Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Year of Music & Work in Review

Looking back on the 2015 Summer/Fall zine tours & toward what lies ahead

What a wild year! I spent the first half of it dreaming and conspiring to begin pursuing this project on the relationship between music and work. And then on May 21st, it became more than just a day dream: I gave notice at my job, announcing that I would be spending the Summer on tour with the zine I was still in the process of writing. On June 4th, I launched a fundraising campaign to make it all happen and I haven't looked back since.

Now it's time to look back. The following is an overview of The Music & Work Project, of everything that happened in the second half of 2015 as I traveled all over the United States exploring the role that music plays in our working lives...

Matt Dineen speaking at Interference Archive in August 2015. Photo by Josh MacPhee


June 4th
The Music & Work Project was officially launched with the aforementioned IndieGoGo campaign. The goal of the fundraiser was to publish my zine Not for You: Stories of Music & Work from the Precarious Service Industry and to cover the travel costs of the Summer tour through the Midwest and back. In that initial pitch, I explained:

"I believe that looking at the realities of wage labor through the lens of music has the potential to   heighten our understanding of capitalist society - and hopefully illuminate possibilities beyond the current economic system. And unlike existing academic and corporate research on music in the workplace, my exploration will be from the bottom up; from the eyes and ears of actual workers."

And I added that the goal of the tour was: "to listen to the experiences of other people around these questions. What kind of role does music play in your working life? How has this changed since the first jobs you ever had? I want to hear your story."

July 4th
Thanks to the support of my amazing friends and family I was able to raise $1,300 and spend most of July on the road, doing zine readings and facilitating discussions about music, work, capitalism, and liberation.

July 9th
The first event of the tour was the launch of the Not for You zine at Wooden Shoe Books & Records in Philadelphia.

July 10th
The following night was a zine reading and discussion at The Soapbox: Community Print Shop & Zine Library in West Philly.

July 14th
The Music & Work Project summer zine tour kicked off with a presentation and discussion at the Smithsonian Folkways in Washington, DC.

July 16th
Zine reading and discussion at Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse in Baltimore, MD.

July 17th
Zine reading and discussion with Philip Mittereder from Madhouse Publications in Pittsburgh, PA at Babyland artist studios.

July 19th
Zine reading and discussion at The Birdsell Project artist residency in South Bend, IN.

July 21st
Zine reading and discussion at Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative in Madison, WI.

July 23rd
Zine reading and discussion with musical guest Sean Bremhorst at Plain Talk Book Store in Des Moines, IA.

July 26th
Zine reading and discussion at the Garden of Wonders on Racine in Chicago, IL.

July 28th
Zine reading, discussion, and open mic/couch at Adeline, Inc. in Duluth, MN.

July 29th
Zine reading and discussion at Boneshaker Books in Minneapolis, MN.

August 7th
Zine reading and indie rock show with Didi, Grist, and Jamboree at the Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA.

August 9th
Presentation and discussion at the Haybarn Theater, Goddard College in Plainfield, VT.

August 18th
Zine reading and discussion with writer Cassie J. Sneider at Bluestockings Bookstore in New York, NY.

August 19th
Zine reading and discussion at Interference Archive in Brooklyn, NY in conjunction with their exhibit "If a song could be freedom...Organized Sounds of Resistance."

Garden of Wonders on Racine (in Chicago). Photo by Kelly Berry


October 12th
Reading and discussion at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Interview for Anarchy on Air on WESU 88.1 FM.

October 15th
Presentation and discussion at Emerson College in Boston, MA.

October 23rd
Presentation and discussion at the Smithsonian Folkways in Washington, DC.

October 25th
Reading and discussion at the Duke Coffeehouse in Durham, NC.

October 27th
Reading and discussion at Firestorm Books & Coffee in Asheville, NC.

November 4th
Workshop, reading, discussion, and presentations at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL.

November 11th
Reading and discussion at Bellocq in New Orleans, LA.

November 15th
Panel discussion with Young Workers United at the Howard Zinn Book Fair, City College of San Francisco Mission Campus in San Francisco, CA.

November 18th
Reading and discussion at Interzone, Inc. in Corvallis, OR.

November 23rd
Reading and discussion at Reading Frenzy in Portland, OR.

November 25th
Reading and discussion at Left Bank Books in Seattle, WA.

December 5th
Zine reading and dance party at University City Arts League in Philadelphia, PA to benefit the Soapbox Community Print Shop & Zine Library.

Not for You on the Justseeds table at the 2015 Pittsburgh Zine Fair. Photo by Julia West


27 events later, the future of The Music & Work Project is boundless. This Winter, I plan on writing another zine reflecting on these two tours. I will also be announcing a call for submissions for an anthology--collecting stories of music and work from all different types of job experiences. And there is also a podcast in the works for 2016. So many possibilities ahead!

Finally, I want to thank everyone who donated to the summer fundraising campaign, organized an event, and fed or hosted me while I was traveling. None of this would have been possible without you.

Happy New Year and keep up to date with the project on Facebook and Twitter.

Matt Dineen

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Westward-bound! Fall tour on the west coast

I've been on the road for 3 weeks now. From Philly to DC, Durham to Asheville, NC. I had a great experience last Wednesday speaking with students at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa: a morning class, an afternoon workshop, and an evening lecture all exploring the role of music in our working lives.

