NYTimes: Sex, Drugs and Updating Your Blog

Good article by Clive Thompson in today’s NYTimes magazine on how social media (MySpace, YouTube, etc) has changed the financial, artistic and emotional connection that musicians have with their fans.

Choice parts:

“his [Jonathan Coulton] fans do not want merely to buy his music. They want to be his friend. And that means they want to interact with him all day long online.”

“More than 50 fans have created music videos using his music and posted them on YouTube; at a recent gig, half of the audience members I spoke to had originally come across his music via one of these fan-made videos.”

“In total, 41 percent of Coulton’s income is from digital-music sales, three-quarters of which are sold directly off his own Web site. Another 29 percent of his income is from CD sales; 18 percent is from ticket sales for his live shows. The final 11 percent comes from T-shirts, often bought online.”

“He has thus developed an ear for what he calls “the perfect MySpace song” — a tune that is immediately catchy, yet not necessarily the strongest from his forthcoming album. For him, being a musician is rather like being a business manager, memoirist and group therapist rolled into one, with a politician’s thick hide to boot.”