Comedian Louis C.K. struck gold last year by taking the risky path alone to fund and distribute a stand-up comedy show online, bypassing all the usual traditional business routes. If it failed for any reason, he'd be hundreds of thousands in the hole, but it caught on in a massive way, far more than he expected. Now he's hoping the Internet will do the same thing when it comes to tickets for his live shows.
In an email sent to those on his mailing list, he explained that he is tired of all the fees and scalping that plague online ticket sales. Pricing his tickets lower just meant scalpers bought up more, and meanwhile ticket sellers were tacking on huge markups. So he figured if he can produce a comedy show with his own team, why not organize a tour?
He explains in a long and characteristically profane email that is clearly unedited, if only because of the number of typos:
My goal here is that people coming to see my shows are able to pay a fair price and that they be paying just for a ticket. Not also paying an exhorbanant fee for the privalege of buying a ticket.Tickets across the board, everywhere, are 45 dollars. That's what you'll actually pay. In every case, that will be less than anyone has actually paid to see me (after ticket charges) in about two years and in most cases it's about half of what you paid last year.
The benefits are that people can see him for cheaper, scalpers can be dealt with more efficiently, and he doesn't get angry emails from people.
One thing it doesn't get him is more money: he pays the sales tax on your ticket, so it costs $45 regardless of where you live, and he had to book at some new venues that might not be as big or established as the old ones. But he says he's more interested in reaching more people now, and "Either way, I still make a whole lot more than my grandfather who taught math and raised chickens in Michigan."
Tour dates and links to buy can be found at Louis C.K.'s site. The rest of the email really is not suitable for reprint here, but fans of the comedian may enjoy it, so you can read it here if you like.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website is coldewey.cc.