Marcus O’Dair is a musician, writer and academic.
He is the author of Distributed Creativity (Palgrave 2018), about the potential impact of blockchain technology on the creative economy, and Different Every Time (Serpent’s Tail 2014), an authorised biography of the musician Robert Wyatt. Different Every Time was shortlisted for the Penderyn prize. It was also a book of the week on Radio 4 and a book of the year in the Guardian, the Independent, the Times, the Sunday Times, the Evening Standard and Uncut magazine. He is also, infinitely improbably, the author of The Rough Guide to the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy (Rough Guides 2009).
Marcus is co-editor of Mute Records: Artists, Business, History (Bloomsbury 2018) and has contributed to edited collections including Business Transformation Through Blockchain (Palgrave 2019), Jazz and Totalitarianism (Routledge 2017) and Punk Pedagogies (Routledge 2018). He has also contributed to peer-reviewed academic journals including Popular Communication, Strategic Change, Popular Music, IASPM@Journal, Life Writing and the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and written insight papers for organisations including the Blockchain Research Institute, the Featured Artists Coalition, and Music, Media and Entertainment 4.5. As well as number of academic conferences, Marcus has given public talks at the Southbank Centre, the V&A, the Barbican and Edinburgh International Book Festival, as well as internationally from New York and Nashville to Riyadh and Amman.
As a journalist, Marcus has written for publications including the Guardian, the Independent, the Financial Times, the Irish Times, Uncut, the Quietus, Pitchfork, Wire and Jazzwise. As a broadcaster, he has been a presenter or studio guest on CNN, Radio 1, 6 Music, Radio 3 and the World Service; he has also presented podcasts for the Independent, Music Week and the Barbican.
Marcus has spent the last decade as a featured artist with – and manager of – Grasscut, releasing acclaimed albums on Ninja Tune (2010, 2012) and Lo Recordings (2015). Grasscut have performed at the Union Chapel, the ICA, Koko and Tate Britain, as well as in France, Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Czech Republic, Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, Poland and Slovakia. As a session musician, Marcus also spent several years on retainer with Passenger, performing at festivals including V and Latitude and live on Radio 2 and Radio 4, as well as on Wicked Man’s Rest (2007).
Marcus is a consultant with CMU Insights, delivering training programmes in the UK and internationally. He has also consulted for the Lost Art agency, for whom he worked on digital marketing for the Red Bull Music Academy, and the production company Somethin’ Else.
Marcus is a Director of the Featured Artists Coalition, a non-profit that exists to support, promote and protect artists in the music industry, and a trustee of New Note, an award-winning charity that uses music to support recovery from addiction.
Marcus is currently Associate Dean of Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise at University of the Arts London (UAL), responsible for developing strategic partnerships with organisations outside higher education, from local councils to global fashion brands. He is also setting up both a creative business incubator and a centre for social engagement through creativity. He was previously Associate Professor in Music and Innovation at Middlesex University.