“The music may be built on a groove, but the song grows out of the band—-three university students and what political theorist Antonio Gramsci would have called “an organic intellectual,” Dave Allen—-wrestling with a problem or concept or insight.”
— from the book Gang of Four's Entertainment! by Kevin J. H. Dettmar, W. M. Keck Professor of English at Pomona College.
“Dave Allen is a formidable commentator these days on all things Internet, a sort of web 2.0 version of Marshall McLuhan: less New Age than Jaron Lanier, less Sun Microsystems than Bill Joy, less corporate than Mark Zuckerberg. There is a fierceness to him—he strikes first and warms up later—that makes him perfect for the job.”
— Rick Moody novelist, musician, writer

Who I am:

I am a long-term blogger, an essayist, teacher and professional musician - I am the founding member and bass player for Gang of Four and Shriekback. For two and a half decades I have been involved with internet music technology and its effects on musicians and music fans, both as a critic and a supporter.

I joined the University of Oregon, Eugene, in December 2010 as an Adjunct Lecturer teaching Digital Brand Strategy.  In September 2012, I joined the Pacific Northwest College of Art as a Visiting Lecturer teaching Digital Strategy in the Continuing Education program. In September 2013 I began teaching Digital Strategy and Interactive Design concepts as the Assistant Professor in Communication Design in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at the request of Martin French, the PNCA Chair of Design Arts, Associate Professor in Illustration, Thesis.

In early February 2014 I joined Beats Music as Director, Artist and Music Industry Advocacy. Beats Music is an arm of the headphones company Beats By Dre. In August 2014, after Apple acquired the Beats company, I became an Apple employee as a member of the Apple Music Artist Relations team.

This site was built to house all of my online essays and articles written since 2004 ... the site is a living project that will be updated with past writings as I scour the web to find them - and bring them home as it were. It's a daunting task as, of course, I never kept a tidy folder documenting where they have all been published. Anyway, in short, I am curious; I think about stuff, then I write about it.

A brief history: 

I leapt into the public eye in England in 1978 as one half of the greatest post-punk rhythm sections (or so I'm told): the engine room of Gang of Four. I am the bass player, Hugo Burnham is the drummer. He's one of my best friends. I've known him for more than 30 years. After two albums - Entertainment! and Solid Gold - I left the band in 1981 to form Shriekback with Barry Andrews. We were soon joined by Carl Marsh. We had fun.

I moved to Los Angeles in 1989 and started my own independent record label, World Domination, an arm of Capitol Records.

In 1993, thanks to my friend Jason Fiber who I had hired to manage my label, and of course Marc Andreessen, I discovered the wonders of the Internet.

In 1994 my record label, World Domination, in partnership with IUMA.com broadcast one of the world's first live rock shows over the Internet.

In 1998 I became General Manager of eMusic.com

In 1999 I moved to Portland, OR and joined the Intel Corporation as a business director in the Consumer Digital Audio Services operation.

In 2003 I joined the Overland Agency and became president of Overland Entertainment.

In 2005 I started Pampelmoose.com and also joined Nemo Design as Director, Insights & Digital Media.

In 2009 I formed Fight, a digital brand strategy agency, with two partners.

In 2010 I joined NORTH, a brand engagement agency as Director, Digital Strategy. 

In the Fall of 2010 I joined the University of Oregon as an Adjunct Lecturer, leading a class in Digital Brand Strategy under Professor Deborah K. Morrison, Chambers Distinguished Professor of Advertising.

In September 2012 I joined the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, as a Visiting Lecturer in CE program, and in September 2013 I began teaching in the the BFA program.

In early February 2014 I joined Beats Music as Director, Artist and Music Industry Advocacy.

Apple purchased Beats by Dre in mid-2014 and I joined the Apple Music, Artists Relations team. I left Apple on March 4 2017 and returned to NORTH to create NORTH Music.



I love speaking in public, especially to young people. I share what I know, they teach me, we learn from each other. They will change everything. That's because they will make good things. Trust me.

"I believe that when people talk about solving problems with technology, what they're usually talking about is solving problems with design...which is to say, the application of psychology in a visual & functional context." - Jason Kottke