Musician Mike Doughty Offers Unique Copy Of His New Song, Personalized To Each Buyer, For $543.09

from the well,-that's-an-idea dept

Mike Doughty, a frequently awesome musician who may mostly be known for his work in the band Soul Coughing (though his solo work after that is even better), has always been known for creative attempts at navigating the new music world. He’s frequently said that the original Napster saved his career and he’s been willing to embrace new media and new models in the same somewhat experimental way that he crafts music. The latest offering is somewhere between a business model experiment and performance art (and, honestly, when the two blend together, that’s often a good thing). He’s written a song called “Dogs/Demons” which is not being released on any album or online in any manner. The only way to get it is to pay $543.09 and he’ll record you an entirely personalized performance directly into a voice recorder and send it to you. You can pick which of 3 different keys he’ll record it in, there’s an optional bridge for an additional $267.18 (you know you want it), and at the beginning of the song, he’ll state the date, time, location, the recording number and “the full first, middle, and last name of the person who orders it.” The voice recorder itself will also be signed and numbered.

In the FAQ, he makes it clear that the full name is absolutely required:

Q: I’m going to put a weird fake name in there, like Hoobop Skibbyskabby Lorbowl–will you say it?

A: No. Essential to this piece is the actual, full name of the person who purchases it. If your name is indeed along the lines of “Hoobop Skibbyskabby Lorbowl,” you may be asked to provide documentation proving this is indeed your name.

Q: I hate my middle name! Will you omit it from my recording of “Dogs/Demons”?

A: Again, essential to this piece is the real, three-part name. If you have no middle name you may be asked to provide documentation; the same goes for multiple-middle-name possessors.

Q: I’d like the name of my friend, colleague, or partner said on my version of “Dogs/Demons,” as well as my own name, can you do that?

A: Alas, no: only one name can be in each recording.

As for buyers, he notes that they can “sell it to somebody else for more than you paid for it–you can auction it off, you can exhibit it. All that stuff.” Though, he makes it clear that he still retains the copyright, he also notes “there will doubtless be some sold person-to-person, or bootlegged, and I accept this as the nature of the world.”

He admits that he’s more or less copying the idea of artist Ray Johnson as shown in the documentary How to Draw a Bunny.

While it’s certainly not the best way to get that particular song heard widely, as part of a continuing strategy to draw attention for doing some unique things (and, who knows, maybe make some money in the process), it seems like an amusing experiment.

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Comments on “Musician Mike Doughty Offers Unique Copy Of His New Song, Personalized To Each Buyer, For $543.09”

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21 Comments
out_of_the_blue says:

Okay, more reason to hate Napster...

“He’s frequently said that the original Napster saved his career…”

Since he’s retaining copyright, then by Techdirt notions, he can’t possibly succeed.

Take a moment for Mike “Streisand Effect” Masnick and click:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect
Actual unsolicited testimonial: “Until I read Techdirt.com, I didn’t know what shameless self-promotion was!”

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Because Science!

It’s called experimentation, where someone will try something out to see if it works. Sometimes it will, sometimes it won’t, only way to find out though is to test it.

The ‘novelty’ bit also explains why they don’t just keep doing the same thing over and over; while something may be interesting and draw fans in the first time it happens, the draw will be less and less the more often it’s repeated, hence, they change up what they try.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m not that big on Mike Doughty, but i do like Soul Coughing a little bit..

the whole “it must be your real name” kinda turns me off, as does the “if you have a weird name, prove it” along with the “prove you have 2 middle names” malarky. If people are paying $530 for one song, shouldn’t they be able to name themselves whatever the fuck they want for that price? hes recording a song, not speaking under oath.

I’d pass. even if i was a huge fan.

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