The tightening consumption model in the music industry eco-system, building global communities, throwaway culture and urban loneliness, and the right life-stage to maximise revenue from vinyl. These were just a few of the forward-thinking topics covered at FastForward Amsterdam today.

As is now tradition, Media Insight Consulting CEO and FastForward’s Founder Chris Carey opened up the two-day conference with a short primer of what the 150 delegates could expect.

Having hosted events in London, Amsterdam, and Sydney, Carey’s FastForward is one of the most intimate opportunities to learn from some of the brightest minds, get cutting edge insights from those at the coal face, and build the network that will set you up for your career.

Day One’s bright minds included Rafe Offer, the founder of music events movement Sofar Sounds, who delivered a keynote on building a global brand.

Using his past experience in the corporate sector at Coca-Cola, Disney and Diageo, where he was Director of Innovation, Offer has created brought attention and intimacy back to live gigs.

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Rafe Offer

Sofar Sounds was born out of Offer’s frustration of phone use at gigs where fans weren’t just filming, but texting and actually taking calls too.

“When you added up all the frustrations in the room; first there were the phones, second: the bar was open – I love to drink there’s nothing wrong with a bar – but why do you have a bar open when somebody’s trying to perform?

“And actually the clang of the beer bottles is louder than the performance […] and then just the talking, the feeling that it’s okay to talk when somebody’s performing…How many times have you been to a movie when somebody whips their phone out and starts talking?”

The first Sofar Sounds gig was hosted almost 10 years ago at Offer’s house in London. Eight people showed up and were silent, they put their drinks down and focused.

Since then, Sofar Sounds has hosted over 20,000 events in over 60 countries. Its performers include Ed Sheeran (who played for 65 people in Washington), George Ezra, Lily Allen, Leon Bridges (who’s performance in Dallas helped him get signed) and Wolf Alice.


The movement was even called “the live version of Discover Weekly” by a team member at Spotify.

Offer was generous and candid in his advice to those wanting to build their own global communities. He said to:

  • Seek to solve the problems that bother you
  • Keep your core values at the centre of everything
  • Understand that if your staff aren’t living your values they’ll only hinder your progress
  • Empower your community to nurture your mission