Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Remember Merton, the Chatroulette Piano Guy? He's Still Here!

Remember “Merton,” Chatroulette’s breakout star? The funny improv piano player who wasn’t Ben Folds but who inspired Ben Folds to create his own Merton tribute and…

Hrm. This seemed like super-interesting stuff a few months ago. But Chatroulette’s buzz, and perhaps its traffic, is dying down. And while Merton is still a little mysterious–unless I’m missing it, he has yet to actually identify himself–he’s no longer of the moment. And when he puts out a new video, no one cares.

Okay, so not no one–this clip, Merton’s third, has racked up more than 336,000 views since Friday. But here’s a telling data point: Mashable, the reliable chronicler of all things Merton, has yet to acknowledge the new clip.

The good news for Merton is that he may be able to extract a few dollars out of this thing before it goes away completely. If you watch the clip below (there is indeed some swearing) or visit his channel on Google’s (GOOG) YouTube, you’ll see he has started selling ads on this stuff. Hurry up!

And if you have another 5 minutes, I still really, really enjoy the first Ben Folds Merton tribute:


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work