This week, NYC based comedian Zach Broussard released a single, in hard copy CD single form, of one joke. Almost immediately the joke was pirated and the comic’s comic is now reeling from the losses he incurred. I had a chance to catch up with him and get his perspective as he deals with the leak.
Brightest Young Things: How did this go down, from the beginning up until now?
Zach Broussard: A week ago I announced I’d be releasing a single joke on CD, in classic single format. The next day, because people kept asking for the price I announced it was going to sell for $10.99, which is a fair deal considering there’s a dance mix. On Monday. A Pirate Bay user named JokeNut69 uploaded a leaked version of Wanna Be A Grandpa and that’s what I’ve been dealing with since. Thanks for spreading the word about #piracy and helping make sure artists, specifically me, get the money they deserve or at least want.
BYT: How much do you think you’ve lost to internet piracy as a result of the leak?
ZB: Who knows how much I’ve lost. Anywhere from $10.99 to thousands of dollars, depending on how many people decide to download illegally. I’ll assume thousands?
It’s basic supply and demand. I was able to charge $10.99 for one joke because no one had it and not having it would drive them wild. Now any Joe Blow down the street can just stroll into an Internet cafe and steal my art. Is that fair?
BYT: Should there be a subset of the RIAA that deals strictly with piracy of jokes?
ZB: The RIAA needs to get involved, but since I’m not some Hollywood big shot like Rob Schneider I’ve got to fight this on my own. I started the hashtag #SupportTheArtist so fingers crossed that solves everything.
BYT: Have your fans been supportive with the Radiohead/Louis CK/Fugazi/Dominos Pizza/Subway Footlong $5 model (understanding of course that adjusted for inflation and the shipping/CD printing cost, you use the $10.99 model)?
ZB: My fans, also known as Parrotheads, are the smartest, funniest, coolest and sexiest fans in the world. I’m probably the only artist who can say this: I love my fans!
The support has been overwhelming. When I originally said I was going to sell one joke on CD for $10.99 there were haters out there for sure, but my fans stood by me.
I think they understood that I’ve been giving away my art for free on Twitter.com for years, so it’s time for them to pony up.
Just the other day an elderly woman (I think her name was Frank) offered to pay even more for the single. Frank was in a terrible state, she was on government assistance and didn’t have enough money even for basic necessities like milk or concert tickets. So I refused her offer. I told her I wouldn’t accept a single dollar from her over the standard $10.99 charge. If you’re out there, Mrs. Frank, you’re welcome!
My fans are so supportive, the least I can do is give back.