15_Pig Newton

For Louis C.K. selling funny directly to fans.

“How many advantages can one person have? I’m a white man!” says comedian-actor-writer-director Louis C.K., whose production company, Pig Newton, sees benefits as well. But not just for C.K.; Pig Newton has pioneered a new business model for artists to do what they love, reach fans, and still make cash. Advantage: everyone.

  • Late in 2011, C.K. self-released a stand-up special on his website for $5, selling hundreds of thousands of copies (rare for a comedy special). Later, he sold the special to FX.
  • The $5 download model was copied by a number of other performers in 2012, including C.K. himself, who used his site to sell 55,000 (also rare!) copies of comedian Tig Notaro’s remarkable performance about her cancer diagnosis.
  • C.K. sold tickets for his 2012 tour directly to fans for a flat $45 each. The one catch: “Some of these rules may be a pain in your ass”—like no scalping for a higher price. Even Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard cheered.
  • He flipped the script late last year, selling his 2013 comedy special to HBO, which will air it before he again sells it directly to fans for $5.

[Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images]

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