There is a post on Techcrunch this morning titled: Jim Gaffman Releases His Own, All-New Special, Cutting Out The Middleman, which makes Gaffman the second major US comedian to go direct in recent weeks. I’ve said it before and I will say it again now: I think we will see more and more of this model going forward and eventually get to the point where going direct is the default option for most artists. Now that distribution is as easy as uploading a file to the internet middlemen simply don’t add enough value any more. Jim Gaffman’s new comedy special is available to download for $5 and he says going direct will net him more cash and gives him more creative freedom. Fans also like the idea that all their money is going to the artist.
Nicholas Lovell and I saw something similar when we talked to publishers about our 50 Questions you should ask before raising venture capital blog series and book. Publishers were keen to work with us, but only if we changed the nature of what we wanted to write so it matched with one of their pre-existing categories of readers of business books. They wanted us to either make it more populist or more serious and formal. We decided to stick with our plan to write for the audiences we already had on our respective blogs.
At the moment the direct to consomer model only works for artists like Gaffman who already have an audience and production companies that can afford their own marketing. Over time I expect we will see technology and agency companies that offer marketing and financing services that enable aspiring artists to also go direct.