From Iceland — Icelandic Musicians Got 250 Million ISK From Streaming Last Year

Icelandic Musicians Got 250 Million ISK From Streaming Last Year

Published January 5, 2021

Valur Grettisson

Icelanders streamed music 1.2 billion times last year, RÚV reports, who asked the Icelandic Association of Record Publishing Companies to gather their sale numbers for 2020. Spotify seems to be the dominating streaming service, as Icelanders streamed it 1.1 billion times. Around 18% was Icelandic music.

The average user listens to music for 300 hours per year or around 13 days. One hundred thousand people have paid music subscription services in Iceland, with 98% of those services being Spotify.

One stream means one Icelandic króna in the pocket of the publisher, the performer and the songwriter. The association says that Icelandic artists and record publishers got around 230 – 250 million ISK in their pockets combined over the year. This is the highest profit the Icelandic industry has seen in at least ten years. Although it’s not much when compared to the golden years of the CD, when 80% of sold music in Iceland was produced, performed and published by the Icelandic industry. And just to put this in context, 250 million ISK is under 2 million USD and 1.5 million euros.

The most successful artists of the year were among others, Bríet, Bubbi Morthens (sort of like the Bruce Springsteen of Iceland), JóiPé & Króli, Auður, Ásgeir (who used be known as Ásgeir Trausti), Ingó Veðurguð and Herra Hnetusmjör.

Vinyl is still going strong though, while the CD is dead. Haraldur Leví Gunnarsson, the owner of, says the sales are good but the Icelandic records are not selling well enough. We have seen the same trend all around the world, but Haraldur Leví blames the tourists, or, to be more accurate, the non-existence of tourism when it comes to the lack of sales of Icelandic music.

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