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CCA Spotlight


Musician, economist and record label guru, Solvi Blondal, wants to take the biggest publishing database in Iceland and bring it into the 21st Century. 

CCA: Tell us about your new recording and publishing label, Alda Music, and why it’s a natural progression from your career as an Icelandic musician, producer and songwriter. 

Blöndal: I’m one of the owners and Chairman of the Board of Alda, which is the market leader in Icelandic pop music, pop rock, and electronic.  [In 2010] a company called Sena, which was itself a merger of many small companies, acquired 80% of the Icelandic pop music catalog. And then me and Olafur Arnalds, who’s a renowned musician, we bought the Sena catalog in 2016 and decided to do something new with it, to take it into the twenty-first century, with a high emphasis on digital [production], and digital marketing.  Because it’s my opinion that today’s music companies, first and foremost, they think they’re a marketing company and that streaming is absolutely here to stay.  So it’s always going to be a question of how you present your music online.  But if you have 40,000 songs coming out a week, how do you take your songs and make them more relevant or more interesting than the rest of the bunch?


CCA: You said that there’s about 40,000 new songs coming out worldwide every week?

Blöndal: So that’s a fact.  People tend to forget when Led Zeppelin was making their albums in the 1960s and ’70s, it was hard to make an album.  It cost a lot of money.  It was big trouble.  You had to invest and you had to get somebody to lend you the money.  And you had to go to your studio and you had to rent for, often, many, many days and mix the album.  Today you can make a studio album in your mother’s bedroom.  So the barrier to entry isn’t there anymore.  The supply line


is very, very flat, so to say.


CCA: Yes.

Blöndal: But yes, I have a background in economics obviously, but I used to be a musician myself. 


CCA: So you started out as a musician.

Blöndal: Yes.  When I was in college, I played drums in punk bands and new wave bands.  And it was a different kind of Reykjavik, much more isolated than it is today. 


CCA: This is the ’80s, in the 1980s?

Blöndal: Yes, ’80s, ’90s.  But then I actually got pretty lucky because I was also making my own music and I was signed to Columbia Records in New York and EMI Publishing.  So I had like a brief presentation of the American music industry in 2000, 2001, 2002. And lived in New York City for a couple of years and it was a total adventure.  And I think that by the time, I absolutely knew what I wanted to do later on.  Whatever I would do, I would want to be in the music industry in one way or the other.  But after I quit as a musician, I learned economics.  So I took five years of studies. Three years, Bachelor of Science, in Iceland and two years in Sweden.  And I took my masters in University of Stockholm in economics.  I finished my studies and then I started working in the finance industry.


CCA: In Iceland?

Blöndal: Yes.  I worked in Kaupthing, one of the fallen banks, starting around 2008.  So I also got sort of got a glimpse of that whole craziness.


CCA: That’s one of the banks that failed in the financial crisis.

Blöndal: It was interesting to see something like that come down. It makes you question everything.  Like if something that you sort of don’t believe that it can fail and it fails, nothing ever becomes the same after that.  It seems to me it’s getting harder and harder to see the dividing lines between the arts because digital and virtual reality can have all things incorporated into it. So to me, that’s also very interesting and getting into even the history.  

"Publishing rights were not well protected, in early ages, at least.  It was just songs that existed.  Nobody got paid.  So I think, probably that is a 20th century thing that IP becomes protected. And I would claim that protecting the music IP is a good way to stimulate more music-making, more new enterprises in that field."

CCA:  So the common thread between the banking crisis and the music business is severe disruption. How does that fit in with the history of the value of intellectual property?  How do you think it’s shifted—how far back can you go?  

Blöndal: Gutenberg?  


CCA: Exactly. It started with the bible, maybe some other things too, like the Icelandic sagas. Before Gutenburg, intellectual property, in the form of storytelling, was mostly regulated and valued and distributed by oral tradition.  Because at that time, ordinary people couldn’t get copies of printed materials. They were only for a very small group of people who were involved in the church, high in the church, I think. And then maybe even a smaller group of people who could read, right? 

Blöndal: Yes.  Because I’m in music, I tend to gravitate towards how Intellectual Property has changed.  So when did music IP become IP and so on and so on?  I mean, as far as I can tell, IP—we are in the IP business.  We own master rights.  And why do we own them?  Because we bought them, we paid for them, and we can protect them.  And if you cannot protect your IP, it doesn’t matter if you say that you own it.  You don’t own it.


CCA: Right.

