Stand-up comedian Louis CK has made over $1 million in 12 days with his latest special that he funded, filmed and edited himself, releasing the video online without region restrictions or any digital rights management (DRM) for just $5.
Within 4 days of launching the video, the man behind such hits as Lucky Louis, Louie and Pootie Tang (it might not have ended up how he wanted it but I loved it) made $500,000, proving the nay sayers wrong right off the bat. Louis let his fans know that other people in the industry said he was an idiot to be selling his content without DRM. They claimed it would make it easier to pirate.
What those people fail to realise - and Louis clearly saw - is that content is going to be pirated. Use the hardest copy protection you can afford, but it will be hacked apart and end up on torrent and sharing sites. The only way to beat it is compete against it directly. By providing a high quality product, for a very affordable price, with a great download speed in SD and HD variants, Louis removed almost every reason pirates have for illegally downloading media. And it shows.
Cementing his good-guy status with the online community, Louis also took to reddit to discuss with users why they pirated goods, as well as any other questions people might have; though he didn't stop there.
In his most recent announcement on his website, Louis discussed how things have been going with sales over the past few days.
"Hi. 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. and since we're all sharing this experience and since it's really your money, I wanted to let you know what I'm doing with it."
He continued on, saying that while the special has made a million, Louis wouldn't be keeping it all. He said he'd be "breaking the million into four pieces."
"The first 250k is going to pay back what the special cost to produce and the website to build. The second 250k is going back to my staff and the people who work for me on the special and on my show. I'm giving them a big fat bonus."
"The third 280k is going to a few different charities. They are listed below in case you'd like to donate to them also. Some of these i learned about through friends, some were recommended through twitter."
The final $220k is his, understandably. He also said that he wouldn't be telling anyone what he'd be doing beyond paying rent, as "The rest I will do terrible, horrible things with."
Hopefully Mr CK will continue this type of practice with his future specials and content, perhaps leading others to follow suite.
He'll certainly be getting my $5.