Awhile back, Radiohead decided to do something different. They offered their album, In Rainbows, to fans for whatever price they deemed it worthy. The experiment was a hit. More recently, Louis C.K. decided to host his latest stand-up comedy special and offer it for $5 to fans. The download was DRM free. There was nothing to stop people from freely distributing it to friends afterwards or sharing it with anonymous users via BitTorrent or physical copies. The release was a financial hit and backed by proof presented by Louis C.K. himself. Today, Jim Gaffigan, announced his upcoming stand-up comedy special through his website.
The motives behind independent distribution are easily summed: cut out the middle man and engage fans with a very reasonable price and they’ll be more than willing to buy and make the release viral. Even better, if you tell fans part of the proceeds go towards a great cause, they’ll think of the offering as a bonus. That’s what Jim Gaffigan decided to do by donating $1 from every purchase to The Bob Woodruff Foundation.
Even though independent distribution is the only option for smaller names in the entertainment industry, I applaud Gaffigan and others before and after him for taking this risk and embracing the internet as a dominant distribution platform. It will be fun to see the finished form of this project, as Gaffigan will be self-producing most of the recording.
Jim Gaffigan has been in the comedy game for quite some time. If you’ve never heard his bit on Hot Pockets, you haven’t lived. What makes Gaffigan’s brand of humor even more accessible is that it’s generally family friendly. Using quirky observations and silly voices, this special is sure to be a laugh riot. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him twice and highly recommend you check him out if he’s in your area.