Nina Paley: A ‘Free’ Distribution Case Study

People talk a lot about the economics of giving content away for “free”, but only a few put that into action. And fewer still share their experiences with everyone so we can learn from them.

Here Nina Paley gives a methodical breakdown of where she made money (and where she didn’t) after she put her feature-length animated film, Sita Sings the Blues, under a share-alike Creative Commons license. (By the way, I’ve posted the film below. Why not? It’s free).

Note
: Theatrical distribution revenue was about $22k, of which Paley garnered about $3k.

Paley earned most of her money through donations. Over $50k. Proving that audiences want to be able to pay the artist for their work. Donations fall under the patronage category under Kevin Kelley’s guide to generating revenue under a “free” economy. Read Kevin Kelley’s essay here, Better than Free.

Here’s the film! (PS It’s great)…