Marketing Innovators Interview Series: Matt Farley, Spam Artist or Marketing Genius? You Decide

| March 19, 2014

Matt Farley has made over 14,000 songs and posted them on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Topics of his songs range from the birthday song – recorded over 500 times with a different name, to songs about kitchen items. The next couple hundred songs he plans to write will be about parts of the body.

Topics are based on what people search for or whatever he feels like writing about. Most popular topics are animals, celebrities and oddly enough poop. A recent song about his water heat had one purchase at $.99. He made $23,000 last year off the royalties of his songs.

From a marketing perspective, this hasn’t really been done before, at least to this extent. From an artist’s perspective, people aren’t sure what to think. From a business perspective, he’s increasing his bottom line for sure.

Though Farley will be the first to admit, he’s a terrible businessman. He leaves recordings of his real band, Moes Haven, on the street and even sneaks them into record stores in hopes that someone will listen.

But let’s take a step back, before you make any judgement, here is some background on Matt Farley.

In a recent interview with On The Media’s TLDR podcast, interviewer PJ Vogt digs a little deeper into the creator of The Toilet Bowl Singers. Vogt reports:

“All his life Matt has made slightly arbitrary choices and then committed to them hard. Like, in 5th grade when his friends started swearing, he thought it would be funnier to not swear. So he didn’t and he still won’t. Or he really likes walking. Last year he walked from his house in Danvers, MA to the Boston marathon, which means he basically walked the length of a marathon to go watch a marathon. When he does something, he does it big.”

In a more relevant example, he wrote a song called, “_________, Will you go to the prom with me?” and recorded it 500 times each with a different name.

There has been claims saying he’s a spam artist and is taking advantage of the system. But now that we know more about his background, this is the type of thing fits his M.O. perfectly.

Last year he made an hour long movie about his life called, “Local Legends” and posted it on Youtube. He acts in this movie and it actually explains a lot about his personality.

Matt Farley is just being really honest and open about his pursuits. He even leaves his phone number in some of his songs and talks about it in his movie. So I called him up one day and had a conversation with him. He really is an open book.


Why did you start making these novelty songs?

I have always made novelty songs since I was a kid. And I did so because it’s fun! With my band, Moes Haven, I continued to make novelty songs, but we tried to keep them to a minimum since we favored our more “serious” stuff.

It was around 2007-2008 when I started this prolific novelty songwriting project which has resulted in 14,000 songs.

What were your intentions when you started putting your songs on iTunes and Spotify?

I first put music on iTunes and Spotify with Moes Haven. The intention was to have people discover our music. With the novelty songs, the intention is the same, only it’s more directly tailored toward catching people’s interest through keywords.

In a perfect world, Moes Haven would be popular enough that I could just do that. Whenever I get any attention for the novelty songs, I make sure to point people toward Moes Haven. I’m very proud of Moes Haven and I want people to like it.

But the novelty songs aren’t solely for Moes Haven. If that were the case, I could just work a second job and use all the income to pay for advertising for Moe’s Haven.

Has the feedback about your novelty songs been positive?

Yes, very positive. The only negative thing is, some people are calling me a musical spam artist. I think if you listen to songs, it’s not like I’m just shouting out complete garbage for money.

I actually think the songs are clever and catchy. People think that I’m just making my money by people accidentally listening to me on Spotify, but I actually make more money from the mp3’s on iTunes.

But regardless, there’s no such thing as bad press. Even the negative comments I find thrilling and entertaining.

Have you seen an increase in sales of your music since the article on Business Insider and other media attention?

There’s definitely a bump, it started with the (On The Media, TLDR) NPR story. The songs that are featured in the radio interview are suddently selling a lot more than before.

I recently was on Bloomberg TV. I’m not very good on TV after watching it. I don’t think people who watch Bloomberg TV are really on the market for silly songs. It’s been fun though, a media bliss.

How many songs have you made to date?

I’m at 14,500 songs at this moment. Definitely by the end of 2015, I’ll be at 20,000 songs.

I definitely enjoy making any kind of music and I’m having a lot of fun with the novelty songs. I think they’re genuinely funny and entertaining.

Just because I’m motivated by the money doesn’t mean I’m not approaching it with some element of artistic integrity!

What made you decide to make the movie, “Local Legends” last year, that talks about your life and about making these songs?

I’m a big fan of Woody Allen movies, particularly Stardust Memories and Deconstructing Harry. I thought that I could use my own life as an inspiration for Local Legends, which deals with similar themes as Woody’s movies, but from a very different experience.

I’m very interested in what it takes to achieve artistic success, so that is a theme of the movie and in some ways the movie becomes an advertisement for my music and other movies.

I think I weaved in that part into the movie in an entertaining and self-aware way.

