Jim Gaffigan follows Louis CK in Self-Distributing His Comedy Special

  • Jason@DPD
  • February 15, 2012
  • No Comments

On December 10th, 2011, Louis CK, a popular and well known stand-up comedian, producer, and TV star (of his own show, Louie) offered up his Louis CK: Live at the Beacon Theater stand-up performance on his website for viewing and download, with no DRM, for $5 via PayPal.

On December 13th, he issued a statement on his website that had some amazing sales numbers:

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.

On December 21st, he issued another statement with an unbelievable screenshot and earnings numbers:

So it’s been about 12 days since the thing started and yesterday we hit the crazy number. One million dollars. That’s a lot of money. Really too much money. I’ve never had a million dollars all of a sudden.

By anyone’s measure his self-distributed, download and streaming sale of Live at the Beacon Theater was a resounding success. He made so much money (and is such an awesome and socially responsible guy) that he gave $250K to his staff as bonuses and $280K to various charities, according to his statement. I bought it, and it was well worth the $5 price knowing that the proceeds from the sale went direct to the artist.

Jim Gaffigan is going to try the same thing

Today in a statement on his website, comedian Jim Gaffigan has announced that, inspired by Louis CK, he will debut his new stand-up special Jim Gaffigan: Mr. Universe on his website at jimgaffigan.com for $5.

Gaffigan also states that he will be donating $1 for every $5 purchase to charity.

He lists his reasons:

I know I am taking a risk here. People I respect have advised me to take the safer, more traditional route with the premiere of the special. However, I am incredibly motivated by the courage of Louie to offer his fans direct access for a low price. Buyers of my special can be assured that their money will go directly to feeding and raising my four children instead of a giant corporation. I will self-produce a high quality special with all new material that will be incredibly easy to download and then you will own it. Forever. For $5. Roughly the price of five packs of Ramen Noodles. And believe me my special is going to be much better than five packs of disgusting Ramen Noodles. Gross.

At DPD we think this is an exciting trend- With “experiments” like Louis CK’s bringing in over a million dollars more and more comedians and other big name artists will look at self-distribution online. We think this will get the public used to buying digital content direct from the artists website. That will benefit every self-distributed vendor of download content as the public becomes more comfortable with buying their content from the creator and not a big media conglomerate or central media store like iTunes or Amazon.

Are these results typical? No, these are famous comedians with thousands and thousands of fans. The typical DPD vendor might have hundreds of purchases a month, but nowhere near $1M in revenue. That’s not the point though- the point is that these famous comedians are going against the established distribution model, selling their own content (just like every DPD vendor) and winning. This benefits everyone!

PS- Now if we could only get them to use DPD instead of paying $35,000 for a website that does what DPD does for tens of thousands less….

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