Profile
Search
Register
Log in
Louis CK makes $1 million on a $5 downloadable special
View previous topic | View next topic >

Post new topic Reply to topic
Strange Famous Forum > Hall of Fame

Author Message
Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2000
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
 Reply with quote  

The reason Rogan would/will be able to pull it off is because of the particular relationship he has cultivated with his audience, mostly through the podcasts.
Post Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:40 am
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
anomaly
Loserface


Joined: 22 May 2008
Posts: 2577
Location: DFW, TX
 Reply with quote  

or he could pull it off with his huge neck
Post Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:01 am
 View user's profile Send private message
laurapalmer



Joined: 10 Jul 2002
Posts: 1474
 Reply with quote  

Seems like this conversation is extending into the territory of why it won't work.

It seems pretty hard to determine that things would work for Louis because of the type of audience. I don't totally dismiss it, but seems hard to figure. It seems to me, that it is more a product of volume of fans.

Certainly the main thing is if you think about his track record, and number of viewers for his show, that is a big difference than a club comic or someone that doesn't have 20 years plus in comedy. Could a ray romano or seinfeld have/or could still do it? Sure thing. And I would think Ray romano fans are not the type of audience you would expect to make a purchase. But when you have millions of viewers...you figure you get good and bad in that.

Granted, Louie is still a little cultish, but you are still talking a million or so viewers on average (not counting internet/netflix/etc)

Seems like a quarter of your average viewing audience is a little high, but still, figure something like a seinfeld who had 76 million viewers for his final show...man...those numbers would make it viable.

On the flip side, take someone like Rogan, sure...because his ufc work, news radio, and fear factor have millions of viewers cooked in. Let alone his last one hour special (1.1 million viewers) or his podcast numbers.

Talking about Rogan or someone like that just illustrates again, most comics won't have the luxury of this model. Also, let's not forget that Louis states that he put 250k into the website and distribution model.

This isn't terribly viable for 95% of comics.
Post Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:03 am
 View user's profile Send private message
Sarcastro



Joined: 27 Sep 2002
Posts: 3281
 Reply with quote  

I haven't read all the posts in this thread but....

Is a mil really a lot? For Louis CK? We're talking about arguably the biggest name in comedy right now, one of the hottest people in the business. You don't have to know stand up comedy to know Louis CK.

I'm certain he could've made 10 times that with a deal through some big company. And sure, he'll probably make a good deal more when he sells the rights to be shown on TV and such, but still, it doesn't even seem like it's worth it for him. And if it's not financially worth it for him (or even if he somehow ends up making just as much as what a company would've paid him), why would it possibly work for someone less famous and culturally accepted?
Post Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:40 pm
 View user's profile Send private message
Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21558
 Reply with quote  

He has done four comedy specials before this. Two for HBO and two for Showtime. He said the most money he's seen from those specials is about $250k which is paid up front and then, for some reason I don't quite understand, he sees no additional payment. Not even in residuals. So, for him to make a 1M profit in just one week, that's a big deal. And, of course, where he'll see a bulk of his other income will be on the road.
Post Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:57 pm
 View user's profile Send private message
Sarcastro



Joined: 27 Sep 2002
Posts: 3281
 Reply with quote  

Wow, that's very surprising. But ya I guess than he has found something that not only gives him complete authority over his work but makes even more money for him in the short and long term.

