BitTorrent just added another incentive for creators to give their content away to file sharers: On Tuesday, the company will introduce Bundles, a new product that turns torrents into promotional campaigns, and possibly even online stores.
The first bundle released by BitTorrent comes courtesy of Ultra Music. Fans of dance music producer Kaskade will get a free MP3 of one of his tracks, as well as a trailer for the release of Kaskade’s upcoming tour DVD as soon as they download the torrent. An additional 10 minute concert video and an exclusive booklet can be unlocked by signing up for a Kaskade newsletter.
However, this is only one iteration of the bundle. Artists can also elect to use torrent bundles to directly sell additional content to their fans. From BitTorrent’s blog post:
“We don’t need another digital radio station. We don’t need another walled garden or standalone content store. We need ways to place value exchanges within the content itself – allowing these exchanges to travel freely, without barriers or limitations; allowing these exchanges to multiply as content is shared. Our goal is to move the interaction to where it matters; making it a property of the file, versus the distribution framework; giving artists real data about, and real access to, their fans.”
This isn’t the first time BitTorrent is trying to sell content to file sharers. The company launched a digital download store dubbed the BitTorrent Entertainment Network in 2007. The store featured DRM-protected movies from major Hollywood studios — and was largely ignored by the file sharing masses. BitTorrent eventually shut down the BitTorrent Entertainment Network at the end of 2008.
The company went through a bit or a rough patch in the following years, but has since recovered, and put a bigger emphasis on working with independent artists in recent months. Asked whether the company wants to take a cut when people start to sell their music or movies through bundles, a spokesperson told me that there are “no immediate plans for this.”