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FastForward: What is it?

The future of the music industry starts here.

FastForward is a music business platform that exists to connect and engage a diverse group of ambitious under 35s, laying the foundation for a sustainable career in the modern music industry.

The conference takes place across two days, offering a combination of keynote speeches, interactive panel discussions, and specialist ‘FastFifteen’ presentations that explore the latest trends to emerge in music and technology.

While FastForward is aimed at under 35s, there are no strict rules as to who can attend. By limiting the attendance numbers, this event will allow for deeper networking. It’s not about revenue – it’s about meaningful discussion. Those establishing themselves in the industry who want to expand their network, rather than those who are fully established already, will find it most valuable.


The Vision

“The vision for FastForward was not only to bring together a group of young people, innovative people, the next generation of leaders in the music industry, but to break down industry silos, and build a community of people who want to see a different future to the past we’ve had.” 

– Chris Carey, Founder of FastForward

Taking the ‘annual conference’ model out of its mould, FastForward has also established a series of FFWD Social events across the year, in addition to securing FastForward-curated Guest Panels at other music business events, such as Future Music Forum (19-21 September, Barcelona, Spain). The team at FastForward believes this year-round engagement and community building to be a major part of developing the music industry for years to come.

Year One: 2016

The debut conference was held at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam, NL, on 4-5 February 2016, bringing together over 140 music industry executives from 16 different countries. While FastForward is aimed at under 35s, there were no strict rules as to who can attend; by limiting the number of delegates, this allowed for a deeper level of networking.

By keeping the event small we have been able to cultivate an environment where everyone felt they could talk to everyone, with a number of these conversations leading to closer connections between different industry sectors and deals being done.

We brought people together from across the globe for a dynamic conversation about the future of the music industry. I’m excited to build on this foundation to deliver another event where innovative voices come together to talk about the big opportunities for the music industry in the coming months and years.”

– Chris Carey, Founder of FastForward

The conference, curated by Media Insight Consulting, consisted of keynote presentations, future-focused panels, and ‘FastFifteen’ seminars, with a large focus on networking. The purpose was to provide a diverse and exciting range of topics and speakers offering a fresh perspective on the modern music industry, and to encourage free-thinking, positivity, and a free flow of new ideas to move our industry forward.


“I think it’s a really good opportunity to bring like-minded, smart, interesting people into one room, and have them share ideas that they don’t necessarily get an opportunity to share elsewhere.”
 – Catherine Lückhoff CEO & Founder, Nichestreem (South Africa)


“I think FastForward has genuinely created an atmosphere where anyone here can speak to anyone else and approach them. Everyone’s very friendly. Everyone seems to be on the same wavelength and crucially there seems to be a lack of ego.”
 – Sam Potts Head of Radio, Columbia Records (United Kingdom)


“This is a really incredible conference that brings together really diverse people, and people who have a really open mind, to create the future of music.”
– Takayuki Suzuki Co-Founder, The Big Parade (Japan)


“I love the conversation of challenging us to think outside of our music box … Everyone who’s come here, we’ve really challenged ourselves to think a little differently, and hopefully we can act a little bit differently.”
 – Vanessa Picken Founder & Director, Comes With Fries (Australia)


“I think had there been something like this when I was sort of coming up a bit earlier in my career I would have been here in a heart beat.
 – Alex Kennedy Head of Music & Entertainment, Sky Tickets (United Kingdom)


“The vibe of the whole conference is like: actually make connections with people who are in it together, who have similar struggles and similar interests as you, and collaborate as a team there; try to help each other.”
 – Claire Mas Head of Digital, Communion Music (United Kingdom)


“The thing about FastForward is that it just worked. It wasn’t so much about out with the old but a shifting changing of the guard. It was about people keen to make a change and not afraid to be the catalyst for that change… there was dialogue without borders or boardrooms.”
– Liz Stokes, Record of the Day (Issue 664, United Kingdom)


“What was refreshing to see at FastForward was a solid degree of pragmatism. Not companies with sales pitches, nor blind acceptance of models that might be presented as “the next big thing”; just a clear and intelligent appraisal of what is there now and what could be there in the future to better service the artists and their fans.”
 – Darren Hemmings Managing Director, Motive Unknown (United Kingdom)


“It made for a pleasingly ego free zone, but more importantly it created an environment unencumbered by the bitter taste of defeat, in which solutions were the order of the day; an event with its eye on the future, not on the past.”
 – Tim Ferrone CEO, Wrapped Up Music (United Kingdom)