Blöndal: And we can replicate the IP as many times as we want to, so it’s very scalable as well.  So I can imagine, before they were able to record music—what in the ’20s, I guess—it was just songs that were sung and they published old notebooks and so on.


CCA: The music was sold so people could play it on their own piano.  Or you had to go to a place where people—maybe not a burlesque, but a theatre—if you were going to hear new music.  I guess that Broadway was already starting to happen or the beginning of Broadway.  It was all live performances.

Blöndal: Yes.  But publishing rights were not well protected, in early ages, at least.  It was just songs that existed.  Nobody got paid.  So I think, probably that is a 20th century thing

that IP becomes protected.  And related to that, I would claim that protecting the music IP—because I’m focused on music—is, in a way, a good way to stimulate more music-making, more new enterprises in that field, in the similar way as you do with developing new drugs.  You get a patent on the drug.  You can get a patent for two, three, five years or whatever.


CCA: If you own the masters, right?

Blöndal: Yes.  And then they release the patent in ten years or whatever and everyone can manufacture the drug.  In a similar way, you can say that in music, you own a song.  And you own the rights to that song, whether it be publishing or master.  Because you can collect the payments from that song, that stimulates more new songs being funded and produced.  Because if the song could be stolen immediately, what would be the incentives to produce new stuff?  There would be less incentive to do it.  We can be sure about that.  It’s just like off my head, if I’m thinking about IP and especially related to music.


CCA: Let’s say we started—like you said—with people just singing songs to each other.  So in the beginning, everything was free.  You could be a brilliant singer or songwriter and the only reward maybe is that other people would sing your songs and remember you and it would pass on to other people.  But then, as you were saying, then it looks like that one of the first ways people could make money was by asking money for a performance.

Blöndal: Yes.


CCA: And then the publishing industry for music started out only selling the music for piano or singing.

Blöndal: Yes, exactly.


CCA: And then I guess written music probably goes back a little further.

Blöndal: Yes, must be maybe 1800s or 1700s.  Yes.

Halleluwah feat. Tiny - K2R
Halleluwah X

Halleluwah feat. Tiny - K2R

First song from Sölvi Blöndal's solo project 'Halleluwah' featuring Icelandic rapper Tiny.


CCA: When did that begin, that notation process?  But obviously, it goes back at least to Beethoven—

Blöndal: But if you like multiplied or published these notes so they could be sold to the public.


CCA: Right.

Blöndal: o the writer, the composer must have like gotten royalties.  Okay, I’m assuming.


CCA: Well, had to be.

Blöndal: Yes.


CCA: Because they kept doing it.  And it was the only way people could get—they would play it themselves or—

Blöndal: And that mentality, that really was transferred to copyrighted music.


CCA: Right.  And then vinyl existed for a good long time.  

Blöndal: Yes.

CCA: And still does.  It’s still one of the faster growing.  I mean, it went way down, but now it’s—

Blöndal: It’s back again.  Yes.


CCA: Yes, it’s back again.  So what do you think that’s leading to?  Because you’ve seen the progression and, like you said, the valuation of—I’m trying to get to understanding how new platforms of distribution are changing the value—not just to people who are trying to access music, but musicians.  It’s harder now for a musician to make money even though maybe they don’t pay as much to a record label as they used to.  Would you say that?

Blöndal: I would say it’s always been hard making a living whether it be a musician or contemporary artist or actor.  Like being an artist, I would almost claim that it’s not a choice.  Art sort of chooses you.  Okay, so let’s say this is what you’re going to do, you’re going to be an artist.  Was it easier in the ’70s or the ’80s than now?  I don’t know about that.  But the fact is that it costs less to make music and publish music today than it did, say, in 1985.  So you could say it’s a good thing, right?  Okay.  The revenue has shrunk on the whole for the music industry.  But again, it’s been going since 2016 after having shrunk for like 16 years in a row. So the question was whether musicians were getting paid less or more?


CCA: Well, you have more people listening to music than ever, probably, and more songs maybe than ever.  And for many musicians, they’re not making as much money, enough to live, to have a life.  And I haven’t seen any numbers yet, but I wonder—there’s always been famous musicians who get very rich, like the Rolling Stones who are still going in their seventies.  And it’s a huge business.  But then there’s a lot of people who don’t make that kind of money and publish songs.  But also, the access to creating songs and distributing has become much easier.  So you used to have to rent a studio and then spend time and money, and that’s where the record labels would usually front an advance and then charge—basically, it was a loan—until the musicians, the record sold or they went on tour and then they would take back some of the money, give some of the money.


