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...

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer zine tour dispatch #3: Baltimore

When I first began organizing this tour I got a message from Kate at Red Emma’s in Baltimore inviting me to do an event there. I had already been hoping to visit the worker-owned, collectively-managed bookstore & coffee shop so I was excited. The only issue was one of scheduling. I had originally planned on going to Baltimore earlier in the month, right after Philly, but Kate explained that they would be closed from July 3rd to the 14th. I decided to go for it and shift things around. This ended up working out really well because I was able to ease into the tour with a little extra time to prepare before hitting the road.

I took the Marc train up from DC on the 15th—the day Red Emma’s reopened with its freshly re-painted walls and a some tasty new dishes added to their food menu. I hadn’t realized how close it was from the train station until right before I arrived. After a ten minute walk up Charles Street, I reached their block on North Avenue. I was inspired to see a reclaimed billboard across the street with a huge #BlackLivesMatter poster wheat-pasted across it. I’ve found that the street art and public murals in Baltimore are unrivaled—even compared to Philly.

It was great to be back at Red Emma’s. A few minutes after I sat down, my fabulous host—and former collective member—Corey joined me for iced coffee. We had a nice time catching up before the monthly social justice happy hour began. This one was partnered with three different local trans organizations, “in honor of the trans folks whose resistance sparked the Stonewall Riots.”  The happy hour aimed “to connect with trans organizers and projects providing services for trans people in Baltimore.” It featured cocktail specials named after historical figures in the trans justice movement and a selection of relevant book titles on display.
My event was the following evening and I felt pretty good about spending almost the entire day in this bountiful space filled with delicious vegetarian food, radical literature, and great people. In the morning, I met up with fellow Goddard College alumnus Mark Gunnery. We ordered our coffee to go and then he drove me up to the Center for Emerging Media’s (CEM) new office where he produces the Marc Steiner Show for public radio. I sent Mark a copy of the zine the week before and he agreed to interview me for a future episode of the show. He asked me questions about the project and invited me read a few of the stories from the zine. It was fun to hear Mark’s reactions to the work. And I was just honored to given the opportunity, especially by a media activist and musician who I respect a lot. He’ll be editing the interview and including some of the music that appears in my stories which will be cool to hear.

Tour Magic (part one)

“Tour magic. It’s more than a feeling…It would be tragic if this magic doesn’t happen again.” –Best Friends Forever

Mark drove me back to Red Emma’s where he was meeting a colleague from the CEM. I spent the rest of the afternoon writing, eating lunch, writing some more, and drinking more coffee. Eventually it became evening as I waited for an old college friend to drive in from outside the city to share dinner before my event started. Corey showed up first and we compared our respective days. As we were chatting by the window, someone walked towards our table waving hello to me. I didn’t recognize Amy O. at first since it had been a while, but we knew each other back in Northampton when I worked with one of her best friends at the vegan café. Now she lives in Bloomington, IN and her new band Brenda’s Friend was also on tour. They were playing later that night, basically on the same block, around the corner from Red Emma’s at The Crown. It felt so serendipitous to cross paths like this and I mentioned that fantastic Best Friends Forever song ‘Tour Magic.’ Their music is always the perfect summer soundtrack for me. “Oh, if you’re into them,” Amy responded, “then you’ll probably like our band too.” She had to leave to do sound-check right before my event began, but I promised to stop by their show later.

Some of the events at Red Emma’s are hosted in between the bookstore area and massive café space. Rows of chairs are set up and the speaker will use a microphone to communicate with the crowd. Smaller events, like mine, are held in the Baltimore Free School classroom off the hallway from the bookstore. On Thursdays, there is a CSA farm share pick up in the Free School space until 7:00 pm so as we began arranging chairs for the event, there was also cleaning up of the remains of produce and flower pedals.

As 7:30 approached, a tiny group of familiar faces sat in the chairs around me so Kate asked someone to make an announcement in the main space. It was clear that the event would be starting late (“anarchist time”) which was fine with me. Two older women who had battled gridlock traffic due to the city’s upcoming Artscape festival arrived with glasses of wine from the café. Kate made another announcement which brought in a couple more people. It was time to begin.

