Louis C.K. pulled in over $1 million in 12 days when he first sold a special, “Live at the Beacon Theater,” directly in 2011. Now fans can buy his latest special, “Louis C.K. Oh My God,” for $5 from his website. It originally aired on HBO (s HBO) in April. The download includes an additional 12 minutes of footage that never appeared on cable.
The comedian explains the decision to make the video DRM-free:
“Look, I don’t really get the whole ‘torrent’ thing. I don’t know enough about it to judge either way. But I’d just like you to consider this: I made these files extremely easy to use against well-informed advice. I was told that it would be easier to torrent the way I made it, but I chose to do it this way anyway, because I want it to be easy for people to watch and enjoy this video in any way they want without ‘corporate’ restrictions.
Please bear in mind that I am not a company or a corporation. I’m just some guy. I paid for the production and posting of this video with my own money. I would like to be able to post more material to the fans in this way, which makes it cheaper for the buyer and more pleasant for me. So, please help me keep this being a good idea. I can’t stop you from torrenting; all I can do is politely ask you to pay your five little dollars, enjoy the show, and let other people find it in the same way.”
Other comedians have also tried the model. Comedy Central sells a number of specials through its website for $5 each. Aziz Ansari’s upcoming special “Buried Alive” will air first on Netflix (s NFLX) next month, and then Ansari will sell it on his website for $5.