Louis C.K. posted a statement on his website yesterday regarding his latest special “Live From the Beacon Theatre” claiming that he made around $200,000 in profit. He explained further that he probably could have made more money up front had he gone with some network or production company, but, in this way, he removed most of the filters that separate the artist from their fans/audience. In fact, anything that won’t directly kill him from sheer exhaustion, C.K. will do himself. He’s written, performed, directed, and edited this entire special. What C.K. is doing is revolutionary in the business of artists and, perhaps for the casual tone that has been taken with this move or the fact that his last special came out within this calendar year along with his critically acclaimed TV series, several people aren’t taking enough notice of how vertically integrated of a brand Louis C.K. is.
Someone known as “atndigcrk” (or, as C.K. might say, “ditch digging piece of shit”) especially doesn’t appreciate CK’s glorious experiment, as quoted right here. In putting “Live From the Beacon Theatre” on Pirate Bay for illegal download, “atndigcrk” explained why he acted against CK’s wishes:
“yea its the new one yea i kinda feel bad putting it here but people like louis ck gotta realize without torrents and the net he wouldnt be anywhere bc honestly louis i know ur here and i know u mite be mad at me but u gotta realize not everyone has paypal , not everyone has credit cards, some people use net lounges, some have barely money for food, art = comedy should be shared with the mass , and Believe me u can judge the popularity more from the torrent downloads then the paypal sales, also if people like it , its easier to buy on there ipad/ipod or personal/work computers…more buzz = more fales Hope you understand louie sorry“
I’m sure you were probably mumbling incoherently while reading that because you couldn’t get the desired combination of curse words out of your mouth, but this is clearly human rationalization almost at its worst, not to mention horrible spelling and grammar.
Right now, as an aggregate form, comedy is changing. It’s getting better. Tastes are becoming more sophisticated, and new methods of distribution are allowing for comedians, writers, and others to connect to their fans more directly. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and YouTube have created exposure for comedians that wasn’t previously available, and it’s made comedy amazing. Even the Nerdist’s own upcoming stand-up special is a great look into the next wave of folks poised to take over the comedy world (that line-up is pretty damn good). However, none of these examples involve directly enabling making a viable living or some sort of stable business model.
“Beacon,” on the other hand, is exactly that. Sure, $200,000 isn’t the higher figure he could have gotten from Comedy Central or HBO or maybe even Fuel TV (they did Chris Fairbanks’ special), but it’s the start of something that could end up paying as much directly (there’s that word again) to the artist. With so many TV programs and films about the entertainment industry, the existence of middle men such as agents, executives, and the like is common knowledge. Still, the amount and reality of their power and discretion over what’s to be made is staggering and will, for the most part, never be apparent to most people. If it was, most people might stop watching most of what’s on television or at their local multiplex and exercise their freedom of choice to go somewhere else to watch what they really want.
The actions of people like “atndigcrk” are what put a hold on this process from taking place or even happening at all. It’s not the argument that the studio is still going to make money or the incredibly ill-conceived notion of “I wasn’t going to buy it anyway, so…”, which, by the way, is probably the worst motivation for stealing. Also, comedy is not music in that people, without even the necessity of an independent study to verify so, will not listen to a comedy bit the same amount of times as a song they possess. The issue here is that comedy, and, in a way, art have a chance to benefit both sides more than they already do by removing the obstacles between the person or people who create it and the people who watch, listen, and enjoy it.
So, in short, don’t fucking steal from Louis C.K.