It also seemed strange that he is pre-announcing this release. I think this initial post will be his biggest shot at publicity, and it is peculiar to have no call-to-action (i.e. check out my related comedy if you've never heard of me, go ahead and pre-order it now, etc.). Right now there is nowhere for the reader to go after finishing the post (his "videos" tab isn't representative of his standup comedy) and there is very little for a reader to share about this story besides "Somebody is planning on doing something like Louis CK did."
I'll be impressed if I remember or hear about this again in April, when the special is actually released.
I'm not sure what you are saying my hidden reason as a consumer is for wanting $5 drm free stuff. Is it something more?
I think a better approach would have been him coming out and saying he's going to subscribe to Louis C.K.'s new business model because it just makes sense to consumers, and it makes sense financially to him, and he's ALL IN.
Since this is only the second time a (well known, mainstream) comedian has tried this, a failure or even just a poorer-than-expected showing could make a lot of other entertainers write Louis CK off as being a one-time thing. They'll assume he succeeded as a novelty and will be more wary of trying it in the future.
We need Gaffigan to succeed to show that the model is repeatable in order to convince others to try it. If he fails, it will be that much harder to convince others that they're not better off just following the status quo.
Just because the general public doesn't know of the special, and therefore doesn't know of it's failure, other entertainers will. It's their job - the business side of their job - to keep up to date with these sorts of things.
I'm not claiming that this is the case, but if some other comedian is ready to release on Friday (and therefore become the second significant person to do it), Gaffigan's pre-announcement may actually be part of a well planned strategy.
I want him to succeed. I want to be able to watch a trailer of his video, think it is hilarious, go through a one minute payment process, and have the video to watch instantly right after that in whatever format I want. If that is Gaffigan's plan, why bother pre-announcing it? Why not just wait till he has something to sell?
Still, I agree that Jim Gaffigan is presenting the copyright argument in a very un-savvy way. Louis C.K. seemed to get it.
What HNer is going to setup the simple solution for all the comedians that want to copy Louis CK but don't want to figure it out and spend $30k?
Transcoding + S3 + Stripe + Reporting dashboard + handholding with a flat 5%-20% fee or something.
It could even be an iTunes-like competitor. Web-based, video content, DRM-free. Enter your credit card once and you can easily buy all the different specials. Maybe the price tag would be a good angle: justfive.com, afiver.com, etc. Then again maybe they'd want it to be purely white label.
Would be cool if the next guy said: "Alright, I saw what Louis CK and Gaffigan did. I'm going to put my new special up on justfive.com"
Someone do it!
You hire people who know what the fuck their doing. No one here knows all the edge cases and planning that went into it. It looks super simple, but that is the brilliance of it. It looks effortless because it so well achieved. It's disappointing to me that HN members would dismiss this as just combining a bunch of commodity components and calling it a day. Just because you fancy that you could churn this out in a week of working 14 hour days with your buddy like you do for your startup doesn't mean that people doing this professionally shouldn't charge $250/hr to do it. Remember, they have no upside, and should charge a proper fee for their expertise.
The point is that it shouldn't cost every comedian who wants to follow Louis CK's lead $30k to setup their own site. It would be a total waste of time and money, not to mention limit the number of people capable of emulating him.
Think about why Shopify, Weebly, Blogger, Wordpress exist. Every person who wanted an online store or web site of any kind used to have to pay people thousands of dollars to get a custom one made.
And honestly, given the results, they undercharged.
I don't know, maybe you'll be right in the long run, but I'd bet against you being right.
I'll put it differently: Louis CK will end up being more important to the Internet than the Internet will be important to Louis CK.
is not a serious question, esp. in light of tptacek's laundry list which you are replying to - it's really up to you to make a positive case rather than up to the universe to make a negative one; and:
>how many [of the thousands and thousands of CK-level entertainers over a hundred years] have done anything resembling this recent special?
is not a serious argument, though it seems to be a declaration that selling his own movie has made him the greatest entertainer (at his level) in history, which is funny.
2. "We could totally develop this site for you. It'll probably cost around $30k and take a 6-8 weeks. Trust us."
In both cases it's going to require salesmanship but I'd feel a lot more confident about selling #1. And of course once you've had a few successful clients #1 get's even easier -- you just point to them.
That it worked and held up under load is probably going to keep them from even asking if it could have been cheaper.
They used PayPal + S3 to do Louis CK's site. This kind of thing isn't very technically challenging anymore with the infrastructure that's available now.
Just as today there do exist companies that press CDs and companies that box CDs and companies that ship CDs from one warehouse to many retailers yet the market is truly driven by those who can take an artist from material to digital master. Everyone downstream is commoditized and generally gets or loses contracts based on shmoozing rather than merit.
I'm sure there's money in being the digital equivalent of the plucky independent CD printer/boxer/shipper. But you're going to have a hell of a time getting business from people who don't have a digital master yet (and most won't), regardless of how attractive your rates may be. And in the process of those people getting a digital master - they're likely going to be steered toward the distribution services recommended by those people who helped them create and promote that master.
Integrate with PayPal or Google Checkout and it could be huge.
He is doing it wrong.
"the physical sales of my books are growing since my readers post them in P2P sites."
Don't get me wrong, it's good to see this stuff happening but I think the more we see of it the less effective it will be for the artists and they may have a tougher time doing so well.
If you think about it, you can do a stand up comedy with a cheap at home or at a bar with friends. And upload it to YouTube as a private video and/or use existing platforms to sell video.
They could save a lot. They're only not doing this because they just started taking baby steps away from the existing model. Plus they don't know any better, Louis spent a fortune just to setup that simple website. He could have used existing platforms. If he doesn't know how to use those, then here's a startup opportunity.
The deal is "professionally shot/produced/edited video shot at in a venue with good lighting and sound, in front of a live audience". You're not replicating that for $500.
And any digital publisher worth their domain name is going to offer promotional services.
Minecraft was a huge hit with that model, the others less so.
Delivery novelty may account for a fraction of the overall effect - it's certainly not the central reason for a commercial success.
Minecraft was sold as a preorder when in Alpha, with buyers expecting to shape the future direction of the product as it gets "made". This worked in that case, but not in the iso zombie mess case.
With these comedy sales, the novelty again is in the manner of selling. One big shot, some mob mentality, hype and Reddit. Everyone sharing the moment. The hope is a big pay day, but each time there's fewer people who haven't seen/felt the "trick"/emotion before.
I bought it because I wanted to play it. In its current form.
Yep. Nine Inch Nails was very successful. Saul Williams' Reznor-produced album, released through the same mechanism and heavily promoted to Nine Inch Nails fans (advantages that wouldn't be available to most) didn't sell very well.
And really, this is nothing all that new. Musicians have been creating their own labels for decades, often selling as an imprint to larger labels.
I think the key takeaway here is the distribution model, not necessarily the organizational model. The Gaffigans and Radioheads and Louie CKs of the world don't have the organizational baggage that the big content producers have. They also don't have the supposed things to lose that the big producers have. So, they're freer to experiment.
I hope, and I'm sure many media consumers agree with me, that as these big acts begin to diverge from their former masters and build their own organizations, that the distribution model that survives long term is the one that doesn't ultimately attempt to screw over us consumers.
Time will tell, I suppose.
Congratulations for being the first larger-name comedian to jump on the bandwagon. However, I'd like to offer up a great big "Go Fuck Yourself" for not getting why Louis C.K. did it, and what he ultimately learned. Your 2-months-prior-to-release announcement clearly shows that you saw that Louis made money, and you're going to make a half-assed effort to kinda-sorta emulate what he did. And if you fail (because you don't get how to market on the internet), you'll blame it on Pirates.
You're an idiot because you don't understand the difference between copying and stealing.
Stealing requires you to incur a loss of property. When a file is copied/downloaded, the original still exists.
When you say that a Pirate is stealing your property, you make an ass of yourself to anyone who understands the difference between moving a file from one folder to another, and copy/paste.
You're not even losing any intellectual property, because you can't claim ownership of any copy you did not originally create.
Gabe Newell has taught many businessmen that Pirates are merely underserved customers. Treating them like criminals leads to stupid shit like Metallica suing their fans for downloading their songs, and losing all credibility with anyone that doesn't work for Viacom or Paramount.
And fuck your military contribution. Doug Stanhope once said that most people that are in the military kinda/sorta want to kill someone. War is an outlet for those people to legally murder people, usually of a different skin color. If I give you $5 for your show, you'd better not donate a DIME of my money to them.
Good Job raising publicity. Many of us at http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3595285 are making fun of how little you understand this business model right now. Maybe in April you'll get some of this publicity you just wasted with a pre-announcement.
It probably won't be approved. That's fine. there's no other way to contact him on his website. Another sign that he's clearly not in control of this thing, and is just bandwagoning.
On the other hand I'm not really sure about the way Gaffigan lays it out, which is not making me want to spend $5.
It shows you that it's not about: price, protection, or availability. Many times it's just because people want it for free and are not willing to part with their hard-earned money.
I also think that most people bought this only because they wanted to prove to the world that it would work (DRM-less and cheap media).
When it becomes a popular thing to do, artists will see the reason why you need to charge a little more+have some sort of protection in the first place. DRM and other protection schemes were invented after the result of mass piracy.
The problem is that whatever the reason is, there isn't any way to stop it (without taking away too many freedoms). It's too late. So, the answer for software is to only make services (and charge a monthly fee) and other industries need to figure out ways to change their business models and use the fact that people will pirate it to their advantage.
I think the number of people concerned with making a gesture to push some political agenda about DRM is dwarfed by the number of people who like Louis C.K.'s stuff from HBO and FX and think $5 is a great deal for a 60 minute special.
It's entirely about price, (lack of) protection, and availability.
There will always be those who pirate it – ignore them. How do you make the most money from people willing to pay? Make it cheap, let them own it, make it easy to obtain.