Pomplamoose: Making A Living Without A CD Or A Label

from the diy-awesomeness dept

A month or so ago, a friend started sending me the Pomplamoose videos on YouTube, and now I keep seeing them. It’s basically two people — Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte — covering famous songs by playing and singing all the parts themselves, and them cutting them together into very well done videos that, in some cases, have millions of views. Quentin Hartman writes in to let us know of a WSJ blog post about the band, noting that despite having been contacted by a bunch of major labels, they’re leaning towards staying independent, noting that “We’re making a living off our album sales and we don’t even have a physical CD.” And, yes, this is even though you can watch all the band’s music for free, such as their covers of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” or Michael Jackson’s “Beat It:

Now, of course, there will be some who will insist that there is nothing creative in covering someone else’s songs, and those folks will never be convinced that this is incredibly creative, but for the rest of us, why not enjoy some incredibly creative song making — and the artists who are making a living even without going down the path of having to deal with fictional royalty statements from a major label.

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Comments on “Pomplamoose: Making A Living Without A CD Or A Label”

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Robert Ring (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Nothing said they aren’t selling music; they just said that they don’t have any _physical_ CDs, and their music is available online for free. They likely have mp3s or something like that of their music on a website, aside from their YouTube videos, which are obviously free.

Don’t know about royalties — I don’t know the laws of such things. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t paying any royalties.

Brian (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They are selling music via something called the internet. Its that other sales medium the record labels don’t want to acknowledge about 98% of the time unless its to attack it and say how much harm its causing.
As far as royalties go I would imagine the way the are making the songs would probably be considered fair use of some sort.

And being profitable doesn’t jive with the labels that’s why they want to try and get them to sign a contract 😛

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Nope, just not very creative. Playing someone’s elses music often requires incredible talent and skill, but it isn’t the most creative concept. You guys always make the mistake of confusing SKILL with CREATIVITY.

If you guys can’t get the basics, it’s not surprising that you pretty much can’t get the rest either.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Why are you so obsessed with originality? If some can make a variation on another’s creativity than how is this a bad thing?

Does every artist have to be 100% original or else they’re just not artists?

What if they’re only original 50% of the time? How about 20%? What if, when they’re stealing, sorry, copying another’s creativity that they find inspiration for their own original creations?

Art is very malleable. And it takes no skill to make or create art. It helps but you don’t really need it.

incredibly says:

Think there’s a bit of knee-jerk “techdirt perspective” in the refusal by Mike and some commenters to admit that covering music isn’t terribly creative, and to downplay the value of originality. I don’t think there is anything inherently WRONG with covers, but unless you’re Hendrix playing All Along the Watchtower, it usually is inferior. This is not an exception.

‘Sides… how can you assert that playing music written by someone else is “incredibly creative”? I mean ok, maybe somewhat creative in the multi-instrument/filming approach or something… but “incredibly” creative? Really? Setting the bar pretty low there.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I once seen that Beyoncé sing some Aretha Franklin song, I mean, what an untalented hack!

Artists who copy other artists are not creative. Certainly not incredibly creative.

I once seen David Bowie sing some Beatles song. God! How unoriginal it was. David Bowie could do better. We shouldn’t sing songs that we didn’t write ourselves.

It’s so unoriginal and art isn’t anything like that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yawn, a very boring argument.

Beyonce? How many of her own songs has she written? Get back to me on that.

As for David Bowie, well, he is a VERY creative artist who has a huge body of very creating work. If he wants to spend a little time singing someone else’s song from time to time (which is ARTISTIC, but not CREATIVE) he more than welcome to do it. After all, we all know him as a very CREATIVE person when he wants to be.

The point is that this Grapefruit duo (that’s the their name in french) are doing covered that may be artistic, but they aren’t very creative. There is a huge difference between the two points.

Nice attempt though to kill an argument by broad brushing, too bad you are just being a troll.

wiley (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You can’t knock people doing covers. An Pomplamoose does it superbly with their own, quite creative, touch. All artists had teachers. We learn to do everything and even to talk through imitation and then we give it our own flavor. Even the Beatles did covers. Take a look at this impressive list of their covers by year:

My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, When The Saints Go Marching In , Nobody’s Child, Why (Can’t You Love Me Again), (If You Love Me Baby) Take Out Some Insurance On Me , Ain’t She Sweet

Money, ‘Till There Was You, The Sheik Of Araby, To Know Her Is To Love Her, Take Good Care Of My Baby, Memphis, Tennessee, Sure To Fall, Three Cool Cats,
Crying, Waiting, Hopin, September In The Rain, Besame Mucho, Searchin’, A Taste Of Honey, Anna, Boys, Chains, Baby It’s You, Twist And Shout, From Me To You

You Really Got A Hold On Me, Money (That’s What I Want), Devil In Her Heart, Till There Was You, Please Mr Postman, Roll Over Beethoven

Long Tall Sally, Matchbox, Slow Down, Mr Moonlight, Kansas City, Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby, Rock And Roll Music, Words Of Love, Honey Don’t

Dizzy Miss Lizzy
Bad Boy
Act Naturally

Maggie Mae

W4RM4N (profile) says:

The Way I See it

To me, it seems obvious that Pomplamoose created video covers to attract attention. Once they achieved that, you were introduced to their own original works.

This is no different from an up and coming band playing covers, mixed with their original works, to attract a certain fan base. You, as the fan, associate with the cover, and then will most likely pay closer attention to the bands original works. Am I missing something?

Adam (user link) says:

They write their own songs.

It seems the implication here is that Jack and Nataly are cover artists (unoriginal/etc) – I’d like to point out that they have just as many original songs as they do covers.


Keep in mind that they release all of their cover songs for FREE. They’re only charging for their original works… which are quite good and certainly original.

Dave (profile) says:

great entertainers

These guys are some of the most original and passionate artists I’ve seen in a long time. They make you feel excited and connect with you through their videos in a way that most traditional artists have a difficult time doing.

I’ll put it this way, I enjoyed their videos more than the last live concert. I went to. They’ve hit on a great idea and I hope more up and coming artists follow suit.

I encourage you to check out all of their covers, they’re mostly classic songs that you’ll have a difficult time not liking. Their original stuff is pretty good too.

stanother says:

nice to look at

They are very creative. I’m no music expert (that’s your opening) but if the videos weren’t so fun to watch and Nataly so cute, the music is just mediocre. They obviously really enjoy what they do and believe in the music and that’s why they so intriguing. But I don’t think they’d be so successfull if they only tried to cell a CD with no visual component. JMHO.

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