BitTorrent On How The Digital Market Will Evolve
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Entertainment Industry, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
Matt Mason is the writer of the best-seller entitled The Pirate’s Dilemma. When he first wrote