Hey, aspiring filmmakers! Gumroad, the crazy simple platform for selling digital goods, is rolling out a pretty big new feature for you this morning: on-demand video streaming. You upload your video, name a price, and they’ll handle all the legwork involved with accepting payments and streaming the content.
This move pits Gumroad head-to-head with some pretty huge contenders, placing them squarely in a space among the likes of Amazon and iTunes.
Gumroad’s new streaming option works much like everything else on Gumroad has to date: Content creators upload their stuff, pick a price (or let the buyer choose how much they want to pay), and get a super simple purchasing page (and an embeddable purchasing widget) in return. Once buyers punch in their details and finalize the sale, they’re emailed a unique link to their download — or in this case, their stream.
Once buyers click through the link, they’re presented with a video player that should play friendly with just about any web-capable device you throw at it, be it a full-blown laptop or a Flash-less phone. The player supports video resolutions up to 1080p, and content creators can choose to host the player on either Gumroad.com or, with a few lines of HTML dropped in place, on their own domain.
So, how much will it cost you? Gumroad has always had a relatively small transaction fee, and they’re maintaining that same fee structure here: whatever you want to sell your digital content for, they’ll take 5 percent + 25¢. (Unless you’re not charging anything, in which case there’s no fee whatsoever.)
Compare that to the other guys in the space. iTunes? Apple takes 30 percent. Amazon? Again, 30 percent. VHX, a nascent competitor in the indie movie streaming space, has yet to reveal the percentage they’ll take when they officially launch (but I’m told it’s around 15 percent.)
At a selling price of $1, Gumroad’s take and Apple’s take are the same: 30 cents. At $10, Apple’s take is $3, while Gumroad’s is 0.75, with $9.25 going to the content creator. The catch, of course, is that gettin’ the word out about your content is on you — there’s no massively popular, all-encompassing storefront here to help you push it.
Of course, video creators can still use Gumroad to offer their stuff as a traditional download, rather than a stream. For the time being, at least, it’s gotta be one or the other — that is, you can’t offer the folks who buy a stream of your video an offline download for later, à la Louis CK, without a separate transaction.
Gumroad was a one-man company when it launched back in February of 2012, initially built entirely by then-19-year-old ex-Pinterest/Turntable designer Sahil Lavingia. They’ve since raised around $8.1 million, with the team having just hired its 13th employee.
[Disclosure: CrunchFund, the venture firm lead by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, is an investor in Gumroad. While no one at CrunchFund has ever so much as casually mentioned Gumroad to me, I like to be clear about this stuff.]