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How DICE helped one of Europe’s best music festivals turn to streaming

Words by DICE

In 2020, Live from Reykjavík was one of the first online festivals. Find out how DICE helped Icelandic artists find a global audience during the pandemic.

Every year, Live From Reykjavík attracts thousands of visitors from around the world for an event that celebrates both the talent and the scenery of Iceland. This year, travel restrictions prevented any international visitors. In a bold change of direction, Iceland Airwaves took their entire festival online.

The festival must go on

Since 2002, the festival has drawn a global audience, creating exposure for Icelandic artists and generating tourism income for the country. As the pandemic hit Iceland in 2020, an initial plan for a socially distanced festival was made. 

Will Larnach-Jones, Managing Director at Iceland Airwaves, spoke about the initial plan: “Live from Reykjavík aimed to celebrate and create exposure for Icelandic talent. In 2020, this was more of a challenge than we had anticipated. When we began to make plans to create a hybrid event, we spoke to DICE. After seeing Laura Marling’s stream, we saw they understood how to put on an excellent stream without compromising on artistic value.” 

The plan was that some fans would be able to attend in person, and the rest would be able to watch via stream. However, this hybrid approach had to be adapted at the last minute when more severe restrictions were imposed. 

It was decided that Live From Reykjavík would be an entirely online festival, both to minimise revenue loss and to position the brand as a leader in streaming. Every performance would go ahead from its location, but it would be filmed for audiences at home. DICE stepped in to provide support for the technical logistics, and the festival went fully digital.

Putting on one of the first online festivals

Iceland Airwaves were determined not to lose viewership because of the pandemic. To maintain international interest, each performance was streamed on DICE, both in individual streams and as complete days of performances. The performances themselves went ahead from unique locations in Reykjavík, and were recorded with high production values to create beautiful content for fans at home.

Partnerships with Iceland’s national TV channel RÚV and YouTube also gave Iceland Airwaves the opportunity to broadcast via both platforms. To maximise viewership, a two-pronged marketing campaign saw the festival overall and the individual performances being advertised.

Results

12K

Total estimated viewers

67%

Of tickets purchased in week before

65

Countries in attendance

A festival in every living room

Despite being the first entirely online Live From Reykjavík, the festival drew an even higher international audience than usual: around 12,000 people from around the world tuned in for the Icelandic artists. 67% of tickets were purchased in the week leading up to the event, as fans didn’t have to commit to travelling anymore. As coverage was broadcast on RÚV, around 80,000 people in Iceland watched from home, representing around 23% of the population.

Thanks to the innovative approach of professionally filming the performances, the festival received international coverage in Metro, Consequence of Sound, Spin, NME and more. Audio from the festival was also requested for rebroadcast on EBU. “The festival gave viewers a new experience, with performances that were well executed and full of variety, but also designed to be enjoyed on a screen”, said Larnach-Jones. “Live from Reykjavík taught us a great deal, and DICE were instrumental in lending their support and the event’s success.”

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