Photo by Corey Reidy

After I was introduced, I gave a little background on the project and, once again, invited everyone sitting around the circle to write down the title of a song, an artist, album, etc. that they deeply associated with a particular job experience. I read my stories and answered a couple questions before opening it up. The range of music and types of work everyone shared was really interesting. From the labor classic “Bread and Roses” back in the day to “Mathematics” by Mos Def at the auto-shop as the soundtrack to refusing the boss’ orders. Working at the Baltimore Book Festival and “Love is Love” by Lungfish offsetting the terrible music there. Sweet memories of Neutral Milk Hotel playing at the original Red Emma’s location (“Emma’s 1.0”). Shania Twain and other easy listening hits from 106.5 FM which played constantly at the flower shop. Waiting tables at an all-night diner and improvising a song about parsley to sing to customers while serving their parsley-garnished meals. The awful and soul-less songs that would play at the old department store, particularly “Blame it on the Bossa Nova.” And “You’re Fired” by Strike Anywhere after listening to the radio all day at a health food store and negotiating a new managerial position there as an anarchist.
One Red Emma’s café worker shared some experiences. Often the music playing in the front of the house mashes up with what’s playing in the back if you’re working at the counter taking orders. Being in between both makes it difficult to enjoy either. I asked if music has been a contentious issue during collective meetings and apparently it has come up quite a bit. Music matters.

I felt really good about the discussion. Afterwards I got to catch up with Christa from Red Emma’s at Liam’s pub next door and then after we parted ways I walked over to The Crown where the show was just beginning. The opening band Nudie Suits were amazing—replete with an interpretive dancer. I said hi to Amy and she was happy that I showed up. Brenda’s Friend played next and they were great too, but it was getting late so I had to head out right after their set. As we said goodbye, Amy told me they were playing in Philly the following night and then Pittsburgh on Saturday.

“Oh yeah?” I replied. “I’ll still be in Pittsburgh then! Maybe I can go to that show too before my train leaves…”
Brenda's Friend at The Crown


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Summer zine tour dispatch #2: Washington, DC

On Monday July 13th, I hit the road. It was disorienting leaving Philly on a bus going in a direction other than northeast. Instead of the usual trip over the Delaware River into New Jersey (and beyond, always), this double-decker bus went by the stadiums in South Philadelphia, over the Schuylkill River and past the international airport. We quickly entered the state of Delaware drifting southwest down Interstate 95 toward Washington, DC. The tour had really begun now.

I hadn’t been to DC in 5 years. In the years I was in college and just after graduation, I would visit fairly often for protests and activist conferences. It felt strange getting off the bus and being surrounded by this now-unfamiliar city. Before I knew it, I was in a suburban Virginia-bound car with my friend who kindly offered to host me during this visit.

The next morning, I took the Metro back into the city. I got off the orange line at L’Enfant Plaza, across from the National Mall, and walked into the Capital Gallery building. I took the elevator up to the second floor and entered the Smithsonian Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage. The center is home to the annual Folklife Festival and Smithsonian Folkways where my friend Meredith Holmgren has worked for the past few years. When I began organizing the tour, she invited me to do a lunchtime event in their conference room.

Before the clock struck noon Meredith gave me a tour of the office including the vaulted Folkways archives—thousands of original recordings, some dating back many decades such as this box set of Lead Belly’s 'Work Songs of the USA...'

It was an honor to present at this venue and to share ideas and stories with a group of people who are passionate about music and culture. And unlike the two events in Philly last week, I didn’t know anyone sitting around the room besides my friend who graciously introduced me. The Smithsonian staff and interns were enthusiastic about sharing their music and work experiences after I finished reading stories from my zine. And it was fun to see everyone learn new things about each other.

That infamous hit song by The Eagles made its second appearance on this tour: “My first waitressing job in high school…the kitchen staff played ‘Hotel California’ on repeat every shift…this would be interrupted by calls over the scanner radio—the head cook was also our town’s fire chief.”

Other stories ranged widely: A live performance of ‘Amelia’s Waltz’ performed each morning at the New England Literature Program; one CD, 1 to 2 hours every day for a month at Banana Republic (“utter torture with mix of brainwashing”); ‘The Whistle Song’ (safe for work version) breaking up the monotony of classical music; ‘Umbrella’ by Rhianna at a café job; and Elton John’s ‘Tumbleweed Connection’ album as the nightly soundtrack to mopping the floor at a summer camp dining hall.

As one would imagine, the discussion was smart and lively as people offered new insights I hadn’t considered yet and asked a lot of the questions I’m excited to immerse myself in exploring further. Someone brought up the distinction between hearing and listening—music as background sound vs. actively engaging with it as a work of creative expression. The associate director of Folkways observed that a lot of my stories described oppressive experiences. He admitted that, as a musician, he had never thought that the people laboring on the clock where he performed might not always be enjoying the music. I explained that The Music & Work Project is about investigating the spectrum between oppression and liberation: recognizing the ways our workplace soundtracks can further alienate, while also illuminating the endless potential for music to make us feel free and even point towards new ways of living and working.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer zine tour dispatch #1: Philadelphia

The Music & Work Project summer zine tour officially kicked off this past Thursday at Wooden Shoe Books in Philadelphia. That morning, I picked up the first copies of Not for You: Stories of Music & Work from the Precarious Service Industry from the print shop in South Philly. It was exciting to see it in print for the first time! The zine itself is pretty short. It features a short intro about the project, 11 vignettes about the role of music from my past job experiences, and a brief outro posing questions for further inquiry. Throughout is the beautiful artwork of my sister Sarah Dineen which ties it all together.

