By now you’ve probably heard about our friend Jonathan Coulton’s podcast interview with NPR’s Planet money, in which his career and success were more or less written off as a “fluke”, and was smugly labeled a “Snuggie” by Frannie Kelley of NPR’s music blog The Record. If you haven’t, follow the links to get up to speed and share the outrage.
I am not writing today to defend Jonathan, or to argue against Planet Money’s assessment of the internet’s effect on the music industry. Jonathan has already done both of those things earlier today in magna cum laude fashion in a blog post.
Instead I’m going to focus on Jonathan’s idea that ALL musicians are Snuggies:
Do you know who else is a Snuggie? Nirvana, Ben Folds, Madonna, and the Grateful Dead. You have to do something new and unique and valuable in order to get anyone’s attention in this business, in fact that’s sort of the point…It has always been about winning the lottery, and it has always been about being a Snuggie.
While his main point is spot-on, it doesn’t mean that all bands are Snuggies per se. Jonathan himself implies that a more apt metaphor for his creative content would be an iPhone or a Mini Cooper. I agree. Although there is a Snuggie-like novelty aspect to some of his music, Jonathan’s fit, finish, and hipness factor is much more aligned with the aforementioned niche brands.
So with the heavy intellectual lifting already covered by others, the question becomes: what brands or products best represent which musicians? Here’s a short list to get you started:
- Presidents of the United States of America: Slim Jims. Spicy and fun. Probably not very good for you, but who cares?
- “Weird Al” Yankovic: LEGO. Fun, can take on any form, high quality, and has been enjoyed for generations.
- Nickelback: Domino’s Pizza. A lot of people like it, but I’ve never quite figured out why.
- They Might Be Giants: ThinkGeek. clever, eye- (ear-) catching, ever-evolving, and often useful in real-life situations.
- Lady Gaga: The Bedazzler. Flashy, trashy, and quasi-arty. And the number of new looks you get are nearly limitless.
- Justin Bieber: Fruit Roll-ups. Sickly-sweet, available everywhere, and don’t you dare even JOKE about taking it away from a kid who likes it.
And if anyone’s a Snuggie, it’s probably yours trulies, Paul and Storm. Or more accurately because of our high quality (I hope), a Slanket. A Siamese Slanket, to be precise.
In other words, Nickelback tastes the same as a box. Makes sense to me!
Or that playing the liner notes is indistinguishable from playing their CD.