Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Thursday, 6 November 2008

NI music 'punching above weight'

Snow Patrol
Snow Patrol has attained huge international success but there is more Northern Irish talent waiting in the wings

Northern Ireland has been "punching above its weight" musically - that's the verdict from the Northern Ireland Music Industry Commission (NIMIC).

The chair of NIMIC said the success was based on hard work and dedication and the results were apparent.

"Over the last three or four years we've been punching well above our weight," said Ross Graham.

"But the last year has seen some major developments for young artists and young bands."

Industry leaders will be in Belfast on Thursday to discuss the future of a sustainable music industry in NI.

Offering advice at the event is former Undertones singer Feargal Sharkey, who is now head of record industry umbrella group UK Music.

Other speakers include NI-born Kerrang editor Paul Brannigan.

One notable success story has been that of Downpatrick quartet the Answer.

"They released their first album only 18 months ago and managed to sell about 120,000 copies in what is seen as a declining market," said Mr Graham.

"Getting to support AC/DC across the States, I think playing to 1.3m people, is a great thing and I heard they're doing the David Letterman show later on this week."

Others include the Japanese Popstars who have been hailed by Radio 1's Pete Tong as 'The Next Big Thing'.

However, according to Ross Graham it was rock bands who were garnering the greatest interest.

"In Case of Fire and Fighting With Wire are two bands that have drawn in at least 500,000 from the States and the UK towards their development," he said.

The NIMIC-organised conference is now in its third year and will take place in the Whitla Hall at Queen's University.

More than 500 young people are expected to attend.

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