I’ve been invited to speak at a music industry event in New York. I’d like to go. Want to help?

CMJYou’ve probably figured out by now that I love nothing more than to sit down with a bunch of interesting people and talk about the online media environment, and what that might mean for creative businesses.

I particularly enjoy it when those creative businesses centre their activities around music, and especially when I also get to go somewhere I’ve never been before into the bargain.

Well, I received the following email yesterday:

Dear Andrew,

I am writing to you on behalf of the 27th annual CMJ Music Marathon taking place in Manhattan this fall. I would be honored if you would accept an invitation to participate as a panelist in our discussion of the near future of the music business entitled “Through the Looking Glass.”

This panel is scheduled to happen on Wednesday, October 17, 2007 at 10:30am and will be moderated by Paul Sloan of Business 2.0 Magazine. Confirmed panelists include Celia Hirschman of One Little Indian as well as Allan Klepfisz of QTrax.

Do you have any interest in joining us?

My response was, of course, that I’d be absolutely delighted to accept the invitation, but that since I live in the UK, I’d be reliant on their generosity as far as travel and accommodation were concerned.

Unfortunately, as my correspondent quickly informed me, they sadly had no budget for panelist expenses, and I would have to travel under my own steam. At this point, I began to wonder if perhaps you and I can make some sort of a deal…

The plan
I’d still be very keen to go, and I’m hopeful that there’s a way I can make this happen.

A quick look on Opodo.com reveals that I’d be looking at between £400 and £700 in flights alone, and then there’s inner city travel and accommodation — though I’d be happy to sleep on someone’s floor if it really came down to it.

So… partly as an experiment, I’m going to solicit donations via my Paypal account. Shameless, I know, but worth a shot.

If you would like to contribute to my attendance at this event, I would be humbly grateful for whatever you can spare. I will hold that money in my PayPal account to pay for the trip. If I don’t raise enough to go, then I’ll give the money straight back to you.

The t-shirt
Of course, if I do go, I’ll want to do something for you by way of thanks. I was thinking of wearing a t-shirt that read something like:

I’m here thanks to the generosity of:

name of donor
name of donor
name of donor

who all read newmusicstrategies.com and just get it.

Of course, I’m not much of a designer, so I’d also be looking for someone to design and produce the t-shirt, in exchange for a ‘this t-shirt was designed by…’ credit on the back.

To be honest, I don’t know if any of this would be of any value to you. You could always donate on behalf of your band, record label, venue, management firm, web 2.0 startup or whatever, and then I’d be wearing your company name on my shirt in front of all those people.

It seems that it’s a fairly major event, attended by some very big names… but I don’t know how many people will be there, so I can’t project advertising impressions. This would, I’m guessing, not be the best use of your marketing spend.

You would, in other words, well and truly be doing me a favour.

Call it research
If it works — wow. If it doesn’t, then this has been an interesting research exercise, and I’ve held on to your money for a few days before returning it safe and sound. Honest.

Naturally, I’d blog the whole thing and do my best to have interesting, helpful and intelligent things to conclude and report back. I’ll also hold a get-together while I’m there with anyone in the area who’s interested in a chat, a drink and a catch-up about music online, the music business, and related topics.

I don’t want to waste your time with this, and I think I’ll have to give them an answer quickly — so here’s what I suggest:

My PayPal account is currently empty. If it has £700 in it by Friday, I’ll go to New York in October. If it doesn’t, I’ll give all the money back and write a blog post about the experiment this time next week.

The day job
Of course, the other variable in all this is the fact that I have a full time job as a university lecturer at UCE Birmingham.

I know that I could accommodate the teaching over those few days through some judicious class swapping with my fellow media lecturers, directed study activities for the students and online tutorials that I’ll be able to conduct via the laptop.

My highest priority would be that I’d be able to attend this in such a way that it would add to the students’ learning outcomes, rather than present an obstacle to them. I’d be attending as the author of New Music Strategies, which is kind of my hobby, rather than as a representative of the University, which is a whole other thing.

But hopefully, the department would recognise the value of their music industries degree leader attending such an event as an invited speaker, just in terms of the newly gained industry knowledge that would be coming back as a result — but, of course, there may be unforeseen complications and commitments that will make their usual generous support in this regard unfeasible in this instance.

In which case, of course, the cash back guarantee applies.

How to make it happen
So… to send me money to go to the CMJ Music Marathon, just PayPal it to dubber@gmail.com.

Of course, the wording on the t-shirt will be open to suggestion and change — but that’s just an idea at present. If you’d like to propose some alternative sponsorship arrangement, then drop me a note and we can talk.

If every one of my RSS subscribers paid £1, then I’d be set. Not sure how I’d get that many names on a t-shirt though, but surely that’s a design issue and therefore not my problem…


Okay, pundits — what do you reckon? Will this work? Is this kind of micro-patronage model a valid approach? In true telethon style… how much do you pledge? Comments please…