Parody singer Weird Al Yankovic said his job has become far harder in a world where everyone has access to YouTube or other Internet video sites, and far more immediately than he does with physical CDs. And where fame is so fleeting.
It's so difficult that Yankovic said his next album is likely his last.
"I have one more album on my contract, and I'm looking forward to doing more digital distribution," Yankovic said in a call last week from his Los Angeles home. "Particularly with what I have to do, I need to be as immediate as possible, and that means getting my material out quickly."
"So I don't even know after this next CD if I'll be doing any kind of traditional releases anymore because it seems like everything I do is geared more toward being online and being immediate. And I'm doing my best to figure out a way to do that."
Yankovic brings his unusual comedy and music to the Stanislaus County Fair's Variety Free Stage on July 13.
If the next CD is his last, it would bring an end to a run of a dozen albums in 30 years that have sold more than 12 million copies more than any other comedy act in history with 10 going gold or platinum. He has won three Grammy Awards and been nominated six other times.
He first hit public consciousness in 1979 with the song "My Bologna," a parody of The Knack's "My Sharona," then conquered the charts in 1983 when "Eat It," his parody of Michael Jackson's "Beat It," hit No. 12 on the pop charts and went gold.
He since has had top 50 songs with 1985's "Like a Surgeon" (a parody of Madonna's "Like a Virgin"); 1992's "Smells Like Nirvana" (Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit"); and 1996's "Amish Paradise" (Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise").
Surprisingly, Yankovic had his biggest single ever with 2006's "White & Nerdy" a parody of Chamillionaire's "Ridin'." It became his only top 10 and platinum-selling song, and his latest album, 2011's "Alpocalypse," was his highest-charting, reaching No. 9.
But that disc has been the only one of new material Yankovic, 53, has put out in seven years.
"It is getting a little bit harder in terms of the parodies, because there are so many people doing parodies now on YouTube and various other places that it's difficult to come up with an original idea, or a unique idea," Yankovic said.
"I mean, I don't think I'll be the first person, or certainly not the only person, to ever do a parody of any given song, and it's just difficult to not be perceived as dated when my parodies come out now, because everything is so immediate.
"I'm also slowing down. In the '80s I was releasing an album pretty much every year just because I felt like, 'If I stop, it will all go away.' And I don't have the fear quite as much anymore."
Yankovic said he's working on material now, but declines to talk about what interests him in music these days.
"It's hard for me to answer that question without using what I might be doing on the next album," he said. "You know, I never run out of source material because there's always something ridiculous to make fun of in pop music. So I don't really want to get into specifics here, but I'll never lack for material.
"So I am actively working on the next album, and there's no way of saying when it's going to be out, but hopefully sometime in the next 30 or 40 years."
WHAT: Weird Al Yankovic
WHEN: 8:30 p.m. July 13
WHERE: Variety Free Stage at the Stanislaus County Fair,900 N. Broadway, Turlock
TICKETS: Free with fair admission