An Interview with Off The Record

We recently caught up with Off The Record‘s Ailsa Harper ahead of this month’s events in Edinburgh and Dundee. OTR is a platform for 16-25s pursuing a career in the music industry with a host of speakers including SMIA’s own Robert Kilpatrick.

  1. Ailsa, tell us a bit about yourself and Off The Record…

Hello! My name is Ailsa and I work for Off The Record. I’ve had an interesting path into working in music, all though I always wanted to work in the industry, I really wasn’t sure how to go about it when I left school and I ended up doing a completely different degree in an unrelated field (nursing!)

I decided during that degree that it was music I really wanted to focus on so used my time to review gigs & get experience working in other parts of the industry. I attended my first Off The Record in 2015 and from a meeting there have ended up working full time in music.

  1. What should people expect at the events in Edinburgh and Dundee next month?

The aim of Off The Record is to make it as easy as possible for emerging artists and those who want to work in the industry to get to where they want to be. The music industry can be a bit of a minefield, and knowing what to do next can be really tricky.

We’ve got a whole load of great speakers from a range of different companies (e.g. DF Concerts, BBC Radio Scotland, The SMIA, Polydor records & more) coming to the event to share their knowledge about working in music across all aspects of the industry. Most are at an early stage in their career, and only a few years older than the attendees – so it’s a great opportunity to connect with people already working in music.

The daytime event comprises of a conference and workshop based programme and in the evening we’re running a showcase where we’ve got four new Scottish acts playing in each city!

  1. Is there a cost to come along?

Tickets are just £5 and include the daytime conference, entry to the evening showcase as well as lunch & dinner. Attendees will also be given a voucher to release music via EmuBands – and Edinburgh ticket holders will be given a 50% discount to the museum’s Rip It Up exhibition.

  1. How has the market grown/evolved over the years since Off The Record’s inception?

It feels like a really exciting time in the Scottish music industry at the moment and it’s great to be a part of.

Since Off The Record started, we’ve witnessed the growth in streaming services especially around playlisting and also the rise of social media – both are topics that are included in our OTR programme in order to share our knowledge in these areas.

  1. What advice would you give to young people trying to break into the music industry?

Show initiative and enthusiasm by getting involved as much as you can. More often than not people will be willing to help you get experience in areas you’re interested in so don’t be afraid to get in touch and just ask. Attend networking events and build your network – you never know when a connection you’ve made with someone might come in useful years down the line.

You can purchase tickets for the following events below:

· Edinburgh Sat Nov 17th:
· Dundee Sat Nov 24th: