Trade

Is This Man A Snuggie?

Photos by Stannate and mynameisbluecanary via Flickr

hide captionPhotos by Stannate and mynameisbluecanary via Flickr

.

Jonathan Coulton is a rock star for geeks.

He used to work as a computer programmer. Now he writes songs about white-collar zombies and lovesick programmers.

He doesn't have a record label, but he makes about $500,000 a year from his music. He tours, licenses his music, and sells songs and merch from his bare-bones website.

On today's Planet Money, we talk to Coulton about his work.

Jacob Ganz and Frannie Kelley from NPR Music are our special-guest co-hosts. The core question: Is Coulton a fluke, or is he a new model of how to make a living as a musician?

Frannie and Jacob think his success is something of a fluke. Jacob says he hit the "lottery of the Internet." Frannie says:

It's good for him, and it's not that good for everybody else. ... He's kind of like a Snuggie. He's a blanket with sleeves. We didn't know we wanted it, and then all of a sudden we did. And we were willing to pay a dollar and send it to all our friends.

For more:

Read our post on Coulton, "An Internet Rock Star Tells All"

And check out The Record, a blog from NPR Music.

Subscribe to the podcast. Music: Jonathan Coulton's "Skullcrusher Mountain," "Re Your Brains," "Shop Vac," and "Dance, Soterios Johnson, Dance." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: