In just 4 days, Louis CK‘s new exclusive has been downloaded +110,000 times and has made (net) what many people wish they could make in a year. On top of that, it’s really, really funny. In part of a statement that he released today, the (brilliant) comedian describes his marketing attempt:
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?
and its progress:
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.
and what he’s learned (which we should all take to heart):
I learned that money can be a lot of things. It can be something that is hoarded, fought over, protected, stolen and withheld. Or it can be like an energy, fueled by the desire, will, creative interest, need to laugh, of large groups of people. And it can be shuffled and pushed around and pooled together to fuel a common interest, jokes about garbage, penises and parenthood.
Being a comedian certainly isn’t the easiest way to make a dime, even if you’re great, but it’s not to say it can’t be done. By knowing his audience, using available tools, seeking advice, taking a risk, investing time into the past and future, and having a little thing called talent, Louis CK is a great example of a fiscally successful funny man. I tip my hat and encourage you to buy this special today if you haven’t already. And if you haven’t already, don’t tell anyone because they might forever judge you.