Even though the amount spent on concert tickets fell, Italian collecting society SIAE has reported a "mild" increase in the amount of money spent by Italians on entertainment events in the first six months of 2009, in comparison to the same period in 2008.

SIAE states that, in the 1,600,506 events it covered, the total expenditure by the public came to €1.535 billion ($2.25 billion), an increase of 1.7% with respect to the previous year. This figure includes extra expenses such as booking fees, wardrobe and food and drinks. Within that figure, the actual amount spent on tickets came to €961 million ($1.4 billion), an increase of 3.4% with respect to the same period the previous year.

SIAE divided the figures into individual categories. The largest was cinema, where the total expense rose by 2.4% to €355 million ($519.7 million), while the amount spent on tickets rose by 1.8% to €324 million ($474.3 million).

Theatre (which includes opera, ballet, musical comedies and circus) registered a total expenditure at events by the public of €196.5 million ($287.7 million), which is an increase of 5.7%, while the figure for spending on tickets alone was €161.5 million ($236.4 million), an increase of 5.5%.

Concerts, on the other hand, underwent a drop in revenue. The total amount spent by the public at events fell by 7.7% to €107.8 million ($157.8 million), while ticket revenue fell by 7.1% to €89.6 million ($131.2 million).

Sporting events, on the other hand, appear to be booming. An extra 11% was spent by the Italian public on sporting events in general, while the amount spent on soccer matches rose by 22%.

Meanwhile, SIAE has signed an agreement with independent labels group AFI for the collection of broadcast and public performance rights. The agreement, which was signed by SIAE president Giorgio Assumma and AFI president Leopoldo Lombardi in Rome on Oct. 23, will become operative in January 2010. The arrangement will cover music played on local radio, but also in discotheques, bars, restaurants and shops.

This marks something of a new departure for SIAE, which primarily collects copyright revenue on behalf of authors and publishers. In actual fact AFI - the Italian recording industry's oldest representative body, it was originally founded in 1933 and re-formed in 1948 - today represents an estimated 5% of the country's recording industry and many of its members are in fact publishers.

The major labels, who are affiliated to FIMI, and most of the indies, which belong to PMI, have a contract with SCF, which was founded in 2001. Until now AFI had administered its own broadcast and public performance rights collection.