I arrived at the Wooden Shoe (where I have been volunteering for the past 6 and a half years) early to set up the space and get ready. Expecting about 20 people, I arranged the usual set up of 4 or 5 rows of chairs. But as 7:00 approached the sun appeared to be setting prematurely; the outside world through the storefront windows getting darker and darker each minute. Eventually I welcomed those who had showed up as we rearranged the chair formation into a more intimate circle. Just as I began, the sky opened up and the rain didn’t let up until after we were done.
Being the first event of the tour, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. It went really well though. I invited everyone to write down the title of a song, album, artist or musical genre that they deeply associated with a particular job experience. After I read a few of the stories from my zine, I pulled them one by one out of a box and invited everyone to share their experiences. We heard about singing songs (to unwitting customers) while collecting shopping carts in the Whole Foods parking lot and the different soundtracks of competing burger chains. The music of Belle and Sebastian curing homesickness on the job and “Hotel California” playing on the radio while shoveling the literal shit out of a hoarder’s abandoned house.

The following evening, I biked out to West Philly where my friend Mary Tasillo lives and runs The Soapbox—an independent publishing space and zine library. We set up in the dining room/event space in between the zine library and kitchen. We set up food and drinks and by the time the event began all the chairs we arranged around the room were full. It was great to see some old friends who showed up and I decided to start, once again, by inviting them to write down song titles related to a past work experience. I felt a more comfortable presenting after the kickoff event and the discussion was really engaging. Stories were shared about over-played Starbucks CD’s, afternoon frat parties disrupting library research/labor, the not-always-positive jobs featuring live music, and getting through retail drudgery through 90’s indie angst.

With both events, I asked if I could keep everyone’s songs that they wrote down. So I’ll be collecting these throughout the tour—a documentation of music and work from the lived experiences of workers making the most of it.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

The summer zine tour begins tonight!

I'm excited to announce that The Music & Work Project summer zine tour will be kicking off tonight in Philadelphia! I just picked up copies of the zine--Not for You: Stories of Music & Work from the Precarious Service Industry--from the printer this morning. At 7:00 pm, there will be a short reading and discussion at Wooden Shoe Books on South Street. The zine launch will be followed by another event tomorrow night at The Soapbox: Independent Publishing Center in West Philly at 8:00 pm.

The tour continues next week and through the rest of July. See below for the full tour schedule...

The Music & Work Project summer zine tour
Thursday July 9th: Philadelphia, PA. Wooden Shoe Books. 7:00 pm
Friday July 10th: Philadelphia, PA. The Soapbox: Independent Publishing Center. 8:00 pm
Tuesday July 14th: Washington, DC. Smithsonian Folkways. 12:00 pm
Thursday July 16th: Baltimore, MD. Red Emma's. 7:30 pm
Friday July 17th: Pittsburgh, PA w/ Phil Mittereder. Babyland. 8:00 pm
Sunday July 19th: South Bend, IN. The Birdsell Project. 3:00 pm
Tuesday July 21st: Madison, WI. Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative. 7:00 pm
Thursday July 23rd: Des Moines, IA. Plain Talk Books. 7:00 pm
Sunday July 26th: Chicago, IL. The Garden of Wonders on Racine. Time TBA.
Tuesday July 28th: Duluth, MN. Adeline, Inc. 7:00 pm
Wednesday July 29th: Minneapolis, MN. Boneshaker Books. 7:00 pm

"This collection of stories presents Matt's reflections on his own experience, offering an implicit critique of empty labor and hierarchical power dynamics. On this tour, he will be presenting these stories and the ideas behind them, but also starting a conversation to gather the thoughts and stories of others along this theme for a second book." -Mad House Publications

Friday, July 3, 2015

Last chance to help fund the summer zine tour!

Ok, this is it. The Music & Work Project summer zine tour IndieGoGo campaign is down to its final hours. Thanks again to everyone who has already donated to make this possible. There are several East Coast and Midwest tour dates confirmed (schedule update coming soon), but in order to make it out to the Pacific Northwest I'll have to raise a little more money in the next 40 hours. Donate now if you can or help spread the word!

Also, the zine has been sent to the printer and will be released next Thursday! The zine tour will be launched that night at Wooden Shoe Books in Philadelphia at 7:00 pm. And here's a little sneak peak of the zine....

Monday, June 29, 2015

Another zine update: It's done!

