UK-based classical music publishing company Wise Music Group has launched a unit in Iceland.
The company says the new division will allow it to work more closely with existing Icelandic composers and writers including Ólafur Arnalds, Hugar, Eydís Evensen, Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Dustin O’Halloran.
Wise Music, formerly The Music Sales Group, will operate in Iceland as a joint venture between Wise Music-owned Edition Wilhelm Hansen (EWH), and Bosworth Music, another company owned by Wise Music.
Wise Music claims that the launch of Wise Music Iceland ehf in Reykjavik marks the first time that a global publishing business has set up a full publishing entity in the country.
“We have had our eyes on this unique territory for quite a while, as the sheer quality of music being created in Iceland is so impressive. We also see a lot of potential of having an in-market presence in music supervision,” Loui Törnqvist, Managing Director at Wise Music-owned Edition Wilhelm Hansen (EWH), said.
“We have had our eyes on this unique territory for quite a while, as the sheer quality of music being created in Iceland is so impressive.”
Loui Törnqvist, Edition Wilhelm Hansen
EWH will be tasked with the day-to-day operations of the company including technical aspects such as finance and royalties, while Bosworth will be responsible with A&R and new signings.
The group has appointed Inga Weisshappel to lead Wise Music Iceland. Weisshappel has been Wise Music’s Music Supervisor in Iceland since the start of the year.
As part of her new role, Weisshappel will become Wise Music’s lead point of contact in Iceland, liaising with composers, film and television production companies and STEF (the Icelandic collecting society).
“I truly believe that our involvement in the local industry will have a real positive impact which makes me incredibly excited about what’s to come.”
Inga Weisshappel, Wise Music Iceland
“These past months, working with Wise Music Group has been such a wonderful and unexpected adventure. Being able to spend my days admiring great music while surrounded by creative and passionate people is somewhat of a childhood dream coming true. I truly believe that our involvement in the local industry will have a real positive impact which makes me incredibly excited about what’s to come,” said Weisshappel.
The move expands Wise Music’s presence in Iceland after working for years with local artists.
“Working for many years with Icelandic artists like Ólafur Arnalds, Hugar, Eydís Evensen or Anna Thorvaldsdottir, we fully appreciate the unique artistic quality, professionalism and the cultural richness of Iceland. We want to nurture our relationships with Icelandic artists and to explore new creative potentials,” according to Bosworth Music’s Michael Ost.
Ost added: “We are also looking forward to discovering new talent and collaborations as well as continuing our valuable relationships.”
“We fully appreciate the unique artistic quality, professionalism and the cultural richness of Iceland.”
Headquartered in London, Wise Music also has a global network of standalone offices in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Copenhagen, Madrid, Paris, Tokyo, Bergamo, and Berlin.
The company claims to own or control nearly 500,000 copyrights, including the world’s largest independent holding of historic and contemporary classical music and a range of popular songs spanning evergreen, jazz, reggae, blues, pop and rock.
It also represents nearly 100 of the most successful living composers and songwriters including Ólafur Arnalds, Hans Abrahamsen, Samuel Barber, John Corigliano, Ludovico Einaudi, Philip Glass, Aram Khachaturian, Missy Mazzoli, Olivier Messiaen, Francis Poulenc, Sergei Prokofiev, Hania Rani, Dmitri Shostakovich, Kaija Saariaho, Jean Sibelius, Igor Stravinsky, Tan Dun, Joby Talbot, John Tavener and Anna Thorvaldsdottir.
Thorvaldsdottir is being dubbed as “the most exciting thing to have emerged from Iceland” since Björk, the Financial Times said in 2019.
The expansion in Iceland comes as Wise Music continues to grow its business.
In 2020, it formed a strategic partnership with Sony Music Masterworks to identify and sign artists and composers in the broad-based classical genre to recording and publishing agreements.
Earlier this year, Wise Music acquired Italian indie publisher Baby Angel Music. The company and its subsidiaries also continue to buy the catalogs of artists like German composer Franz Waxman and Italian film composer Riziero ‘Riz’ Ortolani, and groups like rock band The Zombies.
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