I've been a fan of Aziz for a long time- I'll be buying.
But really, musicians have been doing the equivalent - selling albums at a flat/reasonable rate - on Bandcamp for years now. For most of them, being on a label is more about getting exposure in the right channels (getting reviewed on high profile sites, being in premier showcases, etc.) and showing that they live up to curated tastses, which is more difficult than the comedy world.
Exposure seems easier in comedy. A comedian can generate/distribute brand new material (jokes) on twitter or on a podcast at a clip that musicians can't compete with. Subjectively, there seems to be fewer comedians than bands, which is more amicable to cooperation.
Comedians just seem more... entrepreneurial. It would be interesting whether it's because there's less structure (existing or required) in the comedy world, or because comedy attracts more independent performers.
1. As a comedian, you have no choice BUT to get creative. Nobody is going to give you stage time as a no-name comic so your choices are either (booked) open mics or starting your own show.
2. There isn't an "agent" culture for comics like there is for bands or actors. You write your own material. You're alone on stage. You're alone every step of the way.
3. The money stinks as a comic. I can remember being paid for a show in food. FOOD. And there were limits on what I could order. At a mexican restaurant. Since there isn't a lot of money in comedy shows, every dollar you spend on getting to/from a show or paid to someone to help you book a show is almost a eat-or-pay-rent type of decision. If you go to a comedy show, buy a CD from the comic after the show. It's likely that 5 CD's sold puts more money in the pocket of the comic than whatever they earned from the club.
4. Finding another comic to share expenses is almost a losing proposition from the start. Unless you're on stage together as part of an act, it's impossible. Only headline acts can bring their own opener/feature and you aren't a headline act.
SO, to sum up, the money stinks in comedy, you can't easily achieve scale, and you need to be your own writer/agent/booker/show-runner to make a living.
To paraphrase: your first 100 jumps off the board count if you hit water.
I think we do way too much stifling as a society as it is, and a lot of that has to do with people who gave up on their dreams for a safe existence justifying their decision by ridiculing others who dare to take risks.
I think the biggest factor is the mechanics of the showbusiness industry. The top people earn most (90%) of the potential revenue. The rest get the remainder.
Stand up doesn't require much in the way of production value.
The live performers with a rep can cover a lot of production cost by selling tickets, then the video income can be mostly gravy.
'not much' for a 'decent' sounding album
This seems to be the rule in most cases. However, some exceptions include:
1. Radiohead - "In Rainbows" -- Was recorded independently by Radiohead and released under a "Pay what you want" basis along with a hard copy that included a vinyl hardcopy and CD.
2. Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero (2007)-- This album was released by Reznor as a free digital download and Reznor also released the master tracks and encouraged remixes of the work.
3. Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts 1-5 / The Slip -- Reznor released these under the "Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike" license.
These acts obviously did not get popular from releasing their music for free, but set an important precedent for releasing artistic content DRM-free.
YZ was actually the last album in Reznor's contractual obligation to Interscope. He leaked a number of tracks as part of the accompanying ARG, but the album itself wasn't free. I seem to remember him having to jump through a number of hoops to get the masters released, as well.
Also: keep in mind that Saul Williams had attempted a pay-what-you-want model with the Reznor-produced The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! prior to any of the other releases you mentioned.
He made a good amount of money, but given Louis CK is probably the most popular working comedian today, it didn't seem like ENOUGH money to justify the entire business model (assuming no one else would make as much doing the same).
But now Aziz Ansari is doing it. Jim Gaffigan has announced plans to do so as well.
I know we'll have to wait for their numbers to come in to find out if Louis CK was a fluke or a trend, but I'm really hoping I was wrong and it's the latter.
If this is the future of selling online content, sign me up.
Considering Jeff Foxworthy has sold over 15 million albums, recently had a primetime show in syndication, and managed to make three of his drinking buddies into 8-figure yearly draws, I would say Louis CK is not even close to the most popular working comedian around. He has a rabid base, yes, but I would argue he's not even a mainstream comic (ie I would bet 9/10 people off the street would not know who he is).
