Louis C.K., if you don't know, is a stand-up comedian with a great sitcom on FX (Louie). He decided to release one of his recent shows at the Beacon Theater himself: he fronted the money, edited it himself (as he does with his sitcom), and hosted the video on his own website. It's $5, DRM-free, and easy to purchase. Perhaps even better (from C.K.'s standpoint, at least), he gets to keep full creative control of the work.
C.K. was kind enough to release a statement going into a little more detail about the whole thing. As of the date of the statement, around four days after releasing the video, he'd already made a profit of $200,000. Four days.
So let's recap:
- C.K. makes a sizable amount of money (likely to grow with the long tail)
- He gets to keep control over the rights, the distribution, etc.
- Fans get a cheap, easy-to-download, easy-to-view copy of the video
Of course, there are a few things to note. First, it's likely that this experiment did well because it was just that - an experiment. It got a decent amount of press. However, something that's cheap and gives fans what they want, in essence encouraging them to pay, will usually find a market. There's a download limit which is probably due to bandwidth issues (and personally, I wish it was available as a torrent download a la the Humble Bundle games, but that's nitpicking). However, there are a few extras, like being able to gift the video and providing a DVD cover for those of you still living in the '00s and want your media on a physical format.
The best part? The stand-up bit is absolutely hilarious (if not entirely family-friendly). As always, the content is more important than the packaging. Go check it out if you're looking for a cheap, fun way to pass some time.