Louis C.K. to sell tickets direct to fans
Louis C.K. has announced he will start selling tickets directly to fans and will not be making use of any third party event management or distribution services. The decision happens on the heels of Amanda Palmer’s wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to self-produce a live performance.
Are these signals of a drastic change in the online event ticketing industry, or are both Louis C.K. and Amanda Palmer in privileged positions that afford them options artists of less notoriety do not have?
Louis C.K's. cutting edge comedy has made him one of the most popular entertainers in the country. Late last year Louis released the audio of his ‘Shameless’ performance as a five dollar digital download on his own website - generating $1 million dollars in sales in just 12 days.
Momentum for artists producing and selling their own work, on their own website, has been gaining traction as of late. Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead have both sold their music direct to fans without any involvement from established record companies. The subject of self distributed music is a frequent topic on Hypebot and we direct you there for an authoritative opinion on the music recording industry.
Another recent example of an artist taking control of their own fate is Amanda Palmer who made worldwide headlines with her Kickstarter project. The project's original goal was to crowdsource $100,000 for a new book of art and a few live events, something that Palmer thought she and her fans could raise. Word of the Kickstarter campaign spread like wildfire across Twitter and within days Palmer’s fans had given more than 10 times the goal amount exceeding $1.1 million in donations.
Amanda Palmer started her project on Kickstarter after not finding any traditional production companies to underwrite her art. Palmer’s shocking results mirror the success Louis C.K. had with ‘Shameless’.
An entirely new story
Artists selling MP3s directly to fans and crowd-sourcing event production costs may be indicators of a larger trend - that story is still being told.
Louis C.K.'s choice to sell tickets for his national tour directly to fans is an entirely new story, the very first being told as you read this. Louis wrote on his website about selling tickets directly:
I'm going on tour all over America, or at least some of it. Tickets for this tour are available EXCLUSIVELY here on louisck.com. Tickets are 45 dollars, every seat, every City. That includes all taxes and fees. You don't have to join anything and you don't have to hear from me again unless you want to. Just cheap tickets to see me do an all new bunch of jokes.
Unlike selling digital download from a website, something that is a relatively "set and forget" task, an artist taking control of the entire event ticket distribution process is most definitely not an easy thing to do. A national tour encompasses myriad entanglements - insurance, transportation, online ticket sales, venue deposits, event security just to name a few.
As mentioned earlier, Louis C.K. is flush with cash from the record setting sales of his 'Shameless' MP3s. It is assumed that the MP3 sales are what is being used to fund his national tour, but a proper budget alone does not guarantee success.
Every stop on the tour has its own unique circumstances for selling tickets. Where one venue has a high performance will call window, the next may not. One tour stop has a history of very well enforced anti-scalping laws, another may be rife with unscrupulous ticket hoarding and face value markup going unchecked - something we report every week with our Fee Free Friday news stories.
Louis C.K. has said his intent with selling tickets for his tour directly to fans on his own website is primarily to prevent scalping. Here's hoping this radical experiment in direct sales for a live event will end up in the Fee Free Friday win column.
Being the humorously transparent person he is, Louis will most likely share all the trials and tribulation of his upcoming tour, especially the results of selling tickets directly to fans. We have sincere admiration for Louis C.K. and Amanda Palmer and wish them great success in their independent endeavors that serve their fans best interests.
Of course, a ThunderTix account allows any artist to sell their event tickets direct to the public and to eliminate all per ticket fees. Our technology scales to serve the most obscure indie garage band up to a big-time North American tour ( Yes, you can sell tickets in Canada with us! ).
What do you think? Will we see more artists sell tickets directly to fans, eliminating the third party distribution channels? Let us know in the comments below!