Blöndal: And that, in a sense, hasn’t changed very much except for like number one, the revenue of the music industry like in the world, they are lower than they were, let’s say 16 years ago.  Whether it be universal or just like indie, if you take it all together, it’s lower.  Why is it lower?  Because you have the streaming aspect—mainly now streaming revenues.  Physical has collapsed.


CCA: Right.  Physical records, CDs, vinyl.

Blöndal: Yes.  Physical, vinyl, it’s totally collapsed.  But you had something else instead, which is streaming.  And whereas I would buy maybe 10, 20, 30 CDs, vinyl a year at least, I’m paying much less for music than I paid 16 or 18 years ago.  It’s a fact even if you could measure real value.  And that is reflected in like the whole revenue of the music industry.  So the revenue is down.  Okay.  So you make a pretty good point, whether it’s more evenly distributed or what.  And I would say I’m not sure.  But I think if you are a relatively unknown musician—like just on your first or second album—I don’t think you made a lot of money in 2000, but I don’t think you made a lot of money in 2019 either.  So I don’t know if much has really changed.


CCA: Well, I see what you’re saying.  Like I said, the access or rather—like, I know people, and I’m sure you do too, who are writing songs that sound just like a big band with all the same—maybe not to the exact dynamics, but to your ear it sounds like a band with drums and instruments and singing and all the effects—but people can do that now on your laptop.

Blöndal: Yes. 


CCA: The tools of creating music have become almost magical.  And the ability to distribute those on social media, it’s amazing.  But as the capability for an individual artist to make money has gone up, the income from producing a song has gone down.

Blöndal: Yes.  Isn’t that now just like—thinking out loud—isn’t that just like the basic law of supply and demand?  You have almost infinite supply of new music, whether it be Icelandic, American, French, or Indonesian.  It just keeps coming.


CCA: Right.  

Blöndal: And who is going to have time to listen to all that stuff?

CCA: Well, but we’ve taken out the physical part.  Because—like you said—before, there was a vinyl disc or a CD or a cassette tape or an eight-track, and so there was an intrinsic value in the distribution methods which required industries to create the packaging—

Blöndal: Exactly. But these same industries are now in digital distribution.  Like it’s Orchard, Sony, UMG, all these companies have doubled down on digital distribution and they’re moving into that field happily.  And all the revenue are collected maybe online from YouTube or Spotify or Apple or whatever.


CCA: Yes.  So the distributors take money—

Blöndal: Yes, from that.


CCA: Yes.  And now I guess computer companies and software companies are next in line—

Blöndal: Moving into music in a big way.


CCA: Yes.  But it’s also like instead of a cassette or a CD, they’re creating programs.  Right?

Blöndal: Yes.  Both to distribute and collect money and to find money.  That is the holy grail. 


CCA: Find the money.

Blöndal: Because the problem with this whole thing—like you speak of intrinsic value, which is absolutely right.  Okay.  You would manufacture, distribute, sell, and collect money.  Pretty simple, right?  But let’s say if you are in Indonesia and you have your cooking show and you play Led Zeppelin.  How do you find that money?  And then it comes down to tech in a large way, in my opinion. Because you need the best programs.


CCA: Right.  Software and machines.

Blöndal: Yes, to find this money and collect it because YouTube doesn’t give it to you.


CCA: So you’re saying that the creators or the distributors or—

Blöndal: Both.  No, I mean the creators as the owners of both publishing and master.


CCA: Right.

Blöndal: They need to find new, creative ways to find the revenue.


CCA: So like performance.

Blöndal: Yes.


CCA: So it’s interesting, now it’s almost like a return to the beginning a little bit.

Blöndal: A little bit, yes.


CCA: Where there’s more money performing, maybe, than in streaming.  Streaming is more of almost a marketing platform for artists—and then if you play a concert, people pay dollars for that.

Blöndal: Yes.  But I find it to be really interesting as well because now you have a new platform for listening, which is streaming, which obviously is here to stay.  How does that affect the creative side?  Do people still put out albums?  Or do they just do singles?  Because it’s changing.


CCA: Yes, the formats of listening is changing.

Blöndal: It’s almost like a return to the ’50s.  And I wasn’t around at that time, but I understand that bands were more engaged in putting out singles.


CCA: And then, sometimes, they were also bundled into an album.  And that’s kind of how we are right now. 

Blöndal: Yes.


CCA: So as a listener—and almost everybody is involved with some streaming, whether it’s Spotify or one of the other ones—the difference is you don’t have ownership.  You pay to hear the music, but you don’t own it.  The streaming company can take it away.

