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India mulls more foreign investment in music

The government of India hopes to open up its nascent music industry to more foreign direct investment (FDI), the country’s new finance minister has said.

Nirmala Sitharaman, who was appointed minister of finance and corporate affairs in May, presented her first budget to the parliament of India on Friday 5 July. Among other announcements, including tax relief on electric vehicles and an increase in the corporation tax threshold, Sitharaman pledged to further liberalise rules around FDI in the media and entertainment industries.

According to Sitharaman (pictured), India recorded an “upsplurge” in foreign investment in 2018–19, up 6% year on year to US$64.4 billion, and the BJP government wants to continue that momentum.

“I propose to further consolidate the gains in order to make India a more attractive FDI destination,” she said, reports RadioandMusic.com. “The government will examine suggestions of the further opening up of FDI in aviation, media, AVGC [animation, visual effects, gaming and comics] and the insurance sector in consultation with stakeholders.”

“I propose to further consolidate the gains in order to make India a more attractive FDI destination”

It is hoped the administration of recently reelected prime minister Narendra Modi will allow more foreign investment across the music/entertainment industry, including in radio, according to Nisha Narayan, director of Red FM and Magic FM. “Indian economy is all set to become a $3 trillion economy, and the first budget by the Modi government has introduced several benefits.

“It proposes more foreign investment in media. Currently, FDI stands at 49% for the private FM radio industry, which we now hope will be opened up to 100% like DTH [direct-to-home television] and entertainment. Liberalisation of the same will also majorly help in private FM station to reach the current media ‘dark’ cities in India and adapt new era digital technologies and best practices being followed globally.”

According to PwC, India’s growing live market is on track to reach nearly $125m in ticket sales in 2022.


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