How much of the movie is true?

It’s very very true. I changed the girl and the Billy Joel collection. I didn’t want real people to be insulted by the way I portrayed them, so obviously I made some adjustments there. But I really made the songs, the movies and I really had an internal struggle between the business man and the artist.

You grow up listening to music and believing in the sanctity of art and creativity versus the dirtiness of commerce and marketing. Frankly all the musicians I grew up liking, they got to act really cool, but they had a huge team, a record company marketing them. Bono from U2 has a record company putting up posters all over the place for him.

I feel guilty when you’re promoting yourself and you feel stupid, but you know, I’m just trying to find a way to do that with enough sense of humor and self awareness so that you don’t come off completely desperate and self obsessed.

It’s also hard to make money when all you really want to do is have people hear your work. I’m giving out stuff all the time. So I’m really not a good business man. I really leave cds and dvds on sidewalks all over the place.

The part about putting cds in the record store, that really happened. After I did it, I had a notepad in my pocket and wrote down, “Local Legends – putting cd in record store”.

In the movie, you said, “…me and my friend like to make ridiculous straight faced comedies disguised as horror movies and that’s part of the joke that most people don’t get”. Do you think this is a similar misconception with your songs? (Some people may not really get the humor in them and so they may think you are taking advantage of the system to make monetary gains.)

Yes, but I only have myself to blame. I definitely present the novelty song project in a way that people can easily misinterpret it as a cynical money-grab, but that’s fine.

In fact, it’s kind of interesting to present it that way and see the response it gets because most music and movies are sold and ideally earn money for their creators. I’m just being up front about that part of it.

I think other musicians and filmmakers should be as honest. Most of them spend more, charge more, and earn more than I do.


Matt Farley’s marketing strategy really does reflect his brand. Though his brand is unique and different, he’s found a platform that works for him. Whether his goal is gaining more attention for Moe’s Haven or gaining a higher income or just having fun, he’s gained a lot of media attention and it’s increasing his bottom line.

Farley’s music can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon and is also available to listen to on Spotify. His novelty songs are posted under various band names such as: The Toilet Bowl Cleaners, The Prom Song Singers and Papa Razzi and the Photogs, to name a few. Here’s a complete list. You can also follow him on Twitter @MoternMedia.

Matt Farley, we wish you the best of luck with your novelty songs and whatever the future may hold!

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Category: Content Marketing, Recruit 101, Special Agent Intermediate, tmmBosley, tmmCharlie, tmmJill, tmmKelly, TMMPDX, tmmSabrina, Veteran Advanced

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Matt Farley has made over 14,000 songs and posted them on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Topics of his songs range from the birthday song – recorded over 500 times with a different name, to songs about kitchen items. The next couple hundred songs he plans to write will be about parts of the body.

Topics are based on what people search for or whatever he feels like writing about. Most popular topics are animals, celebrities and oddly enough poop. A recent song about his water heat had one purchase at $.99. He made $23,000 last year off the royalties of his songs.

From a marketing perspective, this hasn’t really been done before, at least to this extent. From an artist’s perspective, people aren’t sure what to think. From a business perspective, he’s increasing his bottom line for sure.

Though Farley will be the first to admit, he’s a terrible businessman. He leaves recordings of his real band, Moes Haven, on the street and even sneaks them into record stores in hopes that someone will listen.

But let’s take a step back, before you make any judgement, here is some background on Matt Farley.

In a recent interview with On The Media’s TLDR podcast, interviewer PJ Vogt digs a little deeper into the creator of The Toilet Bowl Singers. Vogt reports:

“All his life Matt has made slightly arbitrary choices and then committed to them hard. Like, in 5th grade when his friends started swearing, he thought it would be funnier to not swear. So he didn’t and he still won’t. Or he really likes walking. Last year he walked from his house in Danvers, MA to the Boston marathon, which means he basically walked the length of a marathon to go watch a marathon. When he does something, he does it big.”

In a more relevant example, he wrote a song called, “_________, Will you go to the prom with me?” and recorded it 500 times each with a different name.

There has been claims saying he’s a spam artist and is taking advantage of the system. But now that we know more about his background, this is the type of thing fits his M.O. perfectly.

Last year he made an hour long movie about his life called, “Local Legends” and posted it on Youtube. He acts in this movie and it actually explains a lot about his personality.

Matt Farley is just being really honest and open about his pursuits. He even leaves his phone number in some of his songs and talks about it in his movie. So I called him up one day and had a conversation with him. He really is an open book.


Why did you start making these novelty songs?

I have always made novelty songs since I was a kid. And I did so because it’s fun! With my band, Moes Haven, I continued to make novelty songs, but we tried to keep them to a minimum since we favored our more “serious” stuff.

