Okay, Louis CK isn’t literally The Man, the all-powerful individual that watches over the business world, keeps everything moving, making money and more importantly us making money for him, but his recent twists on how the entertainment industry works are noteworthy and have many industry heavyweights taking hard notice.
Back in November 2011 he shot a standup special, Live at the Beacon Theatre, and then sold it exclusively online, directly from his website for US$5 a pop. What many thought was a huge gamble and possible career-ender ended up grossing more than US$1 million in just 11 days. Kudos to him for bypassing the big cable networks, traditional distribution channels and showing that quality stuff can be done a different way. He’s likely to have made far more money from the endeavor too as he reportedly covered all production costs, gave staff a bonus and donated more than US$200,000 to charity. Not bad for a guy that up until a few years ago was largely unknown to anyone but hardcore standup followers.
Last week it was reported that CK’s doing it again, this time selling tickets for his upcoming tour exclusively online via his website. He’s elected to bypass big boys like Ticketmaster, keeping full control of his tour and ticket prices down. All seats, regardless of venue are US$45 – period, including all taxes, etc.
What CK is doing and proving, is that artists can create a strong, personal bond with their fans, while retaining control of their craft. Ya, he might not be making as many millions as he could but it’s clearly not where his moral compass is set. Imagine, not putting a price on your work, or letting a lack of money in your pocket control your destiny, instead maintaining creative control and total integrity of one’s craft. Louis CK is The Man.