Comedian Louis C.K. sold a full-length performance film for $5.00, that’s right 5 bucks, DRM free as an MP4 file. Once you buy you get 2 streams and 2 downloads (in 720p HD mind you), and then have to pay again, but if you’ve downloaded since it’s DRM free you can watch over and over again. That’s 62 minutes of uninterrupted pure entertainment at one-third the price of a physical DVD and with zero creative trespass from the part of a production company or studio.
Louis C.K. knew the content would be pirated and he had this to say about it:
To those who might wish to “torrent” this video: look, I don’t really get the whole “torrent” thing. I don’t know enough about it to judge either way. But I’d just like you to consider this: I made this video extremely easy to use against well-informed advice. I was told that it would be easier to torrent the way I made it, but I chose to do it this way anyway, because I want it to be easy for people to watch and enjoy this video in any way they want without “corporate” restrictions. Please bear in mind that I am not a company or a corporation. I’m just some guy. I paid for the production and posting of this video with my own money. I would like to be able to post more material to the fans in this way, which makes it cheaper for the buyer and more pleasant for me. So, please help me keep this being a good idea. I can’t stop you from torrenting; all I can do is politely ask you to pay your five little dollars, enjoy the video, and let other people find it in the same way.
It’s one thing to rip-off a corporation, another to take from a one-man production company who’s asking you not to rip him off.
RESULT: Over 200,000+ paid downloads for a total of over $1+ million.
PRODUCTION COST: $250K.
PROFIT: $800K free and clear for Louis C.K. to do what he wants with.
Leave it to a comedian, a truth teller, to show all you pseudo-entrepreneurial, creative dilettantes the way forward in this Information Age. Sure Louis C.K. is just one of the funniest comics working in America today, but that’s the point! When you can offer us a constant, steady stream of great creative content at a killer price we fans will respond in droves and pay you for it. I guarantee if and when Louis C.K. puts out garbage for sale, even under the same DRM-free terms, if it’s crap then we fans will clearly let him know. Fearless, gutsy, assured, unique – all good reasons for why I’m willing to spend my money.
A $0.99/song per download is an outdated charge of the past modeled on physical product. Fans need AND want an opportunity to discover, share and consume digital music at an affordable price. If you want your fans to be compelled to consume over and over again, then give them a viable price alternative. Try $0.25 to 0.33/song per download and see what happens, especially if you offer up fresh, new and different music constantly. Walk, talk and share with your fans through the creative process from songwriting to producing to recording and mixing and see how they respond – from an acoustic demo, to a fully produced yet unmixed master, to the end result. This is the closest opportunity fans will have to be right there in the studio with you. And for that privilege the result will be… Ka-ching!