Here’s a repost of something I put up on my private posterous account and also twittered about. I had such a fantastic reaction to it (both online and off) that I thought it was worth posting up here ‘for real’ on New Music Strategies.

As well as my seminars, teaching and writing, I do a fair bit of consultancy for independent musicians and music businesses. That involves general music marketing advice, social media strategy, website advice, brainstorming, online PR and so on.

I have a day rate, a half day rate and an hourly rate. Travel and accommodation’s on top of that. But the number of independent musicians, bands, record labels, music retailers, promoters, distributors and producers that can afford proper ‘consultancy’ is small to start with – and dwindling in the current economic climate.

So I was thinking of ways to get to more interesting places, do more interesting things, and work with more interesting musicians and music industry people. Just generally find more ways to be helpful and see if I can make things better anywhere for anyone.

I was also thinking about the great unconferences that have been happening recently – as well as the fabulous Unconvention. Both of those phenomena really embody that kind of independent, ad hoc, community and grassroots sort of spirit. I love it to bits.

I also got to thinking about the ‘Concerts in Your Home‘ movement, which I really like – and, of course, Couchsurfing – of which I am a real fan.

And I came up with the Unconsultancy.

Here’s what I imagine an Unconsultancy would be:

I’d come to you, stay a day or two in your house – maybe just sleep on the couch – and run workshops, one-on-one consultancies, advice sessions and a seminar in your living room, church hall, local pub – whatever.

Just get together a bunch of musicians or creative industry types in your area, invite them round, and have a whiparound to cover my airfare, train travel, or ferry – and a bit extra to make the time extra worthwhile… and in return, I’ll pull out all the stops to give you as much consultancy, advice, guidance, strategy and idea generation as you can handle.

We can break it up into one-on-one sessions, workshops, group discussions, seminars, and real nitty-gritty plans of action. In other words, I’ll give you multiple times the value, tailored specifically for your crowd. And it’d be a lot of fun too.

Feels like it’d probably be a weekend sort of thing – maybe once a month or so, but I do have some flexibility. I love to travel, so if you can get a group together in your area, wherever you may be, let’s have a conversation and see if we can make it work.

It’ll be an experiment to start with, but hopefully – if it goes as well as I imagine it might, based on my experience with the other Un-stuff I’m involved in – I can encourage some of my other social media / music / creative industries / web / entrepreneurship
consultant mates to give it a try as well.

What do you think? Just crazy enough to work? Or just crazy?

24 thoughts on “Unconsultancy

  1. Dane Brown says:

    Yes! Wanna come to Vancouver, Canada? Let’s hook it up.

  2. Andy says:

    Love the idea, if anyone else bites in the Manchester area then let me know.

  3. MB says:

    Wow! Terrific Idea. Dallas over here.

  4. Dubber says:

    Yes to all of the above, and more. Drop me an email and let’s work something out.

  5. Chris says:

    Love this idea. Manchester anyone? Andy – I’m gonna contact ya!

  6. dave harte says:

    Great idea – shame Bournville is a bit too near to make this work (although a few beers down the allotment, small group, whip round for your bus fare – sounds good doesn’t it?).

    Seriously though, the shift to creating co-working spaces in houses is an interesting one – see workatjelly.com (via Nikki Pugh who did something similar in her front room in Birmingham) – maybe a good move in a downturn.

  7. Mark Eden says:

    An amazing idea! I’m a classical guitarist and I really want you to talk to me, my duo and quartet, my record label (BGS), my musician friends, and my students at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Don’t know if I can get them all in my livingroom but I’ll think of something.

  8. GarageSpin says:

    Hi Andrew,

    It’s been done, and it works! I thought this was a great article about a musician that created a self-sustaining gig/class tour which he organized via Twitter:



  9. Swe thai says:

    Sounds interesting. Im on my way to promote my Music on th web in Asia.

  10. Paul Scaife says:

    hmm, i guess E17 isn’t that appealing having seen the offers above, still, the invite is there…

  11. Danielly says:

    Ha, I think this is great! I will definetely be up for bringing you to Newcastle and having a round table with some musicians!

  12. Lykle says:

    Hi Andrew, we will definitely get you over to The Netherlands once more and gather up some Lopend Vuur-acts to shoot their questions at you!

  13. Steve Lawson says:


    I, perhaps not surprisingly, think it’s a stellar idea. As Mike linked to, very similar to some of what we did in the US in Dec/January – we extended the ‘house concert’ idea into being ‘house concert + masterclass/workshop/discussion in your home’ – I did a looping/solo performance session in Milwaukee, a ‘socia media to connect with an audience’ session in Nashville (which was mainly for writers/poets, with a few musicians thrown in) and then a session in a pub in Anaheim for musicians but also had a woman that makes ‘erotic podcasts’ there (that was fun!), as well as a ‘bass masterclass in a house’ that I’ve been doing for years in San Jose.

    All in, a whole lot of fun, a great way to make a lil’ more cash on tour, share some ideas, and make some friends. All good. Go for it. :)

  14. Sounds like a good idea to me. I think it would work.

  15. Anders Larson says:

    Great idea, I´ll see if Denmark could be fitted into your calender!

  16. Gareth W says:

    Hi Andrew

    Why don’t I come to you instead?


  17. Robin says:

    Andrew, you might end up an unconsultancy gig in my country. I wish. I’ll be in touch.


  18. Jacob Moon says:

    Love this idea. I could for sure wrangle up some indie musicians to take part in this kind of event. Shall we make it in the fall sometime?

    Contact me for details…


  19. Ali says:

    Sure I know a few people in Glasgow who would be up for the idea!

    Though not the most enticing place I can imagine!


  20. Dubber says:

    I love Glasgow. Been there a couple of times and really got on with the place. Also – my father’s from there.

  21. Dubber says:

    If you want to get in touch about unconsultancy, then please drop me a note: dubber@gmail.com

    If you would like traditional one-to-one consulting, whether face to face, via Skype or as ongoing email consultancy, send me an email and we can talk about rates, etc.

  22. Andrew says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Was catching up on some RSS feeds – enjoyed the Stratford bike trip ;-) My wife signed us up to http://globalfreeloaders.com/ a few years back- we’ve hosted Brits, Aussies, Canadians, Germans – it’s been an wonderful and enriching experience – I’d recommend it to anybody who likes to travel. If you ever make it over to LA – you can actually get a bed here and would be very welcome.

  23. Andy says:

    It’s on….

    Un-Consultancy Sessions in Manchester on 30th May, 10am in the Northern Quarter nice and near all forms of public transport for those of you from outside of the city. £30 including lunch and coffee, contact me at web@indielab.co.uk to reserve a space.