New support aims to fast forward success for NI music industry


The Northern Ireland music industry is to get a £100,000 boost thanks to a new programme of skills development and promotional activities.

FastForward (FFWD), funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI), will support the set-up and growth of music businesses, and accelerate growth in NI’s evolving music industry.

FFWD is a one year programme delivered by Ross Graham who has in-depth knowledge of the music industry. It is open to anyone involved in the local music industry from performers and composers to managers, publishers, promoters and producers.

FFWD will provide a mentoring service to artists and music businesses offering practical advice on music business and music career development issues. Skills development will be addressed through a series of free of charge seminars and masterclasses on key music industry topics including: music for film, TV, games and advertisements; rights and royalties; brand development and merchandising; artist management; songwriting and production, and the live music business.

Donal Durkan, Director of Invest NI’s Life Sciences and Creative division, says: “The music industry is by definition highly entrepreneurial and we have seen how local musicians have benefited significantly from previous support and activities which promoted music from Northern Ireland to an international audience.

“Many local bands from Snow Patrol to ASIWYFA are enjoying increasing success and are helping to shine the spotlight on this region’s creative capabilities across the global music arena. This new one year programme will continue to build on that work and will be followed by the development and implementation of a three to five year strategy for the industry. Our aim is to strengthen the local music sector so it can compete globally and realise its significant economic potential.”

Lorraine McDowell, Director of Operations, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, comments: “The Arts Council supports all aspects of the music sector and believes that access to music-making enhances the social and cultural life of people in Northern Ireland. Over the course of the next year FFWD will work towards strengthening our local music industry by providing the vital skills needed to progress and gain recognition both at home and abroad. With additional support from DCAL, CD compilation albums will be produced as part of the programme and distributed at trade shows and events to promote NI talent.”

Ross Graham says: “Northern Ireland continues to produce world class creative musical talent and is now developing a strong entrepreneurial base and a growing infrastructure for the sector. This programme will help local artists to add business skills to their creative skills, access the expertise of music industry professionals and, importantly, will enable us to promote local talent to key industry players at headline international events such as South by Southwest in Texas and the BPI Sync Mission to Los Angeles.”  

For more information and to register for forthcoming events in June please visit the FFWD programme website: