Artificial Heart – Questions and Answers

By JoCo September 10, 2011

As you may have heard through various channels, Artificial Heart is now available for purchase. It’s a very exciting time for all of us! Thank you for all of your positive feedback and excitement about it. I’ve been living alone with it so long that I had begun to really go crazy not being able to share it with you all. Now that we can all listen to it, I feel complete again.

Many of you have been asking questions, and it seems that some of these questions have been asked more frequently than others. I’m going to take a look at these “QAFs” (Questions that are Asked Frequently) in the paragraphs to follow, and hopefully answer a few of them for you.

Here is the general plan: the album is for sale in its entirety right now through my website as a digital download in a format of your choosing. There are also some special bundles containing various physical objects. I am working on putting it in iTunes and all sorts of other digital stores even as we speak. I don’t have an ETA except to say that it will happen as soon as it is physically possible. Top men are working on it. Top. Men. I don’t have a specific list of the digital stores, but chances are the answer to your question that starts “Will it be available in [SOME ONLINE STORE]…” would be “Yes,” were you to ask it of me.

The bundles will be available for a limited time (more on this in a second). I wanted to do these initial offerings because: 1) I was tired of waiting for the gears to turn on the non direct sales side, let’s do this thing already! 2) I liked the idea of trying to cover the expenses of making this thing early on, so that I could maybe begin to relax – kind of a backwards Kickstarter strategy, and 3) I think it’s fun and exciting to have a special, celebratory moment at the beginning of this album’s life. In particular the level four participation and the various plans I have for it have become a fun creative play space for me. This is not a concept album per se, but it’s got some strong thematic undercurrents that are fun to mess with, hence the logo, the motto, the symbols, the evaluation questions, and other things yet to be revealed.

I do not always want to be in the business of direct physical sales, so I’m going to sell these things for a while and then stop. The CD and the Artificial Heart Shirt will be available for purchase after that, but these specific bundles, the signed CD, and all the other stuff that comes with Level Four will only be around for a little while – let’s say through the end of September, or while supplies last. Judging from the trend so far, I will make 1,000 of these and that will be all.

I actually had a meeting last week with the people who are making and assembling all the Level Four packages, and let’s just say we got plans – cool stuff is going to be in there, and it’s going to look great and satisfy you in that fuzzy, collector’s item kind of way.

Thank you all for the overwhelming support you have shown me over the years, even when I was not writing anything at all, but especially now as I publish what is really my first substantial new work since Thing a Week (eep). I hope you are enjoying listening to it as much as I enjoyed making it.


Kris Ratcliffe says

Album is wonderful and deserving of a shirt purchase. I could pull off that yellow.

Also, a quick question. Nobody Loves you Like Me is pretty haunting. Any backstory to what it's about? Your post on the technical side of it only explained how you'd captured ghosts in your iThingie, and i'd love to know where the song came from.

Thomas says

I love the album JoCo. It's been playing on repeat in my truck and I listen to it in it's entirety on the laptop at least once a day.

Well done, monkey man.

Ray Merkler says

1000 true fans spending $100 each on you? Sounds familiar. :)

Zachary Henkel says

Will the "limited edition USB key containing the complete works of Jonathan Coulton" have everything in FLAC?

zirpu says

OMG! I now have a Nemesis! Totally worth it!

Nigel Case says

The level four package was a no-brainer. I LOVE Artificial Heart. I don't know what to say beyond that it's fantastic and definitely my favorite album from JoCo yet. You should play a show in Florida! I would love nothing more than to see you live, JoCo.

And only $100+ shipping for the level four package? A steal.

Maximillian says

I, too, have a nemesis, and the t-shirt to prove it. Somehow when I was screened and selected for level four status, it said my nemesis was Jonathan Coulton, whoever that is.

Keep up the great work!

Michael says

I hope you enjoy my 100 American Dollars as much as I enjoy this album.

Now excuse me, I'm going to go drive around and bust a couple things up with the bad kids.

Charlie Wood says

You rock, Jonathan Coulton.

Kimberly Burgess says

Thank you JoCo! L4 was a steal! Thank you very much for offering it! I hope my money and fandom brings you as much happiness as you continue to bring to me! :)

Danielle St John says

I have not yet listened to the new album, but I really dug the two pieces from it you did at the Dragon*Con concert. The Level Four, as others have said, was a no-brainer. Your ability to mix wacky, wacky subjects with a very human, quiet desperation is phenomenal, all while "doing all your own stunts," as it were. Mad props, mang.

Mary says

Artificial Heart is worth every penny of my $100 even if I was't getting collectors stuff! All the cool stuff is icing on the cake! (which is not a lie)

Patrick says

I have been enjoying the album very much, and am looking forward to the show at the Belly Up. See you there!

Lex says

I have nothing to add to this discussion, other than the facts that:

Artifical Heart is awesome
Its initials match mine
Level Four was an easy call
I love you

Andrew "The Clinger" Coleman says

Rock on JoCo.

Beth berkland says

Playing it pretty much nonstop. Family ready to strangle me. Between this and "join us", absolute musical overload for them and sheer delight for me. Almost too much auditory wonderfulness in a very short span of time. Almost have everything memorized, ear worms are chewing thru my tickled brain! Eagerly anticipating Asheville...much love and thanks for making my world a happier place.

Sara says

So I take it the vinyl will only be available in through the level 4 bundle? Geez, way to make decisions hard for a poor, vinyl loving grad student!

Marshall says

There aren't too many artists that I'd drop $100 on for a special fan package, but then again there aren't that many artists who prove time and time again how much they appreciate their fans and how hard they strive to go the extra mile for them. You are a rare bird, Jonathan.

Can't wait for the goodies; fingers crossed for behind-the-scenes studio footage, but I definitely won't feel let down if it doesn't make the list.

Ryan says

I wish I could have got L4, but at least I managed to get L3 (I only have so much money, being 14). Rock on JoCo, looking forward to seeing the rest of the package appear to me after school :')

Kevin says

I already bought the $15 package, but was wondering if you'll be selling USB drives (either old or new) at your upcoming tour dates. I'll be seeing you perform in 3 weeks.

Fred D. (Xusder) says

Bought the $15 ($20, $5 for shipping)! Can't wait for the CD. Don't care if it's signed, supporting JoCo is my #1 prime directive, so getting the CD is the only thing important for me, haha!

Though, I wish I had $100 for Level 4. Damn money woes...

Jace says

I hope that vinyl will be available on its own at some point. I really want it and want to support JoCo, but I'm a poor college student and just can't spend $100 like that. Either way, I'm gonna get the CD as well...

Lawrence says

I've been saving money fo L4 ever since you mention SUPER PREMIUM MEGA AWESOME FAN PACKAGE EXPERIENCE!!! and let me say 100 bucks for (what i calculated as) at least $215 worth of stuff including 4x artificial heart album, must say:

i mean:
WOO! fuzzy, collector’s item SATISFACTION!!

Phil says

Bought it, listened through four times now. Loving it.

What I would like: If you would go through each song and post on it, like you did for Thing A Week. I'd like to hear the backstory, the creative process, the story behind the song.

Any chance of seeing that at some point?

Gina says

Can't believe you're only selling 1000! And it does seem like a steal for everything you get. Woot!

Ash says

Only got level 2 as I wasn't familiar with your music and don't have the spare cash however fallen in love with Artificial Heart and wish I had gone Level 4. Any chance of TMBG smuggling you into their luggage to support them if they play Australia or you doing your own tour here?

Sean L. says

Artificial Heart is amazing. The show in Concord, NH last night was a ton of fun as well. I partook of the level 4 package as well. Can't wait to see what is coming my way. Any idea if it's going to have a 'Good Morning Tuscon' shirt in it? If not, I need to purchase one ASAP. Thanks much!!

SSteve says

I was nervous there for a minute that I might not pass the evaluation for Level Four. I think I cheated, though, because I passed! I'm very excited about the show in Arcata on November 11. I haven't been this excited about a concert since I was in my teens. I don't want to say how long ago that was, but I was driving a used 1974 Pinto.

