And I thought Elvis Costello was smart.

Actually, Costello is a marketing genius, but Louis CK may be even smarter. The everything-I-say-is-dirty comedian started selling his latest concert film a couple of days ago. Only at his web site. For a whopping five dollars.

Mr. CK will make a fortune, and is slapping around big media companies in the process—which I’m guessing will make it into one of his comedy routines soon.

Hey Louis: wanna talk business change, one cantankerous NYC boy to another?

The media business and its resistance to business change being something I’ve talked about here so many times, so my looking at Louis CK this morning is hardly a surprise. But when I heard about his scheme to sell videos this morning via AllThingsD, it made me remember an appearance Louis CK did on Conan a few weeks back:

In that appearance, Mr. CK said something incredibly honest: He has a Twitter account that he uses for no other reason that to market his business. Literally, Louis CK follows NOBODY. He uses social media, but thinks it’s stupid. I can relate.

Commentary about social media notwithstanding, today’s post is on business change in media. There are a few components to Louis CK’s buy-direct-from-me-and-only-from-me sales strategy that we need to examine.

First, five dollars may sound cheap, but remember that Louis CK is keeping pretty much the entire five dollars from each sale of his Louis CK at The Beacon Theater concert video. If he sold the video through traditional channels at a retail price of fifteen or twenty dollars with production, marketing, and distribution partners to split revenue with his take would be … pretty close to nothing.

Second, this concert was recorded on November 12, and went on sale at Louis CK’s web site just four weeks later, on December 10.  If the concert was pressed to DVD, packaged, and distributed, there’s no way it could have come out that quickly.

Then, there’s the real business change:

Louis CK is making it very easy to download and redistribute his concert film. There’s no extra software needed to play your downloaded copy of the Louis CK concert video, no copy protection, nothing to stand in the way of you enjoying your purchase or using it on more than one device. In fact, it’s already available for people who want to download it free, for example, here.

Of course, Louis CK and his team are hoping you won’t get the “shared” copy. And in deference to his completely reasonable five dollar price and my respect for Louis CK’s business acumen I’m not going to tell you what you need to know to make what you download at that link work. I’m also not going to tell you how to stay off this web site that’s tracking what you download.

In fact, to my amazement, the person who put up that “steal this movie” link has included a note that asks you to PAY for the movie even if you download it for free.

You never see that. But Louis CK is creating enough respect for himself by pursuing this business-change-that-benefits-him-even-more-than-it-does-you that people are … talking. And doing the right thing.

Louis, I’d love to talk. But whether that happens or not, I’m hoping people who read this will support you.

Real business change. Louis CK, you get it.

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