Italian industry body FIMI and state-owned television network RAI have signed a four-year agreement for the Sanremo Festival. As a result of the arrangement, members of FIMI will attend the 2005 editi

Italian industry body FIMI and state-owned television network RAI have signed a four-year agreement for the Sanremo Festival. As a result of the arrangement, members of FIMI will attend the 2005 edition of the long-running RAI-organized festival.

FIMI's members -- which represent an estimated 90% of annual sales in the Italian industry -- boycotted this year's event following a dispute over expenses owed from the 2003 edition. FIMI says RAI has now agreed to settle those expenses, estimated at about €500,000 ($600,000).

In future, RAI will contribute €46,000 ($55,000) towards each competitor in the main section and €16,000 ($19,000) to each participant in the junior section.

RAI is understood to have signed a declaration of intent to ramp up the amount of local music content it broadcasts; it has also agreed to televise the fifth edition of the FIMI Italian Music Awards, to be held later this year. RAI had pulled out of its broadcasting plans for last year's gala over the dispute with FIMI.

News of the agreement was expected. Earlier this month, FIMI had been instructed by its members to resume negotiations with RAI. FIMI director general Enzo Mazza tells Billboard.Biz: "We have decided to return as there are now the right conditions for doing so. That was not the case before the 2004 edition."

The Sanremo Festival, which is held every year in late February/early March, has been a key event in the Italian musical calendar since the early 1950s.

The televised show traditionally attracts an average nightly audience of around 10 million viewers during its five-night span and generates substantial revenue for RAI and the city of Sanremo.