The Friday Podcast: Is This Man A Snuggie?

Originally published on May 22, 2012 10:58 am

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.

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