An Intimate Chat with Tech Pioneer, Thomas Dolby


I was lucky enough, recently, to share a Fireside Chat with the Iconic ’80s electronic music and MTV pioneer, Thomas Dolby. I’m fortunate to have known Thomas personally and professionally, for almost 20 years now. Most recognized for his hit, “She Blinded Me with Science,” from the 80’s, Thomas Dolby is much more than a recording artist, he’s also a Producer and the Music Director for the prestigious TED Conference since 2001, for which he has received much visibility and credibility.

As most music lovers will know, Thomas retired from music to hit Silicon Valley as one of the inventors of musical ringtone technology for cell phones with his company Beatnik Inc. A few years ago he returned to his native England to follow his passion for renewable energy and built a solar-powered studio aboard a 1930s lifeboat in the garden of his beach house on England’s North Sea coast.

Thomas Dolby is STILL leading the tech revolution, most recently with his interactive game, Floating City, which reacts to player contributions, eventually granting access to Thomas’ newest music.  Floating City is unlike so many high tech games because it consciously fosters community and involvement, not solitude.

A Map of the FloatingCity is a travelogue across three imaginary continents: In Amerikana he reflects with affection on the years spent living in the U.S.A., and his fascination with its roots music. (See to what degree at Urbanoia is more dark, with Dolby himself calling it, “a little unsettling.” In the third continent, Oceanea, there’s a return to Dolby’s natural home on the windswept coastline.

Floating City is digital tech at its best, using it as a platform and portal through which to offer new music, music that has touchstones to Dolby’s past but definitely brings some exciting new and unexpected musical turns — and not all of them involving his signature electronica.

Tune in for my one-on-one chat with Dolby and hear what inspired him to enter gaming tech and how it creates this connection to music with his fans, and how they have turned into an army of brand advocates, completely leveraging web 3.0 on Dolby’s behalf.

This is digital technology at its best!

Published by

Kelli Richards

Kelli Richards is a recognized thought-leader in digital music and entertainment with deep expertise in digital distribution and branded content, as well as working with a plethora of luminaries and innovators. She drove music and entertainment initiatives at Apple for 10 years, and helped to birth a whole new consumer movement around disruptive technologies & emerging business models. As President of The All Access Group, she has worked closely with a wide range of start-ups, Fortune 100 companies, and established artists and industry leaders alike as a sought-after strategic consultant for the past 15 years.

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