Is The Internet Good For Musicians? Listen To Us Tangle Things Up For Planet Money

Originally published on July 31, 2013 12:33 pm

Earlier this week we linked to a story by our colleague Alex Blumberg at Planet Money. It was about a guy who writes and records songs that he sells on his website, the kind of story that has become more and more common as basic home recording equipment and the Internet have allowed musicians to sidestep the traditional record labels. Only the success of this guy that Alex talked to, Jonathan Coulton, isn't common at all. Last year he made nearly half a million dollars. For Coulton, that success is an argument not only that he's better off working independent of a label, but that the Internet can be a unqualified positive influence on the life and well-being of a musician.

Today's Planet Money podcast is an extended version of that story, and because he's a swell guy, Alex invited us on to talk about the implications of what Coulton was able to do. Because we are who we are, we took his elegant story and tangled up the narrative something good. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Is Coulton a bellwether of a new era? Is he a trailblazer? Is his success a freakish coincidence of luck and circumstance? Is he a genius? Or is he a Snuggie?

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