Ninchilla says

Level four, baby! Awesome album, I look forward to wearing out my iPod harddrive with it. The survey was a work of art/genius, also.

Scott says

Ok, I'm in for an L4 experience. That Vinyl LP, though: Is it an Artificial Heart LP? Or is it just one from your personal collection at random, like a garage sale? If the latter, I'd like to request Pink Floyd's The Wall. That was a sweet album.

n_plus_one says

I <3 the new album! I'm still in the "listen to it a lot, but not too often, while I suss it out" phase but clearly it's a winner.

I also love that the internet has made it so much easier for me to directly support the artists that I love, rather than the labels, with their greedy man-in-the-middle attack. Level IV: Unlocked!

Also, see you on JCCC II!

Carl says

Level 4 access granted. Now please please please, pretty please, add a NYC or Boston show to your schedule. please?

Doogs says

Sizing information for the t-shirts for Level 4? I was going to use your other shirts as a guide, but right in the description it tells me to check which shirt the design is printed on. I looked. I tried to find some sort of description but I just can't. It's late, I'm giddy to go all Level 4, and I just ran out of Oreos. What's a boy to do???

Glenn says

"Any chance of TMBG smuggling you into their luggage to support them if they play Australia or you doing your own tour here?" - I support this product and/or service.

The power of Level 4 compels you. Also, we have wacky looking critters.

Paul says

Level 4 could not be anymore attractive to my bulging wallet right now. However I just get an error message after the details section. It happens on all the Level options. Is this just me or is anyone else getting a 404 Not Found error?

Paul says

Never mind, it was Opera playing up. Used IE and it works fine. My bad! I wait October with anticipation!

Rachel Barenblat says

I've been listening to the album pretty much nonstop since I downloaded it (except for the occasional break to fill my toddler's need for "They Might be Giants: Here Come the 1-2-3s" -- I'm doing my best to raise the next generation right!) and I'm really digging it. Right now my favorite tracks are Sticking it To Myself, Artificial Heart, Nemeses, Glasses, and Now I Am An Arsonist (I'd love to hear more about how any of those came into being, if you ever feel like posting about these songs the way you've been doing with the Thing a Week material.) Really, the album is fabulous. Thank you for it!

Jason says

So who here is my nemesis? In other news, I have been digging this album through the year or so tease via YouTube and my few concert experiences. I am a very satisfied customer, so much so that I bought it twice. Here's 5 $20 bills.

Chris says

so... yeah. when are these shipping? btw, this album is awesome, my only complaint is that i wish Sucker Punch was longer. I mean, the chorus is so great, but there's only two verses? whuaaat?
can't wait for my level 4 package to arrive.

Chris says

also random side note: i bought this the second day available. THAT MAKES ME SO COOL, RIGHT GUISE?

Sara says

@Chris: That's pretty cool, but where were you the FIRST day? And you only bought ONE copy? Psh. It should be obvious that the stakes here amount to "give Jonathan Coulton all of your money." d:

Speaking of which, you should go on JoCo Cruise Crazy II. That would make you SO COOL.

Maureen says

I have a nemesis! I even printed them out so maybe, one day, I can find them!

Zanson says

Great Album. Been listening to it all week! Can't wait to get my stuff in the mail.

Chris D says

1. the first day was spent fighting with my parents to let me get it.
2. it was all of my money (i'm 15)
3. I want to do that SO BAAD. but i have school and stuff (lame, i know)

Hayden says

Ok, who among you is my nemesis?

Sara says

@Chris D
Alright, I suppose that will have to do. You're cool. [stamp of approval]

Charles says

I took 12-year-old daughter number one to the JC show in Minneapolis last May, got to meet the Rock Star himself afterwards, and he graciously signed my daughter's ticket and teeshirt, and posed for a pic with her, can't get *that* kind of thrill at a Justin Bieber concert, so wth, I went for Level Four here, even though I already bought the USB Drive in 2009 - hey, maybe I'm on secret Level Five! heh