The Icelandic Music Experiments has been a major factor in Icelandic musical life for over thirty years.
The origins of IME can be traced back to the cooperation of Tónabær (Youth Center in Reykjavík east side) and SATT (Association of folk poets and musicians), organizing a marathon concert in the basement Tónabær in November 1982. Four to five semi-finals were held, and the winners from these nights played in the finals.
This format of IME is still used today. Attendance was extremely good, with an audience reaching up to 500-600 people, making it a milestone for music lovers in the land of ice and fire. Studio recording hours have always been the grand prize of IME and soon more sponsors started helping out in various ways. A special jury committe was hired early on in IME history to contrast the so-called "popular elections". The jury chose interesting bands to play in the finals, regardless of what the audience had chosen.
It is often referred to IME as a platform for young inexperienced bands out in the "strenuous music business". Bands like Kolrassa Krókríðandi (later Bellatrix), Botnleðja (Silt), Mammút, Of Monsters And Men, Mínus, Samaris, Jakobínarína, Agent Fresco etc. is good evidence of the many adventures bands have enjoyed after winning IME. Many of the aforementioned jumped into the deep end of the pool, recording their first albums, touring abroad working with new collaborators and experience the "rock n' roll dream". Of course we can not forget all the bands and musicians who did not get on to the finals or received awards. Many of them have continued their careers and reached far, in many cases with new amalgamations of their bands. The experience and association with other musicians is especially valuable and an important factor for the parttakers. New ideas and bands form to flourish in the music scene. This is one of the main purposes of IME.
It's a fun fact to mention that the first band to go on stage in IME in 1982 was the all-female act Sokkabandið, but lack of participation of girls in these experiments has often been a subject of discussion. Bands consisting of girls have reached the finals or won, such as Dúkkulísurnar, Kolrassa Krókríðandi, Á túr, Mammút, Samaris, Of Monsters and Men, Vök and more.
Since its beginning in Tónabær in 1982, The Icelandic Music Experiments has been hosted by many different venues. Hitt Húsið, Austurbær, Tjarnarbíó, Loftkastalinn, the Icelandic Opera House, Reykjavik Art Museum and finally the new concert hall, Harpa. This gives newcomers in the scene a vital opportunity and experience for future adventures. In 2009 IME co-founded Stage Europe Network whose aim is to connect organizations that work in the music or culture field and developing long-term projects in which young European bands can be involved in.Ever since IME started in 1982 this event has been one of the main venue for the young Icelandic bands to play their music to new ears.