How to Start a Business Providing Entertainment Services in the UAE

June 6, 2024

Starting an entertainment services business in the UAE is a lucrative opportunity. The Middle East Media and Entertainment (M&E) market, which includes the UAE, is projected to reach USD 41.13 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 9.41%. This growth is driven by technological advancements like VR/AR, personalized digital platforms, and the increasing demand for innovative entertainment among younger demographics.

The UAE’s thriving tourism industry, coupled with high levels of disposable income among residents, boosts demand for top-notch entertainment options such as theme parks, bowling centers, arcades, and cinemas. The industry is also shifting towards interactive experiences delivered through digital platforms. To set up your business, first do your market research, then secure an instant business license from SPC Free Zone, which offers a supportive environment, streamlined processes, and tailored benefits. Choose from multiple different activities that align with your expertise, ensuring a strong start for your entertainment business.

Here are the activities you can explore:

9000.01 – Production of live theatrical presentations, concerts and opera or dance productions  and other stage productions:  • Activities of groups, circuses or companies, orchestras or bands  • Activities of individual artists such as authors, actors, directors, musicians, lecturers or speakers, stage-set designers and builders etc.

This business activity involves the production of live theatrical performances, concerts, opera, dance productions, and other stage shows. This includes arranging and managing plays, musicals, solo or band concerts, operas, and dance recitals. Supervisors must oversee key aspects such as choreography, stage design, casting, and scriptwriting. The primary goal is to engage spectators, offering them a memorable live experience in theaters, music halls, or outdoor venues.

This activity also supports both groups and individual artists. This includes performance groups like circuses, orchestras, and bands, as well as individual artists such as authors, actors, directors, musicians, lecturers, and speakers. These specialists contribute to the creative and technical components of productions, coordinating with stage-set designers and builders to ensure high-quality performances. The industry provides a dynamic and creative atmosphere, bringing together diverse talents to create captivating live entertainment.

People who start a business in entertainment services typically cover most of these activities. This ensures a holistic approach to live performance production and management, providing numerous opportunities for creative expression and audience engagement.

This activity excludes the following classes: restoring stained glass windows; manufacturing statues (other than artistic originals); restoring organs and other historical musical instruments; restoring historical sites and buildings; motion picture and video production; cinema operation; activities of personal theatrical or artistic agents or agencies; casting activities; ticket agency operations; operation of museums of all kinds; sports; amusement and recreation activities; and restoring furniture (except for museum-type restoration).

  • Third-party Approval: This business activity does not require third-party approval. 
  • Filing of Economic Substance Returns: This requirement does not apply to business activities under 9000.01. 
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: This requirement does not apply to business activities under 9000.01.

9000.12: Art Production

Art production includes creating, managing, and supervising works of art in various forms. This industry involves the production of visual and performing arts, such as paintings, sculptures, photographs, and digital art, as well as live installations, dance, and theater. Making physical artwork is just one part of the creative process involved in art production. Other aspects include coming up with ideas, organizing, and carrying out these plans.

Art consulting involves services that engage not only with the making of art but also the planning and execution of art exhibits, galleries, and exhibitions. Curating collections, planning exhibitions, and directing public events featuring artworks are all part of this service. The objectives are to create a lasting impression and encourage consumers to value the arts with greater passion. The cultural and entertainment industries rely on art production to sustain artists and showcase their work, adding diversity and vitality to the art world.

This activity excludes the following classes: restoring stained glass windows; manufacturing statues (other than artistic originals); restoring organs and other historical musical instruments; restoring historical sites and buildings; motion picture and video production; cinema operation; activities of personal theatrical or artistic agents or agencies; casting activities; ticket agency operations; operation of museums of all kinds; sports; amusement and recreation activities; and restoring furniture (except for museum-type restoration).

  • Third-party Approval: This business activity does not require third-party approval. 
  • Filing of Economic Substance Returns: This requirement does not apply to business activities under 9000.12. 
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: This requirement does not apply to business activities under 9000.12.

9000.13: Performing Arts Management

Performing arts management includes managing facilities and providing services to fulfill the public’s cultural and entertainment interests. This involves putting on live shows, events, and exhibits for the public to see, as well as promoting them.

To ensure smooth passage from planning to execution, managers in this field oversee the operational, financial, and logistical aspects of these activities. This includes organizing marketing and public relations campaigns to attract and retain audiences, handling finances, securing investment, arranging concerts, and selecting venues.

Managing art production and live performances requires logistical expertise as well as creative and technical capabilities. To turn creative visions into reality on stage, effective teamwork among directors, choreographers, musicians, and technical personnel is essential. Whether it’s stage design, lighting, sound, or costumes, it is the responsibility of the performing arts management to ensure everything is up to standard. When performing arts managers skillfully oversee these processes, they bolster artists’ careers and enrich the cultural landscape, ultimately entertaining and engaging audiences.

This activity excludes the following classes: restoring stained glass windows, manufacturing statues (other than artistic originals), restoring organs and other historical musical instruments, restoring historical sites and buildings, motion picture and video production, cinema operation, activities of personal theatrical or artistic agents or agencies, casting activities, ticket agency operations, operation of museums of all kinds, sports, amusement and recreation activities, and restoring furniture (except for museum-type restoration).

  • Third-party Approval: This business activity does not require third-party approval. 
  • Filing of Economic Substance Returns: This requirement does not apply to business activities under 9000.13. 
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: This requirement does not apply to business activities under 9000.13.