I think this bodes very well for those who can mobilize a few hundred thousand people. What I think will be even more interesting is how this will affect those that can only mobilize a few thousand.
This represents sort of a "high" pop-culture, which would include popular indie music acts like Arcade Fire, TV shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad, and comedians like Louis CK and Jim Gaffigan.
Am I the only one here who has never even heard of Aziz?
He's not Jeff Foxworthy, but he's certainly "mainstream", although he's certainly not the most popular comedian around.
I also like Aziz Ansari, so when I saw this, I skipped the reading part-- I skimmed the copy on my way through the checkout process to make sure everything was cool (it was) and paid my money.
I'll keep doing that as long as artists I like keep releasing stuff like this.
He released the numbers on his website after it had sold 250k "copies" within 11 days.
Production costs + website: $250k
He says that $250k was about how much he would have been paid by HBO or Comedy Central if he let them produce it. So his new model tripled his profit compared to the old model.
Which is probably why he ended up choosing to keep $220k for himself and giving the rest of the profit ($530k) to charity and to his staff.
Louis CK: "That leaves me with 220k for myself. Some of that will pay my rent and will care for my childen. The rest I will do terrible, horrible things with and none of that is any of your business. In any case, to me, 220k is enough out of a million."
One doesn't need to make Louis CK's total ROI to claim success here. Even if Aziz pockets a few hundred grand in net profit, that's nothing to sneeze at.
And the value of getting the money directly with no middlemen is substantial.
Either way, I bought that show and loved it, probably will get this too.
I would say something more along the lines that a person like Dane Cook has many more fans by the numbers and if he pursued a project like this it would potentially have done even better than CK.
"OH SHIITTTT!!!! Thanks for buying my new comedy special!!! THAT $5 IS MINE SON. Just kidding, but seriously it is."
"Confirm email (Don't Fuck This Up)"
I'm guessing they didn't AB Test profane and clean copy on the forms.
You can also measure how well your proxy stat does correspond to long-term value and adjust your expectations accordingly.
I remember last time someone linked to something similar, but they had DRM and draconian payment methods (no paypal etc).
If memory serves me well that team is ex-Boxee.
I say more power to the comedians. Submit to no one, share with no one. I wish writers could do the same.
There's no requirement for a writer to submit content to Apple (iTunes store) or Amazon (Kindle store). A writer can format documents in .mobi, .epub and .pdf files and sell them through any digital storefront (either home brewed or something like leanpub among many others)
If a writer wants the exposure from being on the Kindle Store or iTunes Store, that's another matter. But there's no requirement that a writer sign up for such a distributor.
Maybe I wasn't clear. Sure, any writer can set up a site, but then you cannot give buyers the convenience they expect with automagic downloads to a Kindle, Nook, or Kobo device. (I exclude iPad. Apple made competing eBook apps download via browser. Which is not something eInk devices can do.)
Ah, thank you, sincerely. I hadn't considered that.
Wouldn't have a sexy landing page. But would also save ~ $200k (how much Loius CK said he payed for his website).
He explains this here: https://buy.louisck.net/news
So you shoulnd't need to create artificial blocks to try to stop people from pirating. I mean, look at the humble bundle, you can just click that you don't want to pay for and download the games. But people pay anyway and they make millions off it. So why would you create artificial blocks that pisses people off?
And, while a lot of people write pretty good books, there is also material that is ... uh... not so great. And it gets in without problems.
So, yes, Amazon certainly has the power to keep books out, but so far really hasn't utilized it nearly as much as they could.
And I agree, Youtube is missing big opportunities with this sort of stuff.
It's one of the best comedies on TV right now. I'd even say that it is approaching Arrested Development-levels.
But it puzzles me why did they build their own digital delivery solution from scratch instead of using something like GumRoad?
As someone who bought both this and the Louis CK download, the difference in UX is huge. I wonder to what extent my experience is not unique and to what extent the success of Louis CK's experiment was due to the seamlessness of their website experience. These guys should probably using Stripe; I'm beyond impatience with PayPal.
Create enough value that you establish yourself as an expert in whatever your art is and then exploit secondary pursuits. I constantly refer back to Diddy getting famous with music, but also establishing himself as a partying/lifestyle expert and then making a killing on Ciroc. 50 cent did it with vitamin water and fitness, Athletes do it with endorsements.
It is the Tony Robbins model. His books didn't make him rich but they allowed him to charge 500k a speaking gig.
Your initial art is your marketing that develops your right to charge money for future art.
And Robbins failed with Breakthrough on NBC. So not all success is guaranteed even when it seems to be.
Which actually surprised me, given his infomercials made his fame.
The download is hosted on Amazon S3 where I'm barely getting 500k/s. The stream and download limits would then limit his delivery costs to ~$1.50 per customer with S3's bandwidth pricing. PayPal is taking out $0.41. He could be getting as little as $3 of each $5 for the special.
Which allowed you to buy it -- for now. See, there's a weak link in that chain. Just two weeks ago there was a huge uproar over PayPal rejecting payments for books they unilaterally and unjustifiably deemed "offensive."
And they can do that to any comedian too.
Eliminating the middleman is the whole point of these people that advertise and sell their DRM-free shows straight from their websites.
If a comedian's routine is recorded and widely disseminated, a lot of people might become fans and want to see him/her, but they're probably not going to want to see the same jokes again. The comedian will need to come up with new material.
Writing and perfecting a good comedy bit might be comparable in time and effort to writing and perfecting a good song. Anyone know?
How do these considerations affect which business model works best for different types of artists online?
Seinfeld says his method is to repeat material for years before throwing it out. Chris Rock sees his comedy specials schedule as the equivalent of an album ("like Prince"), so every tour he does completely new material. Gervais lands in the middle - enough freshness to keep things interesting but also enough old stuff to keep the crowds happy. Louis CK is constantly changing his act - if I remember correctly he says he rarely keeps a joke for more than a few shows.
I realize that this isn't going to be a new subject for anyone in an entertainment business. But as a programmer, it's not something I've thought about nearly as much.
Tolerance for old material probably varies by audience, too. Those catchphrase comedians get amazing mileage out of unbelievably scant material; enough to become fodder for other comedians. ( http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/comedy-tour/131... )
I wonder if these big-splash events where a comedian sells a clip DRM-free for a simple payment might be better suited to comedy than to music, given the more time-sensitive nature of the value of a comedy bit.
Got a Rails 500 error after paying, but just refreshing the page got me through.
The page has a humans.txt, but it looks like it's just the blank template(?)
Update: http://azizansari.com/tos says, All downloads are for use on one device only. You may keep one backup copy of the digital content downloaded from this site on any digital media of your choice.
Paying say $15 for an ebook that is nontransferrable, when the physical book is ALSO $15, is an absurdity that I can't imagine will stand the test of time. Our entire human history is on the side of the feeling that when you buy something, you can then give that particular thing away to someone else.
Current legal and market norms don't serve this basic human instinct yet, and it remains to be seen which shifts first. My money is on humans insisting to keep giving things away to their friends.
You point if fair though. I dont see why you've been down voted either.
Linking to our site
"You must not establish a link from any website that is not owned by you."
That rules out 90% of social media..
If people think it's a good idea I'll add a bunch of other fancy stuff :)
Thomass-MacBook-Pro:~ thomasknowles$ file Downloads/azizansari-dangerouslydelicious-hd.mov.crdownload
Downloads/azizansari-dangerouslydelicious-hd.mov.crdownload: ISO Media, Apple QuickTime movie
anyone feel free to step up and add anymore info.
Just bought it for $5 to re-watch!