Check out a thought-provoking TED presentation from Johanna Blakley on how low IP industries like fashion outperform high IP industries (music/books) in both innovation and sales (thanks @guilhermeviotti).

It’s likely that you’ve heard of Jonathan Coulton. Profiled by NPR and the New York Times, Coulton has been a full time independent musician since he quit his computer programming gig in 2005. After initiating an ambitious project of releasing a new song a week, Coulton started to gain momentum, making what he described as “a reasonable middle-class living” — between $3,000 and $5,000 a month — by selling CDs and digital downloads of his work on his own site and iTunes.

Coulton is prolific in his conversations with his fans online, spending time each day personally answering every email he receives. While his direct to fan approach to sales and marketing includes a partnership with CD Baby (who warehouse and ship his physical CD, as well as get his music to the online retailers like iTunes and Amazon), Coulton’s most lucrative source of income is selling online from his Website.

Check out an audio interview that Scott Kirsner, author of the new book, Fans, Friends & Followers, did with Jonathan Coulton. Interesting ideas on communicating with fans, how Jonathan is using Creative Commons, his primary sources of revenue, his trepidation about signing to a label, and more.

Pay particular attention to Coulton’s recipe for success:

• Solo artist = low overhead when touring
• Records in a home studio = low production costs
• Distributes most of his music digitally = no co-op fees at retail, lower distribution fee
• Fosters a direct connection to his fans = fans are more emotionally involved in what he does
• Few middlemen involved in the chain = most of his income is his alone

Check out the audio interview here:

I’m not sure if it is because I had a bumper sticker on my car in the 90s that read “I am funkier than you,” but 5 of my friends have sent me the video below. I would imagine it is unlikely that the fellow who created this mashup received permission from the copyright holders, but the “Mother of all Funk Chords” is a fantastic example of creating something entirely new and extraordinary from divergent original sources. From a marketing standpoint, this piece is great for the remixer, Kutiman, and because Kutiman lists the source material on his site, the original creators of the music could benefit as well.

Lessig on Colbert

Jan 10 2009

Tough to get much out of this entertaining interview. Learn more about Lessig’s thoughts on copyright and the free licenses and other legal tools that his Creative Commons entity provides to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, here.

You might be familiar with Lawrence Lessig as a long-time advocate for copyright reform and information freedom, and as the founder and architect of Creative Commons, a non-profit organization dedicated to grassroots copyright reform through the means of providing free tools to all content creators to mark their creative work with the freedoms they want their work to carry.

Lessig gave a speech in March for www.Ted.com (the site is amazing, I recommend you check it out), where he talks about the history of the battles over the control of creativity, and the balance that he feels is needed between extremists on both sides of the copyright law fence. This is essential viewing. Check it out here: