Louis CK on purchasing his performance:
once you download it you can keep it for as long as you want. watch it all you want. burn it on a dvd. anything.
That's a Twitter "status post":https://twitter.com/#!/louisck/status/145657595405926400 but it summarizes the full "Terms and Conditions":https://buy.louisck.net/terms-and-conditions.
What we are seeing here is an early adopter to the future distribution model where established labels and corporations are no longer required.
These kinds of distribution mechanisms have been around since the advent of the internet but it has generally been thought of as a more independent route for lesser established artists. For example, "CD Baby":http://www.cdbaby.com/ advertises itself as the 'largest online distributor of independent music'.
What I predict is that this model of distribution will increase and you will see larger names adopt the practise. The key difference is that social media has tipped the scales in favor of the artists in terms of being able to market themselves. Louis CK is able to directly message 786 thousand followers through his Twitter account.
Louis CK is able to take this route as he "shoots and edits his own shows.":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louie%28TVseries%29#Production I believe in future we will see smaller production companies working directly with artists with a revenue split model. This would work well with musicians. However, the onus is still on the artists to initially establish a name for themselves, again through leveraging social media.
We are already witnessing this model of disintermediation through various mobile app stores where a larger percentage of revenues are passed on through to the original developer. As a result, the end cost to consumers does not need to be as high as the profit per unit is greater.
There are a multitude of benefits to be had once you eliminate the intermediary labels and corporations. Another benefit is time to market is shortened. Louis CK's performance was only recorded a month ago on November 10, 2011.