Blöndal: Yes.  It can take it away.  That’s the funny part, right?


CCA: [Laughs] But before I used to like, well, downloading.  I would download songs until very recently and then it just got harder and harder because even Apple doesn’t want to pay to store the downloads. Because it’s more efficient to just stream it from the cloud.  So it’s interesting then where that’s taking us.  So the ownership is shifting away from listeners.  I’m asking this because I know people and I need to ask them too, but my feeling is I know there’s very little money for them when they produce a song.  But they can release it for free, pretty much, on social media, which if they’re lucky, maybe they do a YouTube video and they become the next Justin Bieber.  But how often does that happen?

Blöndal: That’s like a one—


CCA: One in millions, right?

Blöndal: Yes.  I mean, it happens, of course.  But on the other hand, I would claim that 1% of $1 dollar is better than 50% of zero.  You have to remember in 2009, the music industry had almost just collapsed.  And there was just a black tunnel.  There was just no light at the end of the tunnel because you almost heard arguments as, “Should you pay for music?”  Because it was all pirated.


CCA: Oh, that too.  Yes, Napster. So the $64 million dollar question was not like is the music business—has it stopped being a business?  Is it maybe just a public utility?  Or just something that should be given away?  And to me, at the time, I thought that was a nightmarish scenario.

Blöndal: And the fact of the matter is that Daniel Ek at Spotify came up with the sort of first convincing model to stream music.  He saved the music industry.  The revenue may not be as it was, but it’s a hell of a lot better than, like—


CCA: Nobody buying anything.

Blöndal: Yes, because—back to IP, how much is an IP worth if you cannot protect it?


CCA: Right.

Blöndal: Think about it, if you cannot build—if I just can take my Snickers bar out of the store and not pay for it, how much is the Snickers bar really worth?  Nothing.


CCA: So when an artist makes a record, how do they know that they own it?  Is it a registration process?

Blöndal: Yes, it is.  I mean like when you are in your living room making a song, nobody except you knows that you own it.


CCA: Right.  If a tree falls in your living room and nobody hears it.

Blöndal: But when you release a track, whether you are an individual or a company, every track has a—what we call ISRC code, which is sort of like a Social Security number for each song.  And attached to that code is the writer, the owner of the master, and the performer, sometimes the producer.  But everything is supposed to be registered, all the information, to that code.  And all the millions and billions of songs in the universe are supposed to have a code like this.  And they usually do have a code like this.


CCA: Yes.  It’s like the ISBN, there’s a BIN number for books, for example.  I think it’s similar.

Blöndal: Yes, it’s probably similar.


CCA: The copyright.  So is there a split between copyright and ownership?

Blöndal: Yes. 


CCA: And then so is that where the ownership of the masters kicks in? As in ownership is you own the right to make more copies or sell it in different ways.

Blöndal: Yes.  That’s the master copyright, that’s owning the actual recording.  Usually it’s three-way: owning of the recording, which is usually called the master; the publishing, which is—I mean, I would say that that is the IP that you’re talking about, the publishing, which is owned by the writer and sometimes a publisher like he makes deals with his publisher, whether it’s ASCAP or—


CCA: Yes.  But the publisher and the creator are symbiotic.  

Blöndal: Yes.  They are like in the same bed.


CCA: But they make an agreement, right?  

Blöndal: Yes.


CCA: It’s an agreement about how much they get [OVERLAPPING 0:39:02.5]—

Blöndal: But if the writer wouldn’t make this agreement, he would only be publishing himself and would just claim the publishing, usually through ASCAP or a similar organization.


CCA: So they can do that.

Blöndal: Yes, which is a lot of the PROs, as they are known.  And then there is the performer’s royalties.


CCA: And then the performance.

Blöndal: So it’s like a three-way marriage.  The publishing, which is essentially the IP, the master, which is the recording, and the performance royalties, which is the people or the persons that are actually singing or playing the track.  They also have their piece of the pie.


CCA: Yes, as the artist.  And so they cut a deal and then—so what’s the advantage of going into business with a publisher —is it still the same where it’s advertising, you’re helping the artist grow or—

Blöndal: In one way, it’s just banking. 


CCA: Banking?

Blöndal: If you would go into Citibank and say, “You know what?  I’m the best songwriter that there ever was.  I’m better than Elvis Presley,” okay, he wasn’t a writer, but like whomever, like Simon and Garfunkel or whatever.  The bank would go, “Mm-hmm.  We don’t care about that.  What other collateral do you have?  Do you a house or a car or anything?


