Louis CK Keeps Experimenting: Now Bringing The Direct-To-Fan Approach To Ticket Sales

from the no-hidden-fees dept

We've written a lot about Louis CK since the huge success of his direct-to-fan sales strategy for the video from his last tour, and he continues to be one of the best examples of how being open, human and awesome is an important part of success these days. Now, while other comedians are following in those footsteps, he's continuing to innovate: yesterday he announced that tickets for his new tour will be sold direct to fans, exclusively through his website, just like the videos. There are all sorts of benefits for fans, and all sorts of detriments for scalpers (his two core motivations):

Making my shows affordable has always been my goal but two things have always worked against that. High ticket charges and ticket re-sellers marking up the prices. Some ticketing services charge more than 40% over the ticket price and, ironically, the lower I've made my ticket prices, the more scalpers have bought them up, so the more fans have paid for a lot of my tickets.

By selling the tickets exclusively on my site, I've cut the ticket charges way down and absorbed them into the ticket price. To buy a ticket, you join NOTHING. Just use your credit card and buy the damn thing. opt in to the email list if you want, and you'll only get emails from me.

Also, you'll see that if you try to sell the ticket anywhere for anything above the original price, we have the right to cancel your ticket (and refund your money). this is something I intend to enforce. There are some other rules you may find annoying but they are meant to prevent someone who has no intention of seeing the show from buying the ticket and just flipping it for twice the price from a thousand miles away.

Some of these rules may be a pain in your ass, but please be patient. 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 benifit for me is that I won't get angry emails from anyone who paid a ton of money to see me due to circumstances out of my control. That makes me VERY happy. The 45 dollars also includes sales tax, which I'm paying for you. So I'm making more or less depending on the state.

From the sound of it, CK had to do a lot of work to make all the necessary arrangements and sell the tickets the way he wants to sell them. He appears to be using the ticketing platform Etix but is not actually included in their listings, instead selling only through louisck.com. He mentions that it was hard to find venues that would agree to let him sell the tickets exclusively, so he's ended up booking some unusual locations and smaller venues where he'll do multiple shows. He also admits that he's making less money this way than he would on a conventional tour, but that's not really surprising considering how cheap the tickets are. He says he just likes doing shows, is "making enough money doing comedy" already, and really wants to bring the price down—plus he probably also knows that, in the long run, having control over all his own sales is likely to pay off.

I'd say it will be interesting to see how this turns out, but there's not really much question, because CK is pretty consistent about selling out shows. What's really interesting is the broader picture, in which CK is actively pushing forward to find new business models and demonstrating all sorts of possibilities for others.


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  1. identicon
    bob, 26 Jun 2012 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Nothing new here at all-- it's a paywall!

    So he's not creating an artificial scarcity? Yes he is. He could tell his jokes in front of a video camera and posting it on YouTube. It would be much more efficient and he wouldn't force everyone to rape the environment and unleash so much carbon just so they could be in the same room to hear the jokes.

    It would be cheaper for everyone and easier too if he would use the digital tools available to all of us.

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