playing in your Bar, Restaurant, Hotel or Disco, it is background music which has its purpose in a public domain and thus, SUISA fees apply. Here, a special tariff applies which is the common tariff 3A. This tariff includes all background music sourced or streamed from a data storage medium such as the radio, the TV, spotify, youtube, you name it.

To keep the tariffs apart and to decide easier which one applies in your case, the tariff 3A is the “background music tariff”.

This tariff, in fact, applies to all instances in which you have background music or TV for your guest or clients, such as in a waiting room, in the hold line of your phone, in the elevator and so on.

Common tariff 3A is a flat fee.

Ok, it's Live-Music for my guests

Another situation where music is offered to guests and clients might be live-music in your bar, restaurant, hotel or alike which has its intention to entertain or to dance along. Irrelevant whether the live-music is a pianist, a band or a solo artist, a special tariff applies, which is different from the “background music tariff”.

The “live-music tariff” is the  common tariff H. But watch out! This is only applicable if the guest don’t come just because of the artist, the band or the pianist and have to pay an entrance fee or buy a ticket.

Common tariff H is a flat fee per year calculated as follows:

  • Number of guests  x  the cheapest alcoholic drink

From this multiplication, the price given as “UR” is to be paid. The price given as “VSR” is to be paid in addition, and only for DJ’s.

The common tariff H has to be reported to SUISA at the beginning of a year or the start of the live-music as the estimate of live-music events over a year. By the end of a year, an adjustement to this reporting can be made for the following year. There is a possibility for cost reduction when a contract is closed with SUISA. In addition, a membership with an hospitality industry organisation will lower the costs as well.

It's a concert what we are planning - and we are thrilled about it!

In the case the live-music event is a concert in the sense that the guests are coming for the artist and are charged for this with an entry or ticket fee, the tariff K is to be applied.

Tariff K, in contrast to common tariff H, does not work as a flat fee. After each concert, 30 days the latest, the reporting to SUISA has to have been made.

The calculation of tariff K is 10% of the higher value of the following:

  • revenue from the ticketing or entry fee
  • costs for the artist, technics, rent of the location

Please be aware that the tariff K needs a so-called “setlist” from the artist to reimburse accordingly.

Ok, we will have a pianist playing at our company

SUISA fees are to be paid for all public events. SUISA understands as private events only those amongst family and close friends, as for a wedding, a birthday party or alike.
Even though you are a private company, SUISA fees are applicable.

For companies, the SUISA common tariff Hb is applicable along to a setlist.