The recording industry and comedians never really got along. Back in the heady days of multi million dollar recording contracts, it was the rock stars that got treated like rock stars… not the comedians.
Maybe that’s why so many comedians are now flocking to a brave new model in order to monetize their jokes. And they’re getting revenge on the entertainment industry in the process.
The latest convert is Jim Gaffigan, easily the 4th major comic (following Louis CK, Jimmy Kimmel, and Aziz Ansari) in the past 6 months to thumb his nose at the old, industry-dominated model and simply sell his stand-up directly on his own website.
Hey, that’s how we’ve been doing it for years as digital marketers. And that’s how we’d do it if we were stand-up comics.
What started out as an aberration with Louis CK, has grown into an all out prank war on traditional publishing deals. The only risk is losing out on the entertainment industry’s ability to promote comedy albums — which is greatly diminished thanks to iTunes, Amazon, etc.
BTW, when you look on Gaffigan’s purchase page, the actual content is being sold through Amazon or Paypal! Pretty much any average joe marketer could do the EXACT same thing.
In a lot of ways, it’s really fitting that comedians as a group are leading the charge to break out of the traditional media channels. Comedians are a rebellious, free thinking bunch who aren’t afraid to take risks. Come to think of it, they share a lot of common traits with entrepreneurs and digital marketers.
As much as it seems like a prank on the entertainment industry, that’s not the impression I get from looking at Gaffigan’s website. What I see there is a surprisingly serious marketing funnel that leverages “cause marketing” (20% donations to the Bob Woodruff Foundation), list-building, and a potential up-sell to live event tickets.
It’s inspiring to see so many of these guys finally taking control of their own marketing decisions. Instead of sitting around like a bunch of rock stars, waiting for someone else to do the work, comedians are taking the initiative — I gotta hand it to them.