Intellectual Property

How To Increase Your Sketch Comedy Business By 23,000 Percent (Monty Python Edition)

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Gizmodo's Adam Frucci posts an interesting story about how Monty Python seized the YouTube momentum to generate massive online sales of licensed DVDs:

Monty Python started a YouTube channel with tons of their sketches streaming for free. The[y] included links to their DVDs at Amazon. The result was a whopping 23,000% increase in sales….Are you paying attention, MPAA and RIAA? A controlled release of free material keeps people from resorting to piracy and keeps them in your controlled ecosphere, which can include, yes, ways for fans to give you money. But when you're a bunch of pricks, people go to The Pirate Bay and think of you as the enemy, and then you don't get any money. Take notes, you idiots.

More here.

Reason on this sort of thing here and here.

Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks sketch:

Hat tip: Brent Palmer.

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  1. I think the RIAA & MPAA underestimate the importance of information and social networks. Don’t they employ any marketeers, or are they all a bunch of lawyers.

  2. But when you’re a bunch of pricks, people go to The Pirate Bay and think of you as the enemy, and then you don’t get any money. Take notes, you idiots.

    As well as some other sources (which I will not divulge). I like the wording; well said.

  3. Of course, while it may be good business practice, thos who hold the license to other shows have the right to determine whether or not they use this particular practice or continue to take the current route.

  4. 23000% of how many?

  5. But when you’re a bunch of pricks, people go to The Pirate Bay and think of you as the enemy, and then you don’t get any money.

    Hell’s yeah! I, err… I mean, someone I know watched Gran Turino and will watch Defiance tonight in the comfort of their home. Why?

    Because ticket prices are insane, a thimbleful of popcorn costs $6, and theatres are sticky, dirty and you can’t smoke in them.

    At least that,s what my friend said…

  6. I go to thepiratebay because I’m a tightwad and a thief.

    BTW, and COMPLETELY unrelated (look over there), have ya’ll seen Gran Torino yet? Very good movie unless you don’t like Asians. I’ll be buying that one on DVD.

  7. You owe me a coke.

  8. have ya’ll seen Gran Torino yet?

    Saw it yesterday. I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to be a comedy, but goddamn I laughed my ass off.

    Also an important part of the enjoyment factor – the audience. It was 65% white senior citizens, and 35% 20-30 yr olds of all ethnicities. Everyone was cracking up with Clint’s dry delivery of racial slurs and frank observations.

    I enjoyed it, but not sure I’d go so far as to call it a good movie. And if you didn’t like Asians, wouldn’t it have been an outstanding movie?

  9. What Reinmoose said; you have the right to be a shitty businessman as long as your not asking for bailouts. (although a case can be made that MPAA/RIAA has crossed this line in some of their use of agents of the state)

  10. I think those funny bits were supposed to be funny. Cranky old men are funny like that.

    It might be even better if you don’t like gooks, zipper heads, slopes, spooks, and beaners. I like 4 out 5 of them, so while it was very good, it wasn’t superb.

    Having a better half from Laos, I related very well to the old man’s experiences with the next door neighbors (Hmong). All very true to life – food, customs, friendliness, “yard issues”, college/jail thing. The explanation for how they ended up here in the US is one I’ve heard at least a dozen times.

    Ska, did you notice the flaw in one particular scene. Clint Eastwood was not at the stop sign yet when the white backward baseball hat wearing pussy kid was kissing ass, yet when Estwood drove up he knew the kid was saying the “it’s all cool” stuff. (trying to describe the scene without spoilers) I missed that the first time.

    I rate this near Unforgiven, but wouldn’t expect this to get a bunch of awards. The lack of a known celebrity (aside from Clint obviously) cast of the same 50 actors we see in 80% of the movies can’t do much for the awards crowd. I think that made it better. Every movie doesn’t have to have Ben Affleck, Sean Penn, Angelina, Tom Hanks, Jennifer Lopez, Leonard DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Robert Downey jr, Will Smith, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg (always appearing as the great wise woman of course – a shocker every time).

  11. Why is it Nick’s concern if some property owners disagree with his marketing ideas?
    No skin off your ass, Nick.

  12. I didn’t notice that – but damn that scene was awesome. I guess it was a better movie than I’m giving it credit for. I just find all the movies with the same ethnicity message being cheesy. Probably has a lot to do with growing up in Queens, and having friends of every ethnicity/background from as far back as I can remember.

    Unforgiven, on the other hand, man I fucking love that movie. And I agree – star power would definitely have brought this one down a notch.

  13. 23000% of how many?

    They sold one DVD the year before they started with youtube.

  14. But when you’re a bunch of pricks, people go to The Pirate Bay and think of you as the enemy, and then you don’t get any money. Take notes, you idiots.

    Another devotee of the “if you don’t like the price, steal it” school of thought.

