Since Louis C.K. changed the way comedy specials are sold with his landmark "Live at the Beacon Theatre," which he sold directly to fans through his site, many observers have questioned how that model will evolve. After all, not everyone has the fame and adoration of Louie, and both artists and consumers may need additional reason to support this new way of doing business.
Enter Humble Bundle.
Since its founding in 2010, Humble Bundle has delivered packages of video games and other media to consumers for any price they choose (a la the release of Radiohead's "In Rainbows"). If users choose to pay more than the average price, they receive additional, premium selections of media.
Last month, they made their new focus stand-up comedy, focusing on titles distributed through non-traditional methods. Right, now Humble Bundle is selling specials from Tig Notaro, Maria Bamford, Hannibal Buress, Jim Norton in one bundle.
Customers who pay more than the current average price, which is currently around $8, for those four specials get access to an additional bundle of specials from Louis C.K., Patrice O'Neal, Todd Glass and Gary Gulman, as well as the stand-up documentary "I Am Comic."
Many of those specials made more headlines than the average comedy special, even if they met a harder sell without the name recognition of, say, Louis C.K. For instance, Tig Notaro's "Live" was met with much acclaim for dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis with grace and humor. And Patrice O'Neal's two albums included in the bundle are only a few available recordings of a master comedian who left us too soon.
When Louis C.K. offered "Beacon Theatre" for $5, the price was heralded as a great deal for comedy fans. The same special is available through Humble Bundle for any price a user desires, with an added bonus that part of the proceeds go to charity.
Customers also decide the spread of how much goes to the artist and charity. For the Comedy Bundle, the charities in question are the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which fights to protect digital media rights, and Child's Play, which helps hospitals buy toys and video games.
Of course, comedy fans also have the option of seeing many of these specials on streaming services such as Netflix. But the intangible benefits of letting customers decide exactly where their money is going may be more attractive to comedy fans, who tend to be more justice-minded and independent than many other media buyers.
The Comedy Bundle will cease being available on September 11, so act quick. To learn more and buy the bundles, click over to Humble Bundle.