Monday I wrote about Louis CK and his decision to release a concert video on his own and unencumbered by security. Louis had little to lose and a lot to gain.
Cable networks and and content distributors have everything to lose. They produce little on their own. Mostly they provide a means of mass distribution and charge for it.
They have to be very uneasy right now. Louis CK’s end around worked!
From LouisCK.net: 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.
The note I’m quoting was posted yesterday. There’s undoubtedly more money to come.
He didn’t make as much, but he made enough. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard that! Maybe never.
Granted, Louis isn’t typical. He is an established artist with a dedicated fanbase. He also offered members of the geek community the ability to stick their collective fingers in the eyes of content distributors they hate.
Maybe this doesn’t change everything, but it changes a lot. The balance of power shifted. How long it takes for a new paradigm to be established is unclear. It will surely be different.