9000.16: Music Consultancy

Music consultancy is a specialist business activity that entails offering expert advice and services on various aspects of the music industry. This includes guidance on music production, artist development, music marketing, and strategic planning for music projects.

Businesses that provide music consultancy as a service work closely with artists, bands, record labels, and event organizers to help them achieve their artistic and commercial goals. These music consultants use their extensive industry knowledge and networks to deliver valuable insights into market trends, audience preferences, and effective promotional techniques, enabling various artists to maximize their artistic potential.

In addition to strategic guidance, music consultants can assist with song selection, arrangement, and production techniques to improve the quality of artist production and recordings. They can also provide advice on branding and strategies to build a strong brand image, significantly contributing to the strong presence of musicians in the music industry.

This activity excludes the following classes: restoring stained glass windows, manufacturing statues (other than artistic originals), restoring organs and other historical musical instruments, restoring historical sites and buildings, motion picture and video production, cinema operation, activities of personal theatrical or artistic agents or agencies, casting activities, ticket agency operations, operation of museums of all kinds, sports, amusement and recreation activities, and restoring furniture (except for museum-type restoration).

  • Third-party Approval: This business activity does not require third-party approval. 
  • Filing of Economic Substance Returns: This requirement does not apply to business activities under 9000.16. 
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: This requirement does not apply to business activities under 9000.16.

9000.07: Activities of Producers or Entrepreneurs of Arts Live Events, with or without Facilities 

This activity involves a business where producers or entrepreneurs of live arts events plan, manage, and promote various live performances. This includes organizing and marketing events such as theater shows, concerts, dance recitals, and exhibitions for public enjoyment. From the initial idea to the final execution, they oversee every aspect of the event.

Successful event production relies on both logistical and operational management and, importantly, includes the artistic, creative, and technical skills of those involved. Artists, directors, choreographers, set designers, and technical crews work together to bring ideas to life on stage. Entrepreneurs in this field may handle everything from financing to venue selection, whether they operate their own spaces or use rented ones. Their efforts are vital in enriching culture, supporting the arts community, and benefiting society overall.

This activity excludes the following classes: restoring stained glass windows, manufacturing statues (other than artistic originals), restoring organs and other historical musical instruments, restoring historical sites and buildings, motion picture and video production, cinema operation, activities of personal theatrical or artistic agents or agencies, casting activities, ticket agency operations, operation of museums of all kinds, sports, amusement and recreation activities, and restoring furniture (except for museum-type restoration).

  • Third-party Approval: This business activity does not require third-party approval. 
  • Filing of Economic Substance Returns: This requirement does not apply to business activities under 9000.07. 
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: This requirement does not apply to business activities under 9000.07.

9000.00: Creative, Arts, and Entertainment Activities

Creative Arts and Entertainment Activities include operating facilities and providing services to satisfy cultural and entertainment demands. This type of business involves developing and promoting live performances, events, and exhibits for public observation. It includes fostering artistic talent, especially those with the creative and technical abilities required for producing and curating live performances.

Under these activities, the following classes are excluded: restoring stained glass windows, manufacturing statues (other than artistic originals), restoring organs and other historical musical instruments, restoring historical sites and buildings, motion picture and video production, operation of cinemas, activities of personal theatrical or artistic agents or agencies, casting activities, activities of ticket agencies, operation of museums of all kinds, sports and amusement and recreation activities, and restoring furniture (except for museum-type restoration).

  • Third-party Approval: This business activity does not require third-party approval. 
  • Filing of Economic Substance Returns: This requirement does not apply to business activities under 9000.00. 
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: This requirement does not apply to business activities under 9000.00.

7990.03: Ticket Sales Activities for Theatrical, Sports, and Other Amusement and Entertainment Events 

This business activity revolves around ticket sales for theatrical, sporting, and other amusement and entertainment events, including the management and sale of access passes to various live performances and events.

Foraying into this type of business entails managing ticket distribution, pricing, and promotion. It ensures that customers can purchase tickets through various channels, including online platforms, box offices, and retail locations, with the goal of making the process as convenient and efficient as possible for attendees. The goal is to increase attendance and deliver a smooth experience for event attendees.

The following classes are excluded from this activity: travel agency and tour operator activities, as well as the organization and management of events such as meetings, conventions, and conferences.

  • Third-party Approval: Before acquiring the license, approval is required from the Tourism Department (TD). 
  • Filing of Economic Substance Returns: This requirement does not apply to business activities under 7990.03. 
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: This requirement does not apply to business activities under 7990.03.

9320.00: Other Amusement and Recreation Activities

This type of activity involves providing services focused on catering to consumers’ diverse leisure interests. This business entails managing a variety of attractions, including games, shows, theme exhibitions, and conducting recreational activities in picnic areas.

The goal is to provide guests with enjoyable and interesting experiences through a variety of entertainment options. Businesses in this industry focus on delivering high-quality recreational services that cater to their clients’ diverse interests.

This activity excludes the following classes: sports, dramatic arts, music, and other arts and entertainment activities.

  • Third-party Approval: Before acquiring the license, approval is required from the Security Industry Regulatory Agency (SIRA). 
  • Filing of Economic Substance Returns: This requirement does not apply to business activities under 9320.00. 
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: This requirement does not apply to business activities under 9320.00.

Did you find what you were looking for? Explore the other guides in our Activity Hub for exploring unique business ideas in Dubai and navigate the essentials of business setup with ease.

You can also calculate your business setup costs easily using our handy cost calculator and choose from our customized company setup packages to find your perfect fit.

Get your business license in the UAE today and explore a world of opportunities waiting for you.

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