How Aimee Mann makes indie music pay with stripped-down tours, Broadway dreams

Few indie rockers boast the formidable creativity and credibility of Aimee Mann -- yet Mann deserves high marks not only as a literate, whip-smart artist, but also as a businesswoman who's survived the music industry wreckage. Jerked around by major-label power brokers in the '90s, Mann cast out on her own, forming her own SuperEgo Records long before it became fashionable for musicians of her stature to run their own affairs. She also scored success, and accolades for her work on the film Magnolia and her 2005 album The Forgotten Arm -- which she's now fashioning into a musical, bound for New York's Public Theater.

In 2010, big record labels are reeling, while Mann's still at it. But that doesn't mean she's taken the easy path, especially in an age when countless artists compete for attention on MySpace and Facebook. Currently on the road for a string of acoustic dates, Mann spoke to WalletPop about the advantages and vagaries of making a living in the music biz in the 21st Century.