WASHINGTON – In these days of free and inexpensive digital downloads, the former singer-songwriter of Soul Coughing is offering fans a one-of-a-kind recording that will exist only on their digital playlist.
Mike Doughty will sing “Dogs/Demons” on a portable voice recorder, and will mail you the actual recorder with the song on it. He will also sign and date it to prove it’s authenticity, and speak the buyer’s name and recording location on the track.
The collector’s item costs $543.09, and he will add an optional bridge for $267.08.
“I wanted to do something bizarre,” he says of the project.
“These days a song is cheaper than a candy bar,” says Doughty. “With this, you have the only copy in the world. I don’t even keep a copy.”
Doughty promises the song will remain exclusive to fans willing to pay for a version.
“It’ll never be on a record. It’ll never be played at a show,” he says.
Doughty offers a short sample of the song on his website. It is available in C, D or D-sharp.
“I record them wherever I happen to be – my house, hotel rooms on tour, anyplace,” Doughty says.
The price goes way up if fans want Doughty to read a message they’ve created.
“Personal messages are $35,335.53,” he says. “It’s meant to be weird, but if you want to pony up the money, I’ll definitely say ‘Merry Christmas, Fencing Coach’ or whatever.”
Doughty says he arrived at his pricing after speaking with painters.
“They said, ‘You need to charge $1,500 bucks or nobody will take you seriously,'” he says.
Doughty acknowledges he’s only half-serious, and calls it “an art prank as much as it is an actual piece of art.”
“It’s funny, but it’s real,” he says.
With digital downloads currently costing $.99, Doughty says the price may seem a bit steep for fans.
“I definitely have not sold a lot,” he says. “This thing’s not going platinum.”
Doughty says he hasn’t noticed the song changing dramatically during the time he’s been performing it in this fashion.
“Every performance is different, just by the nature of the little vagaries of the universe,” he says. “Things evolve over time.”