Comedian Louis CK gave new details about his digital distribution experiment in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” Q&A session today.
CK recently made his latest performance Live at the Beacon Theater available as a DRM-free download for purchase on his website for a meager $5. Purchasing the special allows you to stream it twice in your browser, or download it twice as an unprotected MPEG 4 video file. Once downloaded, you can view the special as much as you want, put it on your smartphone, or even burn it to a DVD.
While CK declined to reveal the sales of the latest venture, he did offer some other information about the experiment.
“It’s so damn interesting though to be doing this. I feel like i have a front seat to a really cool… thing. I don’t even know what it is,” CK said. The comedian even commented on how his experiment has sparked a debate about piracy.
“To steal from someone and not feel bad, you either have to be a sociopath or view the act differently. One way is to remove ‘Someone’ from the equation. You’re not stealing from a person. Big companies do a lot to help people view them as less than human. I heard a speach by Noam Chomsky who said that corporations are like super humans. They cannot be hurt like a human can and they never die. They are not succeptible to scrutiny or accountability. this makes them more profitable. If companies want to enjoy these benifits to some degree they have to live with what else comes with being not human. you miss out on compassion, forgiveness, comraderie, empathy, trust all kinds of shit.
The other thing is I can only do this because I’m an individual and I can decide what my risks are that are acceptable and I can make my own goals for what is success. So I forwent (is that a word?) a lot of conventional routes and tried this. I am risking and there may be a celing to the success, but for me it’s okay. i feel like as of this year, I make enough money as a standup my goal now is to bring the cost down for those who buy my stuff. i really mean that. It makes me much happier. Also I did see that there might be a tremendous upswing to this. I was really excited about this material and I though it would be really cool to just put it out there myself with a little electronic hat that only takes fives and just see what happens.”
As for the future, CK said he doesn’t know if he’ll repeat the experiment for future shows. For now he’s focusing on the current project, which means more media promotion over the next few weeks and the possibility of a formal DVD further down the line.
Regardless of how the experiment turns out, it’s clear that the world is watching intently. And hopefully, we’ll start seeing more folks in the entertainment industry follow CK’s example.