Each week, we here at EPIC FU highlight someone or something who is giving the ultimate FU to the status-quo. This week, the FU of the Week is being served by Jonathan Coulton, the former computer programmer turned Geek Rockstar.
In 2005, Jonathan stopped writing software and started writing song lyrics. He immediately tapped into his online roots and decided to release a song a week for an entire year as free downloads on his site. The combination of the web's love of free things and Jonathan's readiness to take creative risks turned the experiment into a crazy success. The project, called Thing a Week, garnered a legion of loyal fans, who are now the core of his online community and continue to fuel his music career.
One of the more popular songs to come out of the year-long project was Code Monkey, a semi-autobiographical song about the life of a programmer. The song has produced fan-made music videos and mashups, dance interpretations, and became the intro music to G4TV's 8-bit animation series. One of his other songs Still Alive, was included as a playable song in Rock Band.
Jonathan is one of the first of a new generation of musicians who truly know the value of web. It's not just about selling music and putting a few concert photos up. People flock to the web to communicate, and Jonathan encourages that two-way interaction and community-building with his fan base. The new rock star is not about pretending to be a rock star so that a label would sign you, now it's about saying "hey, I'm just a guy trying to make a living doing this." And of course, it's about having the talent to be able to back that up, which Jonathan has in spades.