On June 25th Louis C.K. announced he would be selling tickets for his new comedy tour exclusively through his website, bypassing services like Ticketmaster, in order to lower ticket costs for his fans by roughly 50%. He is reducing his projected income from the tour in order to make this possible.
Historically, direct sales have been difficult for performers to accomplish. Distribution networks for tickets, video, audio and books required massive – and often completely distinct – infrastructures. Sure you could sell a DVD (or cassette) at your shows but that was no match, financially, for selling in major outlet like Tower Records (RIP).
Today the internet and social media have completely redefined this landscape. Sites like TicketLeap and PayLoadz, along with Twitter and Facebook, have made it possible for the average, creative Joe or Jane to sell access to content outside of classic distribution channels.
This announcement by Louis C.K. represents a blow to distributors. He and other major performers like Aziz Ansari are beginning to prefer direct customer interaction because:
They can offer lower prices and build loyalty in their fanbase.
They can engage their fans with new communication management tools (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit).
Like so many brands that have found success in digital and social media, these performers are reducing costs and increasing loyalty in one fell swoop.