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Songwriter's Corner|

Joey Helpish (Photo by Ashley Elizabeth Perry) | By Katie Notopoulos, BuzzFeed News Reporter | There are many topics that my 5-year-old and I don’t see eye to eye on: how many popsicles per day is reasonable or the virtues of sleeping past 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday. But there is one area where we are in philosophical lockstep: “Poop” is a funny word. So when my son commanded our Amazon Echo Dot, “Alexa…play poopy diaper,” I shot him a faux-stern look that indicated this isn’t appropriate, but I’ll allow it. And when Alexa replied, “OK, playing ‘Poopy Diaper’ from Spotify,” I was intrigued. When the voice robot creation of one of the richest men on the planet started playing a thumping techno banger with a soaring chorus of a woman vocalist signing, “I’ve got a poopy diaper, a poopy diaper, that’s me,” I descended into hyperventilating eye-watering laughter.

As it turns out, there are quite a few songs that will fill Alexa requests for the whole gamut of things a kindergartener might dream up: poop, diapers, dog poop, stinky butt, farts.

It’s not surprising that there are songs about the most basic of human functions — what is the point of art if not to unite us through shared feeling? But connecting these songs with their ideal audience (children who can’t yet spell) took a technological leap: voice-enabled smart speakers like Alexa. Several of the songs’ creators told BuzzFeed News that their biggest source of revenue by a landslide is Amazon Music — the default music player for Alexa. When it comes to these novelty artists, the evidence is clear: The word “poop” translates to streaming gold.

To his shock, his account had several hundred dollars in it — all from plays of “Poopy Stupid Butt.”

Joey Helpish is well aware that kids using Alexa may be the main source of plays for his ukelele-tinged hit “Poopy Stupid Butt.” “We may have heard this 10,000 times before,” he told BuzzFeed News. Helpish and his partner, Kristen Muir, run a music school in Oregon that specializes in working with autistic kids and helps them through the creative process of coming up with song ideas.

“We did a big songwriting session with these three kids,” Helpish said. “I said, ‘Give me five syllables to start,’ and the little 4-year-old girl screamed, ‘Poopy stupid butt!’ And the next 10 minutes were me writing down everything the kids were yelling at me that poopy stupid butt was doing.” He added the song to Amazon Music, along with a bunch of other songs cowritten by kids from the school.

In 2019, Muir needed to pay some medical bills, and the couple was strapped. Helpish did the digital version of checking the couch cushions: He looked at his statement on Amazon Music — something he rarely did since it was only ever a few dollars. To his shock, his account had several hundred dollars in it — all from plays of “Poopy Stupid Butt.”

“I went on all social media and saw it over and over: ‘My kid said this to Alexa,’” Helpish said.
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Amazon did not respond to requests for comment about whether it knows how often children yell “poop” at Alexa. A representative for Spotify said they were unable to determine the play method. . .
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Matt Farley is an extremely prolific songwriter who has mastered the art of the SEO song. He has recorded more than 23,000 songs that are often very short and include phrases and names that someone might search for — lots of celebrity names, common first names. And incredibly, this is a sound business model — Farley is able to generate a modest income from his catalog. (Disclosure: He wrote a 2014 song “Katie Notopoulos Is a Talented Writer, Oh Yeah,” but as a talented writer, I won’t let this compliment cloud my reporting.)

In his vast collection of songs covering a wide variety of topics, his top hits are all scatological in nature. His biggest hit is “Poop Poop Poop Poop Song.”
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As a parent, I try to be careful with my tacit approval of laughing at the word “poop.” I’ve explained that it’s OK to laugh at potty words at home or with your friends, but not at school. However, it seems that even at a young age, kids realize the things their parents like aren’t cool or transgressive. After I kept singing the chorus of Farley’s earworm, “I Poop With My Dog,” my child grew sick of it. When he overheard me playing it while writing this, he rolled his eyes and said, “Are you listening to the poop song again?” ?

Go here to read the full, informative article on another way to make money with your music:
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/katienotopoulos/alexa-play-the-poop-song

[Our thanks to COMBO board member David Barber for submitting this article for your info and amusement! http://www.rockoncolorado.com]

Photo: Joey Helpish (from his Facebook page; Photo by Ashley Elizabeth Perry at the Lunchbox)

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