NPR logo

Is This Man A Snuggie?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/136496085/136503870" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Is This Man A Snuggie?

Trade

Is This Man A Snuggie?

Is This Man A Snuggie?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/136496085/136503870" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Photos by Stannate and mynameisbluecanary via Flickr . hide caption

toggle caption
.

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.

Article continues after sponsorship

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.