Italian record labels attending Midem, Popkomm, Womex and other international fairs next year are to receive government financial support.

The agreement, struck between the industry's "Music Round Table" umbrella group, the Ministry of International Commerce and the National Institute of Foreign Trade, was signed at the Italian MEI indie labels gathering in Faenza on Nov. 25 and announced today.

Under the accord, individual labels can expect to have up to 60% of their foreign trade fair costs paid, while for the assorted associations which belong to the Music Round Table -- such as major body FIMI, independent groups PMI, AFI and Audiocoop, and live music organisation Assomusica -- the figure is 90%.

In a statement, Audiocoop president Giordano Sangiorgi describes the arrangement as "extraordinary," while FIMI call it "historic."

And in separate news, a market survey conducted on behalf of FIMI by auditors AC Nielsen reveals that Italian pop music remains the genre of choice among Italian consumers. According to the survey, which was conducted in the summer and based on consumer questionnaires, 63% of interviewees cited local pop as their favorite form of music.