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Output Belfast announces 50 Conversations About Music for 2021, a networking and mentoring programme

Output Belfast announces 50 Conversations About Music for 2021, a networking and mentoring programme

Output Belfast as expected, won’t go ahead as it did in February 2020 with live music showcases and a day conference in 2021 – it was one of the only music events I attended this year.

Instead, 2021’s edition is to be dubbed 50 Conversations About Music, a networking and mentoring programme.


The programme pair creatives/music business individuals (from all tiers) with national or international music industry professionals. Each participant will receive three structured one-hour video calls, with a hand-selected mentor, in the hope of stimulating conversation and providing new networking and business opportunities in an innovative format.

The last of the three sessions will be videoed and form part of 50 video resources available to watch on YouTube from Thursday 13 February 2021, the former date of the Output 2021 conference.


On this day there will also be a series of free online panels and sessions focused solely on funding, resilience, and the pathway to a new paradigm in music for the industry in Northern Ireland through the lens of the post-pandemic landscape.

The three tiers of Northern Ireland resident individuals invited to participate:

Tier 1 (x 5 people)

Full-time music creatives or business residents living in Northern Ireland.

Tier 2 (x 35 people) 

Part-time music creatives or music business individuals who earn a % (min 5%) of their income from music (living in Northern Ireland).

Tier 3 (x 10 people) 

Entry-level musicians who have had music they have written/are representing (for management/label/live promoter/journalist) registered on a performance rights organisation (PRS For Music/PPL/IMRO) or covered by a media organisation (radio/recognised blog)

Or

Entry-level music businesses/organisations who are representing music rights holders, music IP or in the live sector and have started making revenue from their business.

Monday 19 October 2020: Portal opens for applications

Monday 26 October 2020: Portal closes

Friday 6 November 2020: Participants informed of the selection

W/c Monday 16 November 2020: Mentoring Conversation 1

W/c Monday 7 December: Mentoring Conversation 2

W/c Monday 18 January: Mentoring Conversation 3

Thursday 13 February – 50 videos launched, Output Belfast 2021 live q&as (via zoom)

Entry link

Terms & Conditions/FAQs

Due to how Output Belfast is funded – the mentoring scheme is only open to Northern Ireland residents. All videos will be available across Ireland – as will all online elements of the 2021 daytime conference.

The scheme is open for applications from (but not limited to): artists, songwriters, composers, labels, managers, publishers, journalists, DJs, PR companies, session musicians, promoters, retail, IP rights holders, promoters, festival organisers, lawyers and venue owners and across all genres including rock, jazz, indie, pop, classical, metal, trad, electronic and avant-garde.

We are expecting this scheme to be very over-subscribed. When making decisions we will be reflecting on creating a resource of video conversations that touch upon all aspects of the music sector – from conversations about co-writing and publishing, to how to become a better session musician, from digital strategies to developing work in music for visual media. We will therefore be selecting a diverse selection of participants hoping we capture content the specifics of which will appeal to (and be of use to) as wide an element of the sector as possible.

For artists/band members/music creators seeking to apply please note – the mentoring scheme is not to be viewed as an opportunity to pitch your music directly to mentors (labels/publishers/management) it is rather about artists learning how to navigate pathways towards opportunities in the music industry they wish to avail of.

Example 1)

Artist (a) would like a publishing deal with publishing label x.

A suggested mentor would not be someone from publishing label x but rather someone from publishing label z who can talk about what metrics publishers look for when signing artists.

Example 2)

Artist (b) would like more streaming/playlisting opportunities from streaming platform y.

A suggested mentor would not be someone from streaming platform y but rather (for example) a manager looking after similar artists who have had success in streaming with platform y.

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