Charles Basenga Kiyanda

6 month challenge, part 3: Jonathan Coulton

I’m 4 days late, sorry, I’ve been preparing my preliminary exam and haven’t had much time to update. This week’s (well last week’s) artist is Jonathan Coulton. I’ve actually known about Jonathan Coulton for quite a while, so this is a little bit of cheating, but I was keeping his site and music for a rainy day, when I wouldn’t have much time to find a new group. I guess this day has come. Coulton is sort of an internet sensation, since he’s released “Code Monkey” (and I actually like it quite a lot too!) and started linking to videos people have made about it. Coulton actually started a contest with another one of his songs “I feel fantastic” which, if you feel like having an annoying, catchy tune stuck in your head for a week, just put it on repeat 2-3 times in a row.

Coulton’s music distribution method is to let you listen to all the songs on his website in the music section. You can also download (as a no nonsense non-drm’ed mp3) a selection of his songs from his site. You can buy all the other songs directly from his site. [From the New York Times article linked to below, it appears that one can also buy CDs, although I’ve never seen such a thing. I know Coulton only through ‘the tubes’.] In addition that that though, he posts online pretty much all the lyrics and most of the chords to his creations, so you can play them yourself if you’d like. His original creations are also licensed as creative commons (specifically CC-by-nc, so you can take his songs and play with them, remix them if you want, so long as you credit him and don’t make money off of it).

Coulton is not part of a big label. Until recently (2 years ago it turns out), he was a coding engineer by day, but now he makes all his money from his art: from shows, selling stuff (like t-shirts) and music (mostly sold on his website) and also from licensing (and recording) songs for different type of media. He recorded, not long ago, a song for the end of ‘Portal’, an extenstion of some sort of computer game I personally don’t know anything about.

If you’d like to appreciate Coulton’s dedication and relationship to his fans, here’s a really good 2007 article from the New York Times.

Enjoy discovering Jonathan Coulton and tune back this weekend for installment 3 of the 6 months challenge!

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