A couple days ago I paid $5 to download video of a recent performance by comedian Louis CK at the Beacon Theater in NYC. (You can but it right here.) Christine and I watched it on my laptop, and it was an all-around excellent experience: good video, sound, etc. and the performance was several times literally laugh out loud and almost out of our seats funny.
I did not realize that I was part of an experiment:
People of Earth (minus the ones who don't give a shit about this): it's been amazing to conduct this experiment with you. The experiment was: if I put out a brand new standup special at a drastically low price ($5) and make it as easy as possible to buy, download and enjoy, free of any restrictions, will everyone just go and steal it? Will they pay for it? And how much money can be made by an individual in this manner?He goes on to explain that he decided to bypass going with a "big company," which would have paid him a big guaranteed fee, and which would have sold videos of the performance - videos with limitations - for a whole lot more than $5. He paid for the production himself - video, editing, the website where it was sold - paying more than $200,000. There was, as you could see, risk involved with this experiment.
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.Experiment successful. An the cool thing is that with its success, Mr. CK says he plans to do this in the future - screw the big companies. So the experiment was a success for us, too.
• A friend points to a Reddit thread Louis CK took part in two days ago. One comment from him, replying to a question about how much he actually does on the editing of his shows:
yeah I do the whole thign. On season 1 I had an editor and we shared it about half. But season two i edited without any help. It was fucking hard. and yes, i sit at the macbook and just put it together from start frame to finish.