CCA: They’re looking for tangible collateral—

Blöndal: Yes.  But if you would go to a publisher and say, “I’m the best writer,” they would be willing or maybe—and able to give you money instead of your publishing rights.  So it’s just banking, really.  But they take the risk. It’s the banking, they get property, take risk, give you money, take a piece of the pie if it all works out.


CCA: And that’s what you’re doing here?

Blöndal: We are not a publishing company, not yet.  We work in copyrights, which is a little bit different.  It’s a different mentality.  We manufacture material.  We try to manufacture as much as we can.  


CCA: Got it.  But you also work on distribution.

Blöndal: Yes.  We do distribution. We are a little bit in publishing, but that’s not our main field.


CCA: And Alda is the label. 

Blöndal: It is the label.  But Alda owns the distribution company. We are doing the same thing as all the big majors are doing.  They’re all going heavily into distribution, digital.  We are doing exactly the same thing here, for Icelandic territory, of course.


CCA: So working with the artists and—that’s a nice sign—working with the artists and are you cultivating new artists too?

Blöndal: Yes.  That’s what we do at Alda, we cultivate talent.  We make talent.  That is our main field.  Because Iceland has some unusually deep talent pool—and I’m not just claiming from a patriotic heart, it’s enough to point out the numerous artists that have done well abroad.  So I think it’s fair to claim that we have unusually deep talent pool and we do our best to cultivate that, like a bunch of our talent is like 17, 16, 18, 19 year olds—so kids—that come in here.  Actually, I own this whole floor on this building and we have 23 studios on the other side.


CCA: 23 studios?

Blöndal: Yes. This is my label.  This is my building.  I have my label and the studios close to each other so it’s all merged together as one talent house.


CCA: And so do you still operate like labels always have?  Do you give the artists some money?

Blöndal: Yes, we do. Yes, but lower budgets than before.


CCA: Because production is cheaper, it doesn’t cost as much?

Blöndal: But it’s also just my philosophy is that maybe one day, it was enough to put out a single like every six months.  Now you almost have to put out a single every month, but it costs less.  And I just believe in low budget projects.  That’s just my staunch belief.  And if somebody tells me that an album has to cost more than $30,000 dollars, you know, in this Icelandic Scandinavian territory, you can do incredible things for like $15,000 bucks with all the new technology and all. We distribute all our own material ourselves.


CCA: Independent of the platforms?  

Blöndal: We cut deals with the platforms.


CCA: And can individual artists do that?  Do they cut individual deals with Spotify?

Blöndal: No.  No, they can’t.  But they could go through aggregators like Orchard.  Orchard is one famous example.


CCA: And then they negotiate with the platforms?

Blöndal: Yes, because the platforms don’t have the manpower or the will to deal with individual artists.  See what Spotify did the other day, they tossed away like a year old plan that was called Direct to Artist. Every time Spotify runs into negotiation problems with the majors, like UMG and Sony, they’d come up with like a plan to boycott the labels.  And they announced a plan like one or two years ago that was called Direct to Artists.


CCA: To cut out the labels?  

Blöndal: Yes. But then they abandoned the plan this spring.  All of a sudden they announced, “We’re going to stop with this direct to artists plan.”  Basically, I think what that says is that the streaming platforms do not have the resources to deal with artists on an individual basis.  That’s impossible.


CCA: So they were trying to cut out the labels, but then they realized they couldn’t.

Blöndal: They can’t.


CCA: It’s a whole different business, right?

Blöndal: Yes. 


CCA: They didn’t have the staffing to actually work with creative people.

Blöndal: Yes.  The labels—hate them or love them—they serve a purpose in this life chain of music and production.


CCA: Right—the act of creation is intrinsically special.

Blöndal: Yes.  I’m no big fan of major labels, don’t take me wrong.  I’m just saying that I can see why labels play a part of the whole life chain.


CCA: Sure.  Yes.  To get back to the whole idea of CCA and content creators, what would be helpful to you or for artists to know?  Where do you think this is heading in a time where music can be absorbed in lots of different formats?

Blöndal: I think what’s useful for artists to know at this very moment is that you can tell how an artist builds up culture or following, especially on social media.  It’s never been as important as now.  Labels and us, we can do only so much with marketing.  But to build the social capital yourself, is invaluable.  


CCA: As an artist?  On the artist’s side?

Blöndal: On the artist’s side.


CCA: How would they do that?  You mean like posting on social media.

Blöndal: I think that is the holy grail.


