Louis CK released a live performance on his website on December 10th. Louis paid for the video production himself ($170,000+$32,000 for the website, etc.) and released the video exclusively on his website for $5. Yep, five measley bucks. No DRM, no control, no nothing, stream it or download a 1280x720 mpg file that can be copied, put on DVD or shared. Insane idea? Well, Louis reported on the outcome yesterday:
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.
While Louis CK's reputation was created in a more traditional way, the experiment drives the point of killing the middle man further into the ground. Distribution of media is effectively free now. The race for eyeballs is what matters now. Distribution is dead and advertising rules. The argument has been made a million times by people with larger brains than me. This is just a great example.
Louis' site for the performance is HERE. I encourage you to cough up the five bucks. It is well worth it, AND unlike most things these days, you're not licensing the video, you own it. Also, be sure to read the entire post on his experiment HERE.
Louis was also on Fresh Air yesterday. Listen HERE.