On December 10th, Louis C.K. decided to try something out, selling his latest stand up Live at the Beacon Theater through his website for only $5, cutting out the middleman and making it DRM free. This means that you just download an MP4 file and you can do whatever you want with it; burn it to a DVD, store it on a hard drive, whatever you want for ever. It has done really well so far.
To those who might wish to “torrent” this video: look, I don’t really get the whole “torrent” thing. I don’t know enough about it to judge either way. But I’d just like you to consider this: I made this video extremely easy to use against well-informed advice. I was told that it would be easier to torrent the way I made it, but I chose to do it this way anyway, because I want it to be easy for people to watch and enjoy this video in any way they want without “corporate” restrictions. Please bear in mind that I am not a company or a corporation. I’m just some guy. I paid for the production and posting of this video with my own money. I would like to be able to post more material to the fans in this way, which makes it cheaper for the buyer and more pleasant for me. So, please help me keep this being a good idea. I can’t stop you from torrenting; all I can do is politely ask you to pay your five little dollars, enjoy the video, and let other people find it in the same way.
After reading that I bought it straight away. It was super easy, put in my email and login to PayPal and I’m done, no crazy information collecting and I haven’t received an email since. This is the way it should be when you buy online. Everyone was wondering how well this did and he is being really open about it. Total gross was about $500k minus $170K for production, 32K for his website, PayPal fees and other misc fees he made about $200K in profit or $75.58 after taxes he joked.
This is what I really took away from what he was saying. “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.”
So this shows that you can make money going independent but will every indy person be able to do this? I don’t think so, it helps when you are a celebrity but when you are no one then I don’t think you will have this much success and that is unfortunately where these record labels or big studios come into play, they market the shit out of what they back.
You can read Louis’ full statement on his website here and make sure you buy his stand up, I’m not a huge fan of him but there were some things that just had me dying…