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Beginner’s Guide on Starting an Entertainment Business in Singapore
The entertainment industry has gone through various evolutions. New realities, smart technologies and a remote-first society now set the rules in the business playbook. The popularity of the sector has brought various opportunities and challenges, as well as new avenues for starting an entertainment business.
Every single sector of the entertainment and media (E&M) industry has experienced transformative change – some good and some not. Many businesses did not survive the global pandemic, but those that did have emerged as robust and innovative entities. The prospects are bright and exponential – thanks to digitalisation, both audiences and clients are now truly global. Your entertainment business may have a physical base in Singapore, but the world is your oyster.
Singapore is a global hub for many things, and the entertainment industry is not an exception. Industry forecasts for 2021 are optimistic, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.8%. Singapore has passed a Resilience Budget 2021 allocating SGD45 million for arts and culture. There is an above-average chance for businesses to remain competitive along with subsidy schemes and capability development grants.
In this article, we’ve curated an information-packed read to inform, encourage and guide the curious entrepreneur. We address both specific and general concerns, such as the incorporation process and how to grow your business. By the end of the guide, you’ll be confident enough to begin – if not, get in touch with us. 3E Accounting Singapore is to assist you in any way.
What is an Entertainment Business?
Entertainment can be any activity that is capable of holding the interest of an audience. It is usually for mass consumption and is an easy and enjoyable way for people to spend their time. The entertainment business is truly broad and all-encompassing in its scope. As an industry, it tends to intersect with other sectors such as events management, tourism, IT, etc.
It can and does include the media industry, but not all types of media are considered entertainment. The same axiom applies to other sectors as well. For example, not many people would consider scholastic broadcasts or medical tourism as entertainment. Hence, an entertainment business will include any of the following:
- Music, film, performing arts.
- Movies, video games, spectator sports.
- Live performances, concerts, street shows.
- Theme parks, amusement centres, museums, cultural events.
- Circuses, clowns, comedians, or magic acts, children’s parties, private functions, etc.
- Busking, pet shows, karaoke lounges, nightclubs, etc.
As an entrepreneur, you can build your business around a versatile platform of activities and industries. Some options to consider include providing entertainment for events, managing musicians, actors or street performers, special screenings or concerts, etc.
Why Start an Entertainment Business in Singapore?
Singapore is an international destination for all types of business ventures and entrepreneurs. Its strategic location, world-class infrastructure and strong governance have given it a global reputation as the ‘place to be.’
Starting an entertainment business in Singapore offers many benefits, including the best intellectual property (IP) protection in Asia. Singapore also acts as a strategic gateway to Asia, attracting the best and brightest of a diverse talent pool. Further, solid and transparent Government initiatives support entrepreneurial mindsets, with significant investment in both infrastructure and technology.
With its unique blend of east meets west philosophy, businesses in Singapore benefit from a hybrid of ‘cultural urbanisation.’ This creates an ecosystem that is safe and beneficial for companies and a haven for entrepreneurs.
Key Steps in Starting an Entertainment Business in Singapore
In Singapore, the law requires you to register or incorporate your company before beginning any business activity. Anyone who is 18 and above can register a company, as stated by the Singapore Companies Act. Company structures include:
- Sole proprietorship or partnership.
- Limited partnership or limited liability partnership.
- Private or public limited company.
- Foreign Companies, which can be subsidiaries or branch offices.
The process itself is straightforward, but the easier option is to engage firms such as 3E Accounting Singapore. We are experts at Singapore company incorporation and, with customisable business solution packages, we’ll provide a seamless incorporation experience.
Alternatively, you can choose to incorporate your company by yourself by logging on to BizFile. This is the company registration platform run by Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Both ACRA and BizFile have great guidelines that explain the process and other relevant information. A glance at the registration process highlights the following:
- Company name with ACRA – you will need to find a suitable one as several ‘naming rules’ apply.
- Pick the best company structure for your business – each has its pros and cons, and it’s advisable to do some research beforehand.
- Get your incorporation documentation together – such as the Articles and Memorandum of Association, a legitimate registered address, directors and shareholders information, etc.
- Fill up the forms, submit everything and pay the appropriate fees.
- Register for taxes with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)
- Open a bank account, get business insurance, lease premises if needed and hire staff.
For more information, check Learn more about our services and the incorporation process from our comprehensive guide to company registration in Singapore.
What Approvals Do You Need for an Entertainment Business in Singapore?
There are a couple of great things about starting an entertainment business in Singapore. Firstly, you can start small as a home-based or online business, keeping costs within budget. The Singapore Home Office Scheme allows you to operate from home as long as you follow the guidelines. Renovating your premises for business purposes will require a Building and Construction Authority (BCA) permit before beginning.
Secondly, licensing and permits are industry-specific, so your entertainment company itself does not need a licence. However, some of the activities your business provides may need approvals. While there are exemptions, generally, approvals can include any of the following:
- Public Entertainment Licence from Singapore’s Police Force if you organise a street party, etc.
- Copyright Licence from Singapore’s Composers and Authors Society to stream music and related content.
- Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) related approvals such as Arts Entertainment Licence, Radio or Television Service Licence, Film Exhibition Licence, etc.
- Restaurant Licence if you plan to serve or sell food and beverages.
- Establishment Licence.
- Public Entertainment Ad-Hoc Licence for any type of ad-hoc activity that may take place.
If you’re planning to lease or buy land or premises, you may need further specific approvals. For example, you may require the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore’s (URA) approval for commercial use of land. You should also familiarise yourself with some of the regulations that apply to businesses in the entertainment industry.
There’s the Public Entertainment Act (PEA), the IMDA Act, and the Broadcasting Act, for starters. There’s also the Internet Code of Practice as well as copyright and trademark laws. These may seem daunting but staying compliant is easy if you engage a Singapore corporate service provider such as 3E Accounting. We have the right experts and expertise to ensure your business operates without any hiccups.
How to Grow Your Entertainment Business
Hallmarks of the E&M industry have global trends defining them – it’s all about virtual and remote capabilities. Digital quality and content, intelligent and automated technologies, and transformative business models are the new tools of accomplishment. Success in the entertainment business requires leveraging on these to become future-forward.
A trending website, strong social media presence and active networking are best for getting your brand out there. Attend as many networking and industry events as you can and get referrals for every function you handle. This will also give you an idea as to what type of entertainment is making waves out there. By finding a niche that connects to your audience, you’ll get on the right track to success.
Finally, the entertainment business is constantly evolving – to stay on top of your game, you need to upskill. Take a related course or workshop, such as improving your communication and marketing skills, etc. Learn how to ‘sell the experience’ by involving your audience and clients. Every little proactive move you make places you one step ahead of the competition.
Starting an entertainment business is an exciting avenue of commerce to pursue as there’s never a dull moment. Opportunities for success abound regardless of whether you’re providing DJs for clubs or financing the next blockbuster movie. Hard work, smart technologies, and sound business acumen are all you really need to succeed. As the world picks up pace post-pandemic, the time is just right for the budding entrepreneur.
3E Accounting is the go-to Singapore corporate service provider for those who are looking for professional and seamless service. All our business solutions are comprehensive, digitalised and fully customisable. We offer innovative 21st-century solutions for the savvy entrepreneur’s journey into the modern business world. For more information, contact 3E Accounting today.