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.
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.