For Ashley Alexandra Dupre, selling music beats selling sex

In the last two days, Eliot Spitzer's escort may have made more than $1,000 an hour, and she didn't even have to take her clothes off.

By Farhad Manjoo
March 15, 2008 2:26AM (UTC)
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Not so long ago, according to law enforcement officials, Ashley Alexandra Dupr&eacute, a.k.a. Emperors Club escort "Kristen," was earning about $1,000 an hour on trysts with folks like New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer. But Dupr&eacute, an aspiring singer, may be earning a lot more now, and legitimately -- by selling her music to "fans" online.


That, at least, is the speculation. Dupr&eacute has posted two songs on the new music-discovery site Amie Street; she put up the first, "What We Want," before she was outed, and the second, "Move ya Body," shortly afterward. (Scroll down to hear samples of each.)

Amie Street has an innovative, artist-friendly sales model. When musicians first submit a track, people can download it for free. As it becomes popular, its purchase price rises. Both of Dupr&eacute's songs are now selling at the site's maximum price -- 98 cents each.

Indeed, according to Joshua Boltuch, one of the co-founders of Amie Street, "Move ya Body" rose to its 98-cent price tag faster than any other song in Amie Street's one-and-a-half year history. Dupr&eacute posted the song early on Thursday morning; it was at the maximum price within five hours, a rate that suggests many downloads.


But how many, exactly? We don't know. Boltuch won't divulge sales numbers for Dupr&eacute or any other artist, citing company policy. "A lot of people want to know how much money she's making," he said, but only Dupr&eacute's authorized to say.

Could Dupr&eacute have made millions? It's possible. Reports suggest that her MySpace page, which links to her Amie Street profile, has seen 5 million visits in recent days.

And if she hasn't made millions, she's likely made thousands -- and in two days, that could amount to far more, per hour, than she cleared at Emporers Club.


Amie Street gives artists a 70 percent cut of each song sold. That is, Dupr&eacute is making 69 cents (yes, really) on every 98-cent track.

If she's sold at least 70,000 tracks, Dupr&eacute's made at least $48,000 -- $1,000 per hour in the 48 hours since her name went public. And this work certainly beats her old $1,000-per-hour job (though accountants in the audience will note that she's got to pay taxes on the music income, but not the escort income).


Of course, we haven't even touched other potential returns on infamy: Book deals, maybe a racy photo spread or two, maybe a real record deal, maybe John McCain's running mate (you know, for the youth vote).

Dupr&eacute would do well to act fast, of course; the public tires fast. Maybe it's happening already. On Thursday, the New York pop radio station Z100 added her song "What We Want" to its playlist. By Friday afternoon, after a poor response from the audience, the song was in low-rotation.

Listen to Dupr&eacute's work for yourself here:


Also, I discussed Ashley Dupr&eacute and the Spitzer scandal -- because who can talk about anything else? -- on my video for Current TV this week.

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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