Good for him.....and us really. That download cost me $5 while the DVD that I probably would have bought to support him would've cost me $20 at least.
Post Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:02 pm
 View user's profile Send private message
Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21558
 Reply with quote  

Sage Francis wrote:
It's really annoying when a supremely talented and highly popular artist successfully pulls off something innovative like this and the general public translates it into something that goes like:

"See, why don't they ALL just do that. Pfff. It CAN be done. See??"


https://twitter.com/#!/memorandommusic/status/155355970929827840
Post Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:37 pm
 View user's profile Send private message
tommi teardrop



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
Posts: 2215
Location: Las Vegas
 Reply with quote  

Do you think paying someone personally to film and edit your show and putting it for sale on this site is a ridiculous suggestion?
Post Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:17 pm
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
jakethesnake
guy who cried about wrestling being real


Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 6310
Location: airstrip one
 Reply with quote  

I think it's more the issue of covering the $250k price tag (or whatever) with the hope that it's recouped in sales.
Post Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:26 pm
 View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
tommi teardrop



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
Posts: 2215
Location: Las Vegas
 Reply with quote  

Well yeah, I think the production value should probably correlate to the size of one's audience. I thought that was a given. I don't think a Sage concert DVD and a Kanye concert DVD would be produced at the same cost.

I don't know how talented or successful these guys are but they have $30k to fuck around with based on a kickstarter.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1116146722/poi-dog-pondering-live-concert-film-dvd-double-alb?ref=live
Post Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:31 pm
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21558
 Reply with quote  

tommi teardrop wrote:
Do you think paying someone personally to film and edit your show and putting it for sale on this site is a ridiculous suggestion?


Yes. For many reasons. But the main one is that this is something people think we could (or SHOULD) do without having a concept of the risk or investment involved. And what's the demand? How many people are going out of pocket en masse to purchase a music group's performance via a digital medium? It doesn't translate quite as well as stand up comedy. I might even go as far as saying that stand up comedy thrives in that medium. Apples and oranges, mang.
Post Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:51 pm
 View user's profile Send private message
tommi teardrop



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
Posts: 2215
Location: Las Vegas
 Reply with quote  

I guess that's why I find kickstarter so interesting. You are able to gauge the demand and eliminate the risk by presenting the funding as a presale for a digital download, a physical DVD, a ticket to the show, a ticket with all merch, a concert microphone, a production credit, etc.

I don't know. It seems that with any business venture will come with risk. If someone is going to have to take the risk, it seems like using a site like kickstarter to fund it rather than hedging your bet by giving away a % of the sales to the company that fronts the whole thing could be a cool idea.

I ain't trying to tell anyone how to run their business though. Just thinking out loud. Might be a cool experiment.
Post Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:11 pm
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21558
 Reply with quote  

Don't even get me started on kickstarter. I can't continue this conversation. Haha. Simply can't stomach it.
Post Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:36 pm
 View user's profile Send private message
Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2000
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
 Reply with quote  

The important point for me is that the break-even cost has gotten a lot lower in the past five to ten years than it ever used to be.

On the production side, advances in digital video and audio have been a revelation, particularly during editing and later post-production phases. The up-front equipment cost required to do this kind of work has fallen to the point where it's genuinely feasible for a guy like Louis CK to own his own production company. Cameras like the Red Digital line are still out of the price range for consumers but are capable of producing professional-grade photo and video for about a tenth the cost of the cameras that would have been previously used to do the same thing. Miniaturization of the components also means that these cameras can go into places that their predecessors could not, meaning that more things can be shot on location by small crews rather than on constructed sound-stage sets, etc. Lower costs for insurance, fewer employees required throughout the production, etc.

Taking professional-quality audio directly from a venue soundboard for use in concert footage doesn't require equipment much more specialized than a laptop. My understanding is that it used to require a van full of equipment.

On the distribution side, technologies like Amazon Web Services pretty much turn the hosting and delivery into a pay-as-you-go proposition. You still have some up-front costs for people to run the solution, but it's now possible for someone with no significant data-center presence or hardware capital to architect a site that sells digital media such that their costs to sell a product are incremental with the number of units they sold. Even five years ago when inexpensive hosting had already been commonplace for a while, the hosting was being sold in month-to-month contracts in large incremental chunks, meaning that you could get into sweet spots where demand for your product was too high to support on the existing equipment but the next step up in capacity would erase your entire profit margin. This was especially true because access to horizontal scaling technologies like distributed filesystems and enterprise-grade load balancing were almost always gated by huge up-front cost and contract commitments.

