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How Jonathan Coulton Became An Internet Rock Star On The Cheap

Jonathan Coulton quit his programming job in 2005 to become a full-time musician. He's met with some tangible success and this month shared his budget conscious approach in, of all places, Popular Science. Here are the highlights:

  • Jonathan Coulton "...you've got a more advanced recording studio in your laptop than the Beatles had when they made Sgt. Pepper's, so record your music yourself."
  • "Skip the cookie-cutter MySpace stuff and get a full-fledged content-management system like WordPress or Drupal, which will allow you to build your empire as you go: a blog, forums, photos, videos -- all in one place that you control."
  • "If you don't know HTML or PHP, find a sucker. . . er, a fan to build it for you."
  • "Create merchandise on demand with CafePress, Spreadshirt or Zazzle to avoid buying boxes of T-shirts that'll sit in your basement."
  • "..for $4 each, CD Baby will store, sell, and ship your discs. It will also push your music to digital outlets like iTunes and Amazon MP3."
  • "...use eventful.com, which lets people request a show in their town. Why slog from city to city in an old van unless you know you're going to sell some tickets?"
  • "Promote yourself on Twitter, broadcast live shows on Ustream"
  • "Send out a million pieces of yourself to interact with potential fans. If they're out there, they'll find you -- and hopefully sometime after that, give you money."

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