Starting an Art or Music Business in Singapore

Staff Writer

January 17, 2022

What’s in the article?

People strive for entertainment, and among the popular forms of entertainment are art and music. However, music and arts entertainment licences are regulated by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), which determines whether a business may operate within the industry.

Starting your own sound recording studio, or specified arts entertainment will require you to obtain a number of licences to do so. This is mainly to regulate the number of arts and entertainment establishments in the country, and ensure that these businesses are up to code in terms of noise pollution levels.

How to Open an Art or Music Business

As the standard of living in Singapore is quickly increasing over the past decades, more and more people look for new ways of entertaining and enhancing their mental aspects. Although the art and music business is basically recreational by nature, it is currently categorised as a different sector from the entertainment industry.

A few examples of this area include dance performances, art exhibitions, orchestra concerts, and operas. Spaces for creating music videos, sound recording studios, and businesses that play recorded music are also within this industry, and will need the appropriate permits and licences in order to operate.

If you are planning to open up a company in the art and music market, there are three major steps that you need to follow. These are:

  • Register your company with the Singapore Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA);
  • Find and secure the premise for your company;
  • Acquire necessary limits and licences.

1. Register your Company

The first step you need to do when opening up a new music and art company is to register the business with the government – the Singapore Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority or ACRA. You will need to submit an application form, as well as supporting documents required for incorporation.

  • A registered and approved company name;
  • Details or resident director/shareholder;
  • Details of company secretary;
  • Registered local office address;
  • Licences and permits for arts entertainment events and businesses;
  • At least SGD1 minimum paid-up capital.

According to the regulations, a company in Singapore can be registered as a private limited partnership, or sole proprietorship business. Each entity will have its own pros and cons concerning capitals, human resources, and requirements by the government.

Thus, make sure to consider every factor carefully to choose the right option for your business model. If necessary, it is advisable to seek professional consultation. Our team at WealthBridge can assist you in this matter.

2. Find and Secure the Premise for Your Company

Next, you should find and secure the premise for your company. In general, it should be zoned for commercial use and assigned for music and art usage by the Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority, or the URA.

Once you already have a secured space, make sure that it meets all fire safety and building codes. If the existing area is not used for a music and art establishment, you might discuss more with the landlord on how to submit the application to the URA for a Change of Use.

Depending on the form of music and art business that you are going to have, the premise may have some strict guidelines in the layout and design. Therefore, it is advisable to do your own research and look for specific requirements to avoid rejection during the inspection.

For instance a location for live music performances must be equipped with necessary soundproofing to minimise noise pollution. If the company handles sound recording and music videos, then the location must be equipped to handle the recordings.

Any major restoration of the facility requires an official application to the Singapore Building and Construction Authority or BCA to acquire a constructing work permit. When the constructing work is complete, you would also need to acquire the following permit or certificate from the BCA:

  • A Temporary Occupation License
  • A Statutory Completion Certificate

All renovation tasks must be done by a licensed or certified building contractor, including professional architects. You need to apply and acquire an Advertise Licence by the BCA before placing business signage on the building.

Also, it requires a Certificate of Fire Safety from the Singapore Civil Defence Force prior to the occupation of the premises. You could acquire this licence from the Civil Defense Force of Singapore through a registered engineer or architect.

3. Get an Art or Music License (Singapore)

The Singapore Media Development Authority or MDA is responsible for the licences and permits which allow businesses to operate the following music and art activities in their premises:

  • Screening of movies which are rated R21, M18, and NC16
  • Entertainment and public arts events like art exhibitions, poetry reading, or live concerts
  • Playing of commercially published sound recordings
  • Karaoke videos
  • Recording music videos, sounds, and other similar media
  • Recording film and movies

Depending on your specific activities, it also requires either of the following licences:

  • Film Exhibition Licence
  • Arts Entertainment License
  • Public Entertainment Licence
  • Establishment Licence
  • Performance of Karaoke Licence
  • Music Video Licence

In addition, it is necessary to check with the Singapore Police Force on the right licence you need to apply for. In many cases, all events would need at least a License of Public Entertainment or an Ad-Hoc License of Public Entertainment. You may need to pay licence fees for each licence required.

Also, you will have to acquire the Copyright Permit from the Singapore Authors and Composers Society to perform copyrighted work at your events. The Licensing Officer may impose additional requirements depending on the nature of your business, and the business operations done within the company and its premises.

If you want to engage any foreign specialists to help you with organising a music or arts event, it is advisable to consult the Ministry of Manpower or MOM to find out whether your company is qualified to sign a contract with foreign employees. The department will evaluate every application. Also, make sure these international experts must have a valid work visa before working for your company.

Music to Your Ears

An incomplete or incorrect submission of your documents can push back your plans, which is why our team at WealthBridge will be more than glad to assist you in any paperwork that needs to be done regarding your arts and music company.

From filing the necessary supporting documents, to incorporation and ensuring compliance, our team can provide the best corporate services to ease doing business in Singapore. Keep your customers happy, and let us handle the paperwork so you can focus on improving your business!

Give us a call, or send us a message to discuss more.

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