It was around 2007-2008 when I started this prolific novelty songwriting project which has resulted in 14,000 songs.

What were your intentions when you started putting your songs on iTunes and Spotify?

I first put music on iTunes and Spotify with Moes Haven. The intention was to have people discover our music. With the novelty songs, the intention is the same, only it’s more directly tailored toward catching people’s interest through keywords.

In a perfect world, Moes Haven would be popular enough that I could just do that. Whenever I get any attention for the novelty songs, I make sure to point people toward Moes Haven. I’m very proud of Moes Haven and I want people to like it.

But the novelty songs aren’t solely for Moes Haven. If that were the case, I could just work a second job and use all the income to pay for advertising for Moe’s Haven.

Has the feedback about your novelty songs been positive?

Yes, very positive. The only negative thing is, some people are calling me a musical spam artist. I think if you listen to songs, it’s not like I’m just shouting out complete garbage for money.

I actually think the songs are clever and catchy. People think that I’m just making my money by people accidentally listening to me on Spotify, but I actually make more money from the mp3’s on iTunes.

But regardless, there’s no such thing as bad press. Even the negative comments I find thrilling and entertaining.

Have you seen an increase in sales of your music since the article on Business Insider and other media attention?

There’s definitely a bump, it started with the (On The Media, TLDR) NPR story. The songs that are featured in the radio interview are suddently selling a lot more than before.

I recently was on Bloomberg TV. I’m not very good on TV after watching it. I don’t think people who watch Bloomberg TV are really on the market for silly songs. It’s been fun though, a media bliss.

How many songs have you made to date?

I’m at 14,500 songs at this moment. Definitely by the end of 2015, I’ll be at 20,000 songs.

I definitely enjoy making any kind of music and I’m having a lot of fun with the novelty songs. I think they’re genuinely funny and entertaining.

Just because I’m motivated by the money doesn’t mean I’m not approaching it with some element of artistic integrity!

What made you decide to make the movie, “Local Legends” last year, that talks about your life and about making these songs?

I’m a big fan of Woody Allen movies, particularly Stardust Memories and Deconstructing Harry. I thought that I could use my own life as an inspiration for Local Legends, which deals with similar themes as Woody’s movies, but from a very different experience.

I’m very interested in what it takes to achieve artistic success, so that is a theme of the movie and in some ways the movie becomes an advertisement for my music and other movies.

I think I weaved in that part into the movie in an entertaining and self-aware way.

How much of the movie is true?

It’s very very true. I changed the girl and the Billy Joel collection. I didn’t want real people to be insulted by the way I portrayed them, so obviously I made some adjustments there. But I really made the songs, the movies and I really had an internal struggle between the business man and the artist.

You grow up listening to music and believing in the sanctity of art and creativity versus the dirtiness of commerce and marketing. Frankly all the musicians I grew up liking, they got to act really cool, but they had a huge team, a record company marketing them. Bono from U2 has a record company putting up posters all over the place for him.

I feel guilty when you’re promoting yourself and you feel stupid, but you know, I’m just trying to find a way to do that with enough sense of humor and self awareness so that you don’t come off completely desperate and self obsessed.

It’s also hard to make money when all you really want to do is have people hear your work. I’m giving out stuff all the time. So I’m really not a good business man. I really leave cds and dvds on sidewalks all over the place.

The part about putting cds in the record store, that really happened. After I did it, I had a notepad in my pocket and wrote down, “Local Legends – putting cd in record store”.

In the movie, you said, “…me and my friend like to make ridiculous straight faced comedies disguised as horror movies and that’s part of the joke that most people don’t get”. Do you think this is a similar misconception with your songs? (Some people may not really get the humor in them and so they may think you are taking advantage of the system to make monetary gains.)

Yes, but I only have myself to blame. I definitely present the novelty song project in a way that people can easily misinterpret it as a cynical money-grab, but that’s fine.

In fact, it’s kind of interesting to present it that way and see the response it gets because most music and movies are sold and ideally earn money for their creators. I’m just being up front about that part of it.

I think other musicians and filmmakers should be as honest. Most of them spend more, charge more, and earn more than I do.


Matt Farley’s marketing strategy really does reflect his brand. Though his brand is unique and different, he’s found a platform that works for him. Whether his goal is gaining more attention for Moe’s Haven or gaining a higher income or just having fun, he’s gained a lot of media attention and it’s increasing his bottom line.

Farley’s music can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon and is also available to listen to on Spotify. His novelty songs are posted under various band names such as: The Toilet Bowl Cleaners, The Prom Song Singers and Papa Razzi and the Photogs, to name a few. Here’s a complete list. You can also follow him on Twitter @MoternMedia.

Matt Farley, we wish you the best of luck with your novelty songs and whatever the future may hold!