Björn to Rock: Iceland Offers to Pay 25% of Expenses for Artists Who Record There

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Juliette Rowland
Masterkey, one of the Iceland recording studios participating in the rebate program.

International artists who record music in Iceland can now score a 25% rebate on all recording expenses -- including travel and accommodation costs, along with studio rates and the cost of hiring an engineer.

The government-backed "Record In Iceland" initiative is conceived by Iceland Music, the country’s music export office. And it covers any recording facility in the Nordic nation, from Greenhouse Studios (where Kanye West booked studio time in 2016) to Syrland Studio (which has catered to Icelandic talents like Björk and Of Monsters & Men).

The initiative will be formally presented at Iceland Airwaves, the annual music showcase and industry festival in the capital of Reykjavík, set for Nov. 6-9. 

In an online Q&A packet, the program touts Iceland's "close-knit" creative community and "inspirational surroundings" as reason enough for artists to make the trip. Plus, Reykjavik is only a 3-hour flight from London, a 3.5-hour flight from Berlin and 5.5-hour flight from New York.

“Because of our glorious isolation, Iceland has nurtured quite a unique music culture," said Iceland Music managing director Sigtryggur Baldursson. "But as well as developing a nation of poets and musicians, we also have a network of first-class recording studios, each with their own idiosyncrasies. 

“Until now, these studios have been something of a hidden secret," he continues, "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."

As for the fine print: The application for reimbursement must be submitted by the producer on the project, and include receipts for all costs. The combined playing time of the recorded music must exceed 30 minutes and be released within a period of 18 months. 

The country -- which has been ramping up efforts to attract tourism in recent years -- has already seen success with a similar program for filmmakers and TV companies, which attracted major productions like Star WarsGame of Thrones and Thor.

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