Jonathan Coulton on charges his success isn’t replicable

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. We are successful to varying degrees and we have different ways of doing things, some of us came from labels, went to labels, or eschewed labels entirely, but we are all participating in the same basic re-jiggering of the spreadsheet. I obviously don’t know the details of everyone’s business, but I’m guessing that we have this one thing in common: we’ve all decided that it’s fine with us if we reach fewer people as long as we reach them more directly. The revolution in the music industry (which has already happened by the way) is one of efficiency, and it means that success is now possible on a much smaller scale. Nobody has to sell out Madison Square Garden anymore to make a living.

And that is the point. That is what’s inarguably different today because of the internet. We now have an entirely new set of contexts and they come with a whole new set of tools that give us cheap and easy access to all of them–niche has gone mainstream.

Read the whole post, it makes a lot of great points. Also, love the line “That’s like saying the Beatles won the British Invasion lottery.”

SOCY 398D – Lady Gaga and the Sociology of the Fame – Professor Mathieu Deflem (University of South Carolina)

Objectives: This lecture-based course introduces students to a sociological analysis of selected social issues related to the career of Lady Gaga. Specifically, within a framework of the sociology of popular culture and music, this course focuses on societal elements in the rise of Lady Gaga???s popularity to her global status as a pop music icon. The central objective of this course, then, is to unravel some of the sociologically relevant dimensions of the fame of Lady Gaga. Specific attention in this analysis will be devoted to the role of: business and marketing; the old and the new media; fans and live shows; gay culture; religious and political themes; sex and sexuality; and the city of New York.