Thursday, December 15, 2011

Louis CK goes direct to the consumer on the Internet

Comedian Louis CK is distributing a high quality, DRM-free recording of a recent concert on the Internet.

After four days, he has sold 110,000 copies at $5 each

After deducting production, Web site and transaction costs, he has a profit of around $200,000 (so far). He says that is less than he would have made had a large record company produced the video, but the public is getting more this way:
  • They are paying $5, not $20 for a CD.
  • They can make all the copies they want to.
  • They can watch it on any device they have access to.
  • It is not restricted internationally.
  • The record company does not have their personal information for marketing purposes.
There has been some piracy -- you can get it for free using Bit Torrent -- but clearly many people prefer the convenience and karma of a purchase. Louis CK points out that the concert is all new material, which to him is life-and-death intellectual property, and he reserves the right to go back to a record company in the future. I hope he doesn't.

<aside to Louis>
Louis, don't forget that this is only the first four days of sales. You have also gotten a ton of favorable publicity -- I must admit that I had never even heard of you before this and now I am going to buy the video. You also learned a lot about producing concert videos and Internet marketing, so you will have better margins on the next one.
</aside to Louis>

This is a cool example of Internet going around the (fat) middle man. Even if you don't buy the video, you should read Louis CK's insightful, humorous summary of the deal.