Marcus O’Dair is a senior manager, writer and consultant specialising in music and the creative economy.
Marcus is currently Associate Dean of Knowledge Exchange at University of the Arts London (UAL), consistently named the best university in the world for undergraduate art and design education. In this role, he leads knowledge exchange for 200 academics, working with partners from the NHS to Nike via IBM, the British Council and the Institute of Coding. He has been awarded over a million pounds in funding for his own academic work, from funders including Office for Students, Research England, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Enterprise Educators UK.
As a consultant, Marcus has delivered projects for Music Managers Forum, IE Music, Linux Foundation, Red Bull Music Academy, European Jazz Network, Domino Records, Serious, Somethin' Else, University of Brighton and Blockchain Research Institute (Accenture, IBM, Microsoft, Deloitte, Tencent, KPMG etc). He has delivered training to music industry figures in West Asia, creative hub leaders from West Africa and cultural leaders from Mexico. He also developed an entrepreneurship e-learning platform for Microsoft, now used in eight countries across Africa, and has written a number of industry-facing reports.
Marcus is also a non-executive director of two organisations: the Featured Artists Coalition, a non-profit that supports, promotes and protects musicians, and Enterprise Educators UK, the UK’s leading membership network for enterprise educators. He was previously a trustee of New Note, an award-winning charity championed by Nesta, the Guardian and the BBC.
Marcus previously worked in music and media industries. He started out as a magazine editor and went on to contribute to publications including the Guardian, Times, Financial Times, Independent and Irish Times. He also spent a period on retainer with Passenger as a session musician before signing to Ninja Tune as one half - and manager - of Grasscut. Grasscut went on to release four acclaimed albums and perform across Europe at venues including the Pompidou Centre, Tate Britain and the Royal Albert Hall. Their music has been featured by companies including Mazda, Nespresso, K-Mart and HSBC, as well as appearing on the BBC, HBO and Netflix.
Marcus is the author of Distributed Creativity: How Blockchain Will Transform the Creative Economy (Palgrave 2019), written as researcher in residence at Digital Catapult. His previous book, Different Every Time (Serpent’s Tail 2014), tells the story of the British musician Robert Wyatt through a distributed networks of collaborators from Brian Eno to Bjork. A book of the week on BBC Radio 4, it was also shortlisted for the Penderyn prize. Marcus has also published in peer-reviewed academic journals and edited collections.
As well as giving keynotes at Falmouth University and the University of Manchester, Marcus has spoken at the Southbank Centre, the V&A, the Barbican and Edinburgh International Book Festival. He has also spoken to industry audiences in the UK and internationally at locations including KPMG in London, Thompson Reuters in New York and the King Fahed Cultural Centre in Riyadh. He has also appeared on Radio 1, Radio 3, BBC 6 Music, the World Service and CNN.