And now, after a week in New Orleans, I am heading to the west coast for the final leg of this tour. It all starts in the San Francisco Bay Area with the second annual Howard Zinn Book Fair this weekend! Saturday night is the Firebrand Records book fair kick off showcase in Oakland. And on Sunday the 15th, I am doing a panel discussion at 3:00 pm with organizers from Young Workers United on workplace struggles, music, and precarity. It should be a fun weekend in the radical spirit of Zinn.
From there, I'm doing zine readings and discussions in Oregon: At Interzone in Corvallis on the 18th and at Reading Frenzy in Portland on the 23rd. And I'm hoping to read at Left Bank Books in Seattle after that...stay tuned for more updates!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Anarchy on Air interview & Fall tour update

I'm excited to announce the first audio representation of The Music & Work Project! Before my event at Wesleyan University on October 12th, I was interviewed about the project for the radio program Anarchy on Air (AOA). The show features "anarchist perspectives on politics and culture with a focus on resistance and activism" and is produced by a volunteer collective for 88.1 FM WESU Middletown, CT. It airs on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays from 4:00-4:55 pm EST. The new episode, featuring AOA collective member Tess Altman's interview with me, aired this week. It is also streaming online and available to listen to here...

And the Fall tour has been going really well so far. After returning to the Smithsonian Folkways in DC, I've spent this week in North Carolina with events at the Duke Coffeehouse in Durham and Firestorm Café and Books in Asheville. Next up is a series of events at the University of Alabama next Wednesday, November 4th, culminating with an evening lecture hosted by Creative Campus.

Follow The Music & Work Project on Facebook and Twitter for more updates!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fall has arrived!

That's right, Fall is here and it's time for the next phase of The Music & Work Project to begin. Starting next week, I will be visiting colleges and universities across the country to speak with students about the role of music in their working lives. We'll explore the significance of the soundtrack to their jobs--from the precarious service industry to unpaid internships and everything in between. In what ways does music help liberate us from capitalist imperatives? How does it make the workday even more miserable? I'm excited to learn from the experiences and insights of young people on the front lines.

I'm also excited to announce that I will be returning to the Smithsonian Folkways to present reflections and analysis of the summer zine tour! That will be Friday October 23rd.

Here is the updated Fall tour schedule. Please get in touch to help book more events and stay tuned for updates...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fall tour update: Howard Zinn Book Fair and college events

As Summer comes to a close, I am looking toward the possibilities of Fall and the next phase of The Music & Work Project. I'm currently booking events at colleges and universities on the East Coast, South, and West Coast from October through December. I'll be offering workshops and presentations on the intersection of music and labor to further explore the soundtracks of our job experiences.

If you have any contacts in academia that are interested in bringing me to their campus, please have them contact:

I am also excited to announce that I will be presenting at the 2nd Annual Howard Zinn Book Fair in San Francisco on November 15th. The panel "Not for You: Young Workers & Precarity" will be in conversation with organizers from Young Workers United and will be held in the Sylvia Rivera room from 4:15 to 5:15 pm.

More updates on the way soon, including news on an upcoming collaboration with Bootstrap Industries. Until then, don't forget to follow The Music & Work Project on Facebook and Twitter.

Matt Dineen

Monday, August 17, 2015

NYC events this week + Fall tour

The Music & Work Project summer zine tour is coming to an end soon. But first, I will be doing two events in New York City this week: Tomorrow night at Bluestockings with writer/rockstar Cassie J. Sneider; and then Wednesday night at Interference Archive--in conjunction with their fantastic summer exhibit "If a song could be freedom...Organized Sounds of Resistance."

Fall tour?

And looking ahead to the Fall, I am interested in doing presentations and workshops at colleges, universities, libraries, and other cultural institutions. If you are a student, faculty or staff member--or know someone who is--and interested in helping organize an event around the intersections of music and work, please get in touch with me! I will be available from mid-September/early October in New England and the East Coast; early November in the Southeast/Southwest; and mid-November/early December on the West Coast. Email me today to set something up!

Finally, don't forget to follow The Music & Work Project on Facebook and Twitter!

Monday, July 27, 2015

A quick update from the road: August events and more

The Music & Work Project summer zine tour is entering its final week. I was hoping to post tour dispatches (like the first 3) more consistently, but it has been challenging to stay on top of it from the road as the schedule rapidly picked up heading into the Midwest. More dispatches are on the way soon, but for now I just wanted to share some quick updates...

First, the tour has been going great! Each event has been so participatory and interesting for me. Hearing people's stories, reuniting with dear old friends, making new ones, and getting to explore new places has been so rewarding. Can't wait to share more soon!

My zine Not for You: Stories of Music & Work from the Precarious Service Industry is now available for sale at the following locations:
  • Wooden Shoe Books & Records: 704 South Street Philadelphia, PA
  • Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse: 30 W. North Ave Baltimore, MD
  • Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative: 426 W. Gilman Street Madison, WI
  • Quimby's Bookstore: 1854 W. North Ave. Chicago, IL
The zine is also available mail order via PayPal. Email here for more info.

* * *
And finally, an events schedule update! Only two events left of the current tour. I'm traveling to Minnesota today and will be in Duluth Tuesday at Adeline, Inc. and then Minneapolis Wednesday at Boneshaker Books.

After this week, I will be returning to the east coast to prepare a presentation about the tour and the project at the Goddard Graduate Institute's residency in Plainfield, VT. The event is August 9th at 7:30 and will be free and open to the public.

And later in August, I will be doing 2 exciting events in New York City: Tuesday August 18th at Bluestockings with the fantastically amazing writer and rockstar Cassie J. Sneider; and then the following night at Interference Archive in Brooklyn, in conjunction with their new exhibit "If a Song Could be Freedom..." That's Wednesday August 19th at 7:00 pm.

Thanks everyone who has supported me in countless and invaluable ways during this tour. It's been an incredible and inspiring experience. Looking forward to what's ahead...