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Registration and Setup of Art or Music Business in Singapore

1.    Register your business first with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore (ACRA). Your business must register as a sole proprietorship, partnership or a private limited company.

2.    Secure a premise for your business. The premise has to be zoned for commercial use and designated for arts or music use by URA.

Securing a Premise

Once you have secured a space, do make sure that it is current on building codes and fire safety measures. If the existing premise is not set up to accommodate an arts or music establishment, you can discuss with the landlord to apply for a Change of Use with the Urban Redevelopment Board. Depending on the type of arts or music business you plan to have, the facility may or may not have stringent guidelines in the design and layout, so it will be worthwhile for you to do the research for the specific entertainment or recreation business you intend to set up to avoid rejection when inspected.

Any major renovation of the premise requires an application for a building work permit through Building and Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA). When the building works are complete, you will also need to obtain from BCA:  a Certificate of Statutory Completion and/or a Temporary Occupation Permit before you can occupy the space. All renovation works are to be performed by certified or licensed contractors including architects. A business signage that is to be placed on the building will require an application of an Advertisement License from BCA.

You will also need a Fire Safety Certificate (FSC) prior to occupying the building. You can obtain an FSC from Singapore Civil Defense Force through a registered architect or engineer.

Arts Entertainment Licenses & Permits

Media Development Authority (MDA) presides over the following licenses that allow the operation of public arts and entertainment events such as live concerts, poetry reading and art exhibition; screening of films that are rated NC 16, M18 and R21; and the use of TV on the business premise. You may or may not require all of these licenses.

  • Arts Entertainment License
  • Film Exhibition License
  • Non-residential TV License

Depending on the kind of events you plan to organize that are open to the public, you may need to apply one of the following permits. It is advisable for you to check with the Singapore Police Force (SPF) on the appropriate license to apply for. In any case, all events will require at least a Public Entertainment License or a Public Entertainment Ad-Hoc License. You will also need to obtain the Copyright Permit (for Ad-Hoc Events) from the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore to play copyrighted music at the events.

If you need to engage specialists from a foreign country to assist you in organizing an arts or music event you can find out from Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is you qualify to hire foreign workers. MOM determines, on a case-by-case basis, if you qualify to hire foreign workers. All foreign workers working in your business must have valid employment passes or visas.

For foreigners who are interested in setting up an arts or music business in Singapore, it would be helpful to seek an agency that specializes in company incorporation in Singapore. It is, in fact, necessary to engage a law or corporate services agency to assist you in incorporating a business in Singapore with ACRA.

Information on Singapore Company Incorporation http://asiabizservices.com

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