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Iceland Offers 25% Rebate to Attract Recording Projects

By Steve Harvey. Iceland aims to raise its music industry's profile with new economic initiative to attract recording projects from overseas.

Reykjavík, Iceland (October 10, 2019)—Iceland has announced an initiative to attract international recording artists, touting the creative inspiration of the natural surroundings and offering a 25% rebate on all expenses incurred while producing music in the country.

A dedicated website for the government-backed Record in Iceland program includes a 14-page Q&A and details of the country’s recording studios, some of which offer residential facilities. Reimbursement is available for “hourly studio rates for recording, wage expenses incurred during the recording for hired performers, producers, engineers or studio personnel, post-production (including sound mixing and mastering), travel and transport costs for musical instruments and lead performers.”

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The basic stipulation is that a project must comprise at least 30 minutes of music and be released within 18 months of recording. However, the initiative does extend to film score recording as well as record releases.

The country has “a rich talent pool” of composers, arrangers, orchestras and choirs, notes the Record in Iceland website. “It’s very easy to find world-class session musicians to play on your recordings, everything from horn sections to percussion wizards and guitar heroes or just good piano players.”

“There’s always one weirdo who does that one thing,” says Australian-born composer and producer Ben Frost, a Reykjavík resident, in the program’s promotional video. “And he’s usually just around the corner.”

The Record in Iceland initiative is being administered by Iceland Music, a public export office for Icelandic music, in collaboration with Promote Iceland, the country’s foreign service and Reykjavík Music City. Iceland’s Ministry of Industry and Innovation is funding the program.

Iceland Music’s managing director is Sigtryggur Baldursson, drummer and founding member of The Sugarcubes, which featured Björk on vocals. Baldursson told Billboard, “Until now, these studios have been something of a hidden secret, but our aim with Record in Iceland is to open these facilities to a far wider range of international artists and businesses, and to make them a compelling commercial proposition.”

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Production facilities highlighted on the website include Greenhouse Studios, which is equipped with an SSL AWS900 and a Neve Kelso in its two rooms and has hosted sessions with Kanye West. Another, Masterkey, with expansive views of the coast, features a Rupert Neve 5088 desk and Ocean Way HR3.5 monitors.

Studio Silo, said to be the only Icelandic facility to specialize in tape recording, is equipped with a vintage Amek Angela desk but also offers digital capabilities, and has “a striking view across the North Atlantic.” SSL-based Syrlnd Studio can accommodate a large orchestra and boasts a client list that includes Björk, Sigurrós and Of Monsters and Men.

Record in Iceland •