A draft of Iceland’s first comprehensive policy on music has been published on Samráðsgátt, a site for public feedback on proposed legislation. The proposed bill is the first of its kind, and it will be open for comment until August 31.
The legislation is the result of a 2021 working group which identified both the central importance of music to the Icelandic economy and also the lack of a comprehensive government policy for music funding and education. The working group was composed of individuals within the Icelandic music industry, staff at the University of Iceland, and also representatives from the Ministry of Education and Children’s Affairs. Key among the recommendations of the working group were the need to establish a Music Center and to merge several existing funds, which were shown to overlap in several responsibilities.
The new policy identifies music as not just one among many of Iceland’s exports, but instead as a cornerstone of Icelandic education, tourism, and commerce. Given its central importance, the new legislation hopes to shape music policy in Iceland through 2030 in a way that has already been done in other cultural fields. In addition to the new, streamlined structure for funding, the new bill hopes to increase total funding for music in Iceland.
The new bill will consist of two separate action plans, one valid through 2026, and the other until 2030. As of now, only the action plan for the years 2023 – 2026 has been published.
Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir, Minister of Culture and Tourism, said in a statement: “This is a major turning point, and with the policy and the law on music, we are working to promote music throughout the country and, for the first time, define a comprehensive framework for the issue of music that has been lacking for a long time. With this, we want to create the conditions for music to grow and prosper for a long time to come.”