About Smartley-Dunn

Smartley-Dunn was founded in 1999 to help our friends (who eventually became clients) use technology to more effectively market themselves and reach their audiences.  After 20 years of developing artists’ careers through the traditional channels of touring, radio and retail  – we created Smartley-Dunn to help our clients combine traditional marketing with the emerging opportunities that the web and technology provided us and them.

The first “official” Smartley-Dunn project was a series of  “DJ in the park” parties called “Spin Out”, which was developed in partnership with the Chicago Park District, Department of Cultural Affairs and the Chicago music community to produce a series of free outdoor parties in the summer of 2001.

While initially focused on music clients ranging from our friends at The Billions Corporation to MacArthur genius Ken Vandermark, it was our award winning work with the band Wilco, on their Grammy winning album “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”, that helped prove the model of artists using the web to directly market themselves and manage their relationship with their fans.

Having been involved in the early days of streaming media and live webcasting since the mid-90s, we would spend the next ten years working with the band, their management and crew on building and maintaining Wilcoworld a fan-centric model of marketing and promotion, that at the time, had never been done before…or at least not smartly.

The success of Wilco, brought us to the attention of WIRED Magazine in 2003, where we would spend the next 5 years working with the editorial staff of the magazine on a wide range of projects primarily centered around artists, copyright, digital media and new technologies.

In 2005 we worked on the launch of Creative Commons, including a free live webcast performance by David Byrne and Gilberto Gil, and a presentation by CC founder Lawrence Lessig, and WIRED Editor Chris Anderson.  We also helped coordinate and produce “Who Owns Culture” a conversation about artists and copyright between Lessig and Jeff Tweedy, hosted by Chris Anderson and WIRED Live at the New York Public Library.

Our work with WIRED also included four years of collaborating on WIRED NextFest, two of which were in Chicago, 2005 in Navy Pier and 2008 in Millennium Park.  In 2005 we worked with the City of Chicago on bringing NextFest to Chicago, and helped coordinate the launch of a UN/FAO initiative called “The Growing Connection”, that was focused on teaching 10-15 year old kids around the world how to grow food, but, more importantly, using technology as the way to do so.  In 2006 we expanded that project to New York City by working with WIRED, General Motors and the Cornell Cooperative Extension on the design and build of an indoor cornfield, but, outsourced the growing of the corn to schools and Police Athletic League Buildings in Harlem, Queens and the South Bronx.

In 2008, we met the team from Alinea, while they were working on self-publishing the cookbook – and spent the next three years from 2008-201o working with them on a number of interactive media projects including the design and development of the companion website for the cookbook.  We also worked with WIRED and Alinea to produce the release event for the Alinea book in Millennium Park in Chicago, during WIRED NextFest in 2008.

Throughout this time, we continued our work with Wilco including the design and development of one of the first artist iPhone apps, which we co-developed with Roundarch, and the inaugural Solid Sound Festival, a three-day festival of music and art, curated and hosted by the band at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in 2010.

Since 2004 we have been connecting our interests in the food to our other interests and have been working with non-profits and for profits in the areas of education, technology and environmental sustainability and in 2011 created e.a.t. a non-profit organization that is focused on strengthening local food systems through improving food literacy and food access through the innovative use of technology.

We have had the opportunity to work with a number of great people, artists and companies over the past 15 years, to find our more about what we do, and if there’s something we can do for you, please send us an e-mail at: dome@smartleydunn.com.