Those rapscallions at BitTorrent have come up with a new way to sell music, and it’s sure to ruffle executive feathers at stodgy record labels. It’s called BitTorrent Bundle, and it puts the music store right inside the torrent.
Yes, a legitimate music store embedded in a torrent. At last, someone has come up with a way to turn all us entitled, lawless downloaders into paying customers!
BitTorrent thinks of BitTorrent Bundle as a sort of 21st century band flyer. It’s a digital grassroots way to reach out to fans, but it also enables them to show their support and easily purchase additional content. Post a torrent with a handful of live tracks from your latest tour, Bundle it with a store that lets your groupies buy the full album. Simple.
While it’s not clear exactly how the magic happens, BitTorrent does say that a Bundle is a new torrent format. Presumably then, it’s not going to be supported by all torrent clients. However it works, it takes the middle man — hello, iTunes — out of the equation. Pearl Jam would no doubt approve.
For bands, the incentive is obvious. Creating a more direct route from the listener to their content should equate to a larger share of the revenue. That’s sure to generate a little excitement in an era where streaming earns some artists a whopping $.0096 per play.
Discovery remains the sticky wicket. For massively successful bands like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, it won’t be an issue. For lesser-known independent artists, however, it’ll be a bit trickier.
But torrenting is, by nature, a social act, and that makes it a great way to share content like music and video. In an era where the web itself is becoming more and more social every day, it won’t be hard for artists to spread their own BitTorrent Bundles. Dedicated trackers will spring up, and existing sites like Pirate Bay and IsoHunt serve millions of hungry downloaders every day — and many have discovery on the brain.
Ultra Music — one of the hottest electronic music labels around — is already on board. With artists like Deadmau5 and David Guetta on their roster, having Ultra as a launch partner will go a long way to ensuring Bundle’s success.
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