Louis is on the leading edge, definitely; his production deal with FX has afforded him opportunities above and beyond what most comics or musicians currently have. He also lucked out enormously, and has been clear that he understands that in his communications about the Beacon Theater show's success. But DIY is going pro. People like Sage are already using a lot of these same breakthroughs in different ways, particularly the production of music videos and in direct-to-consumer distribution of digital music.

Over a long enough timeline, the thing that just cost Louis CK a quarter of a million dollars to do is going to be doable for a few grand. Hardware keeps getting cheaper, and we keep being able to fix more in software. At some point the question of risk stops being about break-even and starts being about opportunity cost.

In fact, I think we might already be there. I've seen some of the concert footage that was taken at Soundset and distributed on YouTube by Rhymesayers. They already have, or are able to rent, the technical capability to produce this kind of thing. The digital distribution side isn't hard to hire any more. It's just a question of whether there's a business model there or not.

Kickstarter isn't the answer. It's an attempt to fix the opportunity cost problem by giving customers the chance to conditionally pre-order something that might never exist. It assumes that the reasons not to attempt something are all associated with monetary risk--and that a 50% (or whatever) cut of the startup funds are worth the chance to eliminate that risk. Even if that assumption is acceptable (and it often isn't, for a lot of reasons) there are other kinds of risk and other kinds of opportunity cost that a model like that can't mitigate.

This isn't just about whether people are going to pirate the music, of course. I don't think it would be possible to distribute something like that without cleared samples, litigation insurance, some decent mechanism of distributing royalties to performers, etc. I suspect it's the same reason why something like Sad Clown Bad Dub 4 or the Life is Easy DVD never showed up in the same retail channels as the official albums, and the same reason why Slug hinted that Atmosphere switched to sampling work-for-hire performances shortly after Watch Out got licensed for a shoe commercial. Some products have _no_ break-even point because the influx of additional money results in attention the business model can't tolerate.

Again, though: I don't really have a stake in whether or not a particular artist can successfully market a particular live performance using Louis CK's business model. I'm a relentless incrementalist more than I am a rap fan. I'm interested in the accelerating convergence of technologies that made that business model successful where it would not have been even a few years ago. I'm interested in what will happen in five more years, in ten. I want to know what business plan is going to gross a surprise million dollars but would have been laughable today.

(TL;DR: In one last time before the thread lock...)
Post Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:17 pm
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
tommi teardrop



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
Posts: 2215
Location: Las Vegas
 Reply with quote  

I think the key is, that no model is going to be the answer for everyone. If someone needs to mitigate their risk and own their masters/royalties by paying kickstarter and amazon 5% each, that might be a better model for them than handing over masters and royalties to a company that takes the risk, fronts the whole thing and then charges a higher price to consumers because of the cost it takes to market that product to the masses and generate more profit.

Whenn we talk about these models, it's good to point out the problems, but the real question should be, "does this model offer anything more beneficial or detrimental to the artist than the existing system?"

I get equally frustrated at the status quo being silently justified by scoffing at any new model and acting like any mention of these new models lacks the knowledge of the nuance of business.

The way it is, most people still buy into the idea that they need an entity with a shitload of money to finance their project in order to reduce the risk that self financing would pose. It's not just art, its everything in our culture. We need the rich to take a risk on us. And they can take that risk because the % they are rewarded in the long run is high enough to outweigh any risk. And then the consumer is charged more to make up for that risk and the costs involved in mass promotion. Money making money. Agents, publicists, marketing, barf.

I am interested in any model that moves away from that, even if it is flawed and only applicable to a portion of the market.
Post Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:46 pm
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Post new topic Reply to topic
Jump to:  
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
All times are GMT - 6 Hours.
The time now is Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:52 am
  Display posts from previous:      


Powered by phpBB: © 2001 phpBB Group
Template created by The Fathom
Based on template of Nick Mahon