1:37pm

Mon May 23, 2011
Planet Money

Jonathan Coulton: Madonna's A Snuggie, Too

In our Friday podcast, guest host Frannie Kelly of NPR Music compared Jonathan Coulton to a Snuggie, arguing that his success was a fluky thing that would be hard for other musicians to replicate.

Coulton responded today in a post on his website. Here's an excerpt:

...leaving aside the pejorative nature of the comparison, I think it's accurate in some respects, in that a Snuggie is a new thing that somebody invented and marketed and sold to enormous success. Do you know who else is a Snuggie? Nirvana, Ben Folds, Madonna, and the Grateful Dead. ...

"Writing a song that gets discovered on Slashdot" is not a business model, any more than "putting sleeves on a blanket" is a business model. It is a thing that happened to me, that part is true, but it's not really much of a strategy. I make songs that are good and then I sell them (and concert tickets, and Tshirts) to the people who want them – that's my business model, and it's patently obvious that it's replicable because I stole it from every other recording artist in the world. ...

I can't believe I have to point this out, but there are plenty of artists making music and using unique and creative promotional techniques to sell it directly to fans (say it with me, won't you?): Trent Reznor, Radiohead, Amanda Palmer, Paul and Storm, Marian Call, OK Go, MC Frontalot, MC Lars, the list goes on and on and gets larger every day. ...

I truly believe that the sooner we all acknowledge the internet is not actually killing art, the sooner we can get back to making things that are awesome. Now is a better time to be a musician, or a fan of music, than any other time in all of human history. ...

For more, see the Twitter discussion of Friday's podcast, and read the full post at Coulton's website. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.