Over at Drowned In Sound, Vasilis Panagiotopoulos has a fascinating article on the effects of Iceland’s economic collapse on the country’s music industry. Iceland, known for artists like Mum and Bjork, amongst many others, witnessed a catastrophic downturn last October, as thousands of Icelanders lost their life savings, three of the country’s largest banks were placed under state control, and inflation rocketed to 17.1%. Interviewing record store owners, musicians, festival promoters (specifically those involved in Iceland Airwaves, the country’s biggest music festival, whose 2009 iteration was almost canceled due to the economic crisis), and Icelandic record labels.
Relative economic stability, coupled with increased music tourism, seems to indicate that the music industry in Iceland will gradually right itself. A rejection of consumerism and a focus on artistic innovation have given rise to greater artistic expression. As one musician notes: “There’s a good vibe and a lot of creativity at the moment. I think this crisis is like watering the plants. It gives additional ideas to the artists. History has shown us that when something like this happens, it will out in some way. There is lot of anger still in society that will come out in some way. Music is one channel.”