“It's hard to quantify which is better,” Regan said. “So I go back and forth — sometimes I release things myself, and sometimes I want to go through another distributor.”
The experiment in full ownership and distribution seems to work for A-list comics, but the established names still see an upside to working with networks and labels: After selling 220,000 downloads of 2011's “Live at the Beacon Theatre,” Louis C.K. signed an agreement last month to bring his next comedy special back to HBO. Regan said that this modern way of doing things is not a “one-size-fits-all” concept.
“For somebody who's not necessarily at that level, you know, sometimes it's worth the trade off to say, ‘Maybe I should do a special on Comedy Central or something — let Comedy Central make most of the money, but at least I'm opening myself up to a bunch of people who've never seen me before who will now come out and watch my shows and that sort of thing,'” Regan said. “You'll make some money with it, as well, but it's a good thing to have your content out there, so people can happen upon it and go, ‘Hey, this guy's pretty funny.'”
The main goal, Regan said, is to get people to his shows.
“For me, most of earning a living happens when I go on the road anyway, you know what I mean? So I want people to know about my stuff, hear about my stuff and go, ‘I wouldn't mind checking him out when he comes to my town.'”
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