September 28, 2007 – 7:12 am
It’s not so much a question of ‘what should I write about?’ as it is ‘where should I start?’. It’s been a week of change and activity this week. Some stuff I’m not even allowed to talk about yet, so you can imagine how significant those changes could be. What I can tell you is that a group of us, led by Professor Tim Wall in the Media Department, have heard official word that we’ve been successful in our bid for an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Knowledge Transfer Fellowship.
The project is the single biggest one that the AHRC has awarded (close to half a million pounds), it is the largest research grant of any kind in the faculty, and it makes Tim the only person in the country with two simultaneous AHRC funded projects – the other being a research project with the BBC about radio audiences online. I’m involved in both.
For us in the world of academia, this is considered Very Big News.
The Fellowship project will buy out half of my time for two years, starting with in February, to work with local music businesses and organisations, look at what they do, and help them develop new and innovative ideas that will help them make more money.
The idea is that it’s a knowledge exchange. They get new ideas from people like me who have nothing better to do than sit around and read, think about new technological developments and figure out what it all means. In return, we get first hand experience of what is commonly thought of as ‘the real world’ so we can get a feel for how these ideas might work in actual practice, rather than just in the realms of theory.
Not sure how it’s all going to shake out, but between the handful of us, we’re going to be working with about 20 different organisations, from community radio stations to punk labels, promotions companies to online music retailers.
In other news:
Teaching started this week – a whole new intake of fresh-faced students. I’m teaching Radio Documentaries (2nd year practical), Music Online (2nd year practical), Music Industries Skills (1st year practical) and The Music Business (2nd year theory). I’m also supervising a handful of third year dissertation students. So far so good…
I went to a place called Great Malvern this week, to give a talk about online music marketing for the Musicians Union. I wish I’d taken my camera. It was a really gorgeous town.
My record label is taking its first few wobbly steps towards being an actual real thing. I’m “in talks” with a number of artists. That number, currently, is 3. I’m not even sure that ‘label’ is the right word for it, but I can’t really think of a better way to talk about what I’ll be doing. Essentially, it’s about applying the kinds of things I talk about on New Music Strategies to a number of artists that I’m really enthusiastic about.
And I’m not even going to be signing artists, as much as I’ll be licensing releases. But record label is an easy way to think about it. It’s all baby steps at this point. Chances are you won’t see any real proof of activity till next year.
I had a really good evening with my friend Clutch from the band (x) is greater than (y) the other night. He’s a fellow whisky enthusiast, and we discovered recently that a local pub I seldom go into, The Prince of Wales (or, since the W fell off, ‘The Prince of Ales’), has a very good selection of single malts… some we hadn’t encountered before.
There’s a Glenfiddich 12 year-old ‘Toasted Oak’ which was quite drinkable, and made a really nice change. Neither of us had even heard of it, and so we made it our business to become acquainted. We finished with a Lagavulin 16, which is pretty much my desert island whisky.
Jake’s away in Germany this week, so Bobbie and I have had the place to ourselves. It’s been nice, but I think I’m ready for him to come home now. It’s his job to do the dishes.