The zine is done and ready to be published! Not for You: Stories of Music & Work from the Precarious Service Industry will be out just in time for the start of the summer tour. I'm excited to announce that it will be released through my good friend Phil Mittereder's Mad House Publications. The official launch will take place at Wooden Shoe Books in Philadelphia on Thursday July 9th at 7:00 pm. The tour itself is really coming together. Events have been added in Washington, DC at the Smithsonian Folkways on July 14th, Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative in Madison, WI on July 21st, and Adeline, Inc. in Duluth, MN on July 28th. I'm still hoping to make it out to the Pacific Northwest the first week of August, but I'll need to raise more money on the IndieGoGo campaign to make it happen. Only 6 days left! Please donate today if you can and help spread the word. Thanks! Oh, and don't forget to follow The Music & Work Project on Facebook and Twitter for more updates...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Not for You? A short excerpt from the zine

Only about a week to go in the IndieGoGo campaign and I'm just putting the finishing touches on the zine, "Not for You: Stories of Music & Work from the Precarious Service Industry." Some people have asked me about that title and so I'd like to share the following excerpt where it originates. This is from the story about my first coffee shop job:
 As the summer faded away and the leaves began changing colors, I found myself sitting at yet another evening staff meeting. This time there was tension festering between the owner and us worker bees. Her impossible expectations of perfection and ultra-efficiency clashed with our all-too-imperfect humanity on the clock. She rattled off a litany of improvements that needed to be made immediately including issues with the music we played on shift. She explained that it was a privilege for us to choose our own soundtrack and then emphasized: “The music is not for you. It’s for the customers.” It was a revealing moment, exposing the antagonistic dynamics between management, customers, and those of us that must sell our labor to survive to the beats and rhythms of the service industry. 


Friday, June 19, 2015

Summer zine tour updates!

First, I want to thank you everyone who has contributed to The Music & Work Project summer zine tour IndieGoGo campaign! You're all amazing. There's still a ways to go before I reach my goal and only a couple weeks left. So please help spread the word and donate if you can.

On a related note, today is my last day of work at the coffee shop where I've been for the past few years. It's exciting and scary and liberating and overwhelming. Here's to taking risks and not quitting our day dreams...

And finally, the "Not for You" summer zine tour is starting to come together! Zine readings and discussions have been confirmed in Philadelphia, Washington DC, Baltimore, South Bend, and Des Moines with others being planned as you read this. I have also been invited back to the Goddard Graduate Institute in Plainfield, VT as the visiting scholar at their August residency! I'm psyched.

Check out the full tour schedule below and get in touch if you're interested in setting up an event.

Matt Dineen

Summer zine tour schedule

July 9th: Philadelphia, PA @ Wooden Shoe Books & Records
July 14th: Washington, DC @ Smithsonian Folkways
July 16th: Baltimore, MD @ Red Emma's
July 17th: Pittsburgh, PA @ TBA
July 18th: Cleveland, OH @ TBA
July 19th: South Bend, IN @ The Birdsell Project
July 21st: Madison, WI @ Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative
July 23rd: Des Moines, IA @ Plain Talk Bookstore
July 25th: Chicago, IL @ TBA
July 28th: Duluth, MN @ TBA
Aug. 1st: Portland, OR @ TBA
Aug. 6th: Seattle WA @ TBA
Aug. 9th: Plainfield, VT @ Goddard College

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Support the Music & Work Project summer zine tour!

The IndieGoGo campaign just went live! Check it out here. Donate if you can and please help spread the word!

Music and work. I’m curious about the role that music plays in our working lives. How do the soundtracks to our jobs shape our daily experiences on the clock? Are these songs functioning only to increase productivity and profits for the boss? Or is the workplace playlist freely controlled by their workers to reduce alienation and open a portal toward liberation? Can music be a tool of resistance?
What if there is no music at all?

I’m going to explore all of these questions and more in The Music & Work Project. 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.  

To begin this project, I’m going to share my own stories of music and work. I’m currently writing a zine that documents my years in the service industry and the music that helped define all those jobs. Not for You: Stories of Music & Work in the Precarious Service Industry explores the antagonistic dynamics between management, workers, and customers in relationship to the beats, rhythms, lyrics, and melodies played at each job.

This exploration starts with my own stories. But I also want to hear yours.

Starting in early July, I will be going on a summer tour 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. Bring me to your local bookstore, community space, cafe, or bar. I'll do a short reading and then open a dialogue where everyone can participate. Or host a potluck dinner at your place, or in a park, and we can have these conversations over some delicious food, in a non-capitalist space. I'm up for anything!

After the east to west coast tour is over, I’ll develop a presentation and produce a second issue of the zine - focusing on how other people have processed music at work.

In order to make all of this happen, I have to quit my current service job. So I'm gonna need a little help! It will cost $5,000 to publish the zine and fund this research. So if this project sounds interesting to you and you'd like to be part of it in some way, please donate today! Everyone who gives $10 or more will get a copy of the Not for You zine. A contribution of $50 or more will also include a copy of the zine that I’ll create from my research during the tour.

Thanks so much and hopefully I'll see you on the road this summer!

<3 Matt Dineen