    Yes, the RIAA and MPAA are a bunch of pricks who seem dedicated to killing their golden geese. That doesn’t give you or anyone else the right to steal their property, however. Trust me, it is possible to survive without watching MPAA movies or listening to RIAA-represented music.

  15. They sold one DVD the year before they started with youtube.

    Hey, that was me!

    Huh.

  16. As an avid digital music consumer, I find it incredibly frustrating all the impediments companies put between legit purchasers and the product. DRM, album only releases, and things that don’t seem to get released whatsoever. Trying to buy a song is, at this point, actually harder than downloading it illegally.

  17. I noticed that lately a lot of musicians and labels have created channels on YouTube where you can see videos.

    Good idea, and as noted, it is bound to sell records, er, music. That was the whole point of MTV in the beginning. Show the video, sell the album.

    I’m with Max, I won’t buy a download that comes with a rubber. If I buy a song I want to play it wherever I want without being nanny’d about it. Don’t tell me I’ve put it on one too many devices.

    And if I’ve already bought the album on record, 8-Track, & cassette, I won’t feel guilty about downloading it for free.

  18. Another devotee of the “if you don’t like the price, steal it” school of thought.

    Yes, the RIAA and MPAA are a bunch of pricks who seem dedicated to killing their golden geese. That doesn’t give you or anyone else the right to steal their property, however. Trust me, it is possible to survive without watching MPAA movies or listening to RIAA-represented music.

    But it does give us the right to advocate for more reasonable IP laws and to suggest that people take a more measured response to alleged violations of their copyrights.

    Furthermore, the unreasonable methods employed by the MPAA and RIAA have a chilling effect on lawful uses of IP and infringe on 1st Amendment rights, so it’s important to challenge their tactics.

    Finally, the nature of IP transfers as licenses rather than outright sales opens the door to arguments that you are often faced with a contract of adhesion, which may justify some breaches.

  19. Absolutely agreed, Sulla. But a lot of people round these parts think that RIAA assholery gives them a license to steal.

  20. As a musician myself, I have long been leaning against free distribution/streaming versions of albums/videos/movies/etc. However, I think I have come to the realization that due to something like Songza, an audio site that streams songs from Imeem and Youtube and enables users to build their own playlists and often compile entire albums, I have opened my ears to tons of artists I had long been unwilling to give a chance and actually have been buying many more albums since I started using it. But I still think actual distribution should be voluntary and that stealing property is as wrong in digital form as it is in non-digital form. Streaming doesn’t give you possession, so therefore it is a justifiable middle ground.

  21. cunnivore: Throwing around the term “stealing” begs the question of whether copyright is a genuine form of property.

    The notion that a particular combination of ones and zeros, or any other information, can be owned or monopolized, is something to be proven–not asserted.

    I could just as easily assert that any attempt to restrict my use of my own hard drive, or of CDs and DVDs I’ve paid for, is stealing. Not to mention legally mandating DRM and prohibiting the means of circumventing it.

  22. So Nick links to Gizmodo, who links to boingboing, who links to Mashable.

    Couldn’t we just get the original story in the first place?

  23. bigbigslacker wrote, “Every movie doesn’t have to have Ben Affleck, Sean Penn, Angelina, Tom Hanks, Jennifer Lopez, Leonard DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Robert Downey jr, Will Smith, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg (always appearing as the great wise woman of course – a shocker every time).”
    ===

    “Eh wot? What’s all this about not includin’ that positively u-BIQ-uitous thespian Sir Michael Caine, then? Sod off!”

    “That’s right, my bro-ther. And Samuel L. too, y’know wha’m’sayin’, yo! He’s m—–f—-n’ tired of not getting any m—–f—-n’ respect on this m—–f—–n’ website! Word!”

  24. Downloading music is no more “stealing” than listening to the song on the radio.

    We musicians used to make money by showing up to a location and playing music. That will again be the primary business model for musicians.

    That and T-shirt sales.

    Studies of the issue that I have seen show the following: Free downloading is, overall, good for business. For popular artists it is a small drag on sales, for unknown artists it is a moderate booster of sales. Since there are so many more unknown than known musicians, the overall impact is positive.

    Metallica is correct that downloading reduces their market. But the RIAA is not representing the bulk of their clients interests when they interfere with fans who promote their products through sharing.

  25. Downloading music is no more “stealing” than listening to the song on the radio.

    Yeah, totally the same thing. Except in one case, you get to keep the music and the other you don’t…

    And the owners of the music have agreed to allow the radio station to broadcast it…

    Totally alike.

  26. I’ve seen no data on this, no numbers, anywhere, other than the 23,000%.

    On what is it based? 23,000% of what? Have they checked their math?

    Until that gets posted, I call shenanigans and suspect this is just exaggerated freetard bullshit.

  27. We need a ministry of Silly Walks. That might help the unemployment situation…

  28. “It might be even better if you don’t like gooks, zipper heads, slopes, spooks, and beaners. I like 4 out 5 of them, so while it was very good, it wasn’t superb.”

    Which one do you not like?

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