Magazine article The New Yorker

Price Point

Magazine article The New Yorker

Price Point

Article excerpt

This past year, Jill Sobule was in the news more for a song she didn't write than for any of the songs she has written. Katy Perry's pop hit "I Kissed a Girl" shared a title (but little else) with Sobule's 1995 quirk-pop landmark, and Sobule spent much of the year fielding questions about the song that ranged from the well-meaning to the misinformed. The "I Kissed a Girl" hoopla obscured another, more interesting story, which was that Sobule, who had been dropped from two labels and saw two others fold while she was under contract, became one of the first artists to deal creatively with the collapse of the traditional music business.

Her new album, "California Years" (Pinko Records), is one of the first releases to be funded by listener anticipation. Sobule set up a Web site and asked her fans to contribute to her upcoming project. The funding was tiered: a ten-dollar donation bought a digital download of the album; a hundred-dollar donation brought a hard copy of the CD, a "Junior Executive Producer" T-shirt, and a mention in the liner notes; a five-hundred-dollar donation earned mention in a song. There was even a ten-thousand-dollar level that would let a fan sing on the record. …

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