CCA: To understand how to get an online audience.

Blöndal: Yes.  And of course, labels can help.  They can help with money and advisory and—


CCA: Video, music videos?

Blöndal: Yes, music video.  But I think the best artists, they maintain their social media presence themselves.  This is not a thing that you can outsource so much.  You can outsource some, of course.  You can outsource some of the content manufacturing and stuff like that, but it has to come from you.  People feel it.  That’s my opinion at least.


CCA: I would just like to hear your last comment on what you think is going to happen next?   Where do you see all this going?  Is it stable now?  Or if technologies keep changing, is it happening faster?  Or are there things that you hear artists saying they wish they had more of or less of?

Blöndal: I think in many ways, it’s going it’s going to evolve—you know, there are like no knowns and there are known unknowns in this, like Donald Rumsfeld said.  I think known knowns are music is always going to matter.  It’s going to matter in television.  It’s always mattering more there.  You have much more television production than you had and all the production needs music.  And music just matters in people’s lives and connects us to different periods in our lives and what happened and emotions and so on.  That’s never going to change.  And I think there’s another known known, in my opinion, that physical is always going to matter.  It’s not going to disappear.  I think that is absolutely certain.


CCA: Physical meaning—?

Blöndal: Vinyl, cassette, CD, merch.  People are going to need something to have. I think that is absolutely certain.  I think those of us—it wasn’t me—but those who predicted that physical would completely disappear, they were wrong.


CCA: It’s not going to happen.

Blöndal: I mean, it’s less percentage of the whole revenue, yes, but it’s still there.  And it’s holding its ground.  That’s very interesting.  Then you have all the competing platforms, Amazon, Deezer, Apple, Spotify, Tidal.  Who’s going to win that game?  Frankly, I don’t care.


CCA: As long as it gets to the ears of people.

Blöndal: I mean, streaming is going to be there.  It’s going to be the prevalent platform, we know that, but whether it’s going to be called Spotify or Apple doesn’t really matter.  They have their own little characteristics, Spotify and Apple.  Spotify is very data driven, very algorithmic driven, and very automatic.  And they want to be like that.  They’re suites, whereas Apple is more curator-based, more like curate or build a playlist and radio and so on and so on.  So it’s different.  I think it’s going to be like you have a different kind of music that is big on Spotify as opposed to Apple.  Apple is more like pop, rock based versus Spotify favors more mainstream hip hop almost, that whole thing.


CCA: Yes.  And then some lean more towards electronic. 

Blöndal: I think the big changes in the next ten years is going to be the adults are going to be flooding into streaming much more than they did.


CCA: A: Adult listeners.

Blöndal: Yes.  Let’s not forget, streaming is still a very young platform.  It’s favored by youth.  The adults haven’t really caught up to streaming. 


CCA: They haven’t gotten there yet.

Blöndal: When they do, Bob Dylan’s going to blow up.


CCA: Wow.

Blöndal: On streaming.  Yes.  Because now it’s Rihanna and you have Ed Sheeran and all that. It’s going to be huge, but the other stuff’s going to grow, which favors the catalog holders, the big majors, us, and others.


CCA: Could we be partners or helpful to you?  I mean, you’re already being supportive of us by doing this interview.  

Blöndal: Of course.  We maintain strong relations with every music-loving group in this country and moreover, we are part of this society that’s the music, arts culture is in Iceland, a big part of it.  I, myself, am chairman of the board of the association of record companies in Iceland. So we support lots of good causes and want to maintain it, especially for the young and up and coming.  I had no idea about this when I was coming up and I wish someone would have told me the difference between copyright and publishing right.  So I think that in itself is a good cause.


CCA: That’s fantastic.  Because our goal in helping the artists would be also to help you. And again, educate and facilitate their understanding of how to grow as an artist and reach the biggest audience and continue to create new stuff.

Blöndal: This is what’s special about Iceland.  I mean, there’s a lot of creative content to go around here.  And there’s a lot of creative talent.  And it’s always been like that.  You can see the Sugarcubes and Bjork and Sigur Ros and our band and GusGus and Of Monsters and Men.  You know, the list is seemingly endless.  Jakob Frimann Magnusson, he is an astounding musician.  He’s always been.  He’s been like that for 50 years.  But he’s also very deep in the whole lobbyism—and because this is Iceland, we have to be able to do everything but there are so few of us.  So I think there’s a big support for the creative arts here.  So you’re in the right place.



Sölvi Blöndal

Economic Research at GAMMA Capital Management

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