Louis C.K.’s business model for selling his recent Live At The Beacon Theater, much like his comedy, was bluntly honest and to the point—and now, also really, really successful. As you probably know by now, C.K. circumvented the usual strategies by offering the special through his website for $5 for downloading and streaming, essentially pissing in the face of all the networks while also pissing comedy-piss in the face of his fans, to borrow a recent analogy. And, as testimony to C.K.’s fans and the inherent attractiveness of simplicity, it worked: The comic wrote on his website last night that he’d already sold more than 110,000 copies for a total of over $500,000, leaving him with a personal profit (so far) of around $200,000.
True, it’s a long way away from the $8 million C.K. said and/or joked recently that he would require to even think about making another movie, and it’s definitely less than he would have been paid to do it for, say, HBO—though he notes that “they would have charged you about $20 for the video,” and hey, Louis C.K. loves you. In fact, by playing up that personal connection, C.K. even managed to overcome the Internet’s inherent nature to torrent and steal (“If anybody stole it, it wasn't many of you,” C.K. wrote. Pretty much everybody bought it”), giving C.K. ample reason to deem his experiment a success, and encourage him, and possibly others with loyal fanbases, to adopt this business model in the future, utilizing it on everything from videos and albums to CDs and tickets (though he still reserves the right to "go back on all of this and sign a massive deal with a company that pays me fat coin and charges you straight up the ass"). Indeed, today is a bad day to be a middleman. They’re probably all down at the middleman bar, drinking a toast to the good old days of getting in the way of things.