Louis C.K.'s latest standup show, Live at the Beacon Theater, has officially gone on sale today. Instead of pursuing traditional distribution or cable network alignment, Mr. C.K. has chosen to release his latest show as a DRM-free 1.2GB h264-encoded MP4 file via his personal website.
When discussing the mounting problems facing cable networks several weeks ago, I cited Mr. C.K.'s decision as resounding evidence of an impending shift in the industry:
Why should I go through a cable network when I can just give it directly to the people who want to see it? It’s so much easier, and it’s an interesting experiment.
Although this is just one instance of artist rebellion, I cannot help but think it will pave the way for others to do the same. Rather than muddy the waters with bureaucracy and revenue complications, Mr. C.K. has taken matters into his own hands, and offered his product in a simple, forward-thinking manner that is sure to capture the hearts and minds of his fans.
Amidst the holiday shopping season, it is refreshing to see some sensibility, forethought, and generosity from such a prominent figure. Let's hope it's representative of changes to come.