The show went on sale at noon on Saturday, December 10th. 12 hours later, we had over 50,000 purchases and had earned $250,000, breaking even on the cost of production and website. As of Today, we’ve sold over 110,000 copies for a total of over $500,000. Minus some money for PayPal charges etc, I have a profit around $200,000 (after taxes $75.58). This is less than I would have been paid by a large company to simply perform the show and let them sell it to you, but they would have charged you about $20 for the video. They would have given you an encrypted and regionally restricted video of limited value, and they would have owned your private information for their own use. They would have withheld international availability indefinitely. This way, you only paid $5, you can use the video any way you want, and you can watch it in Dublin, whatever the city is in Belgium, or Dubai. I got paid nice, and I still own the video (as do you). You never have to join anything, and you never have to hear from us again.
Sounds like a success. I watched it the other night and it was great. I hope it continues to sell like hotcakes.
Louis C. K. financed the show himself and sold it online with no DRM for $5. No intermediate company, no recording company, no video company, no distributor. He did it all himself.
In less than a week he had sold 110,000 copies, even though people could have just downloaded it from torrent sites for free. Many people are quite willing to pay a reasonable amount of money, especially if they know most of it actually goes to the performer.
Apple showed the way with iTunes – pirating becomes much less ‘sexy’ when it becomes so cheap and easy to buy.
The media companies are scared to death of this because it destroys their business models. They make money by increasing the scarcity of the works, by making it hard to hear people like Louis C. K. without ponying up huge amounts of money.
These sorts of experiments show a new approach, one that actually helps both performer and customer. The performer gets more, has more rights and connects directly with their audience. The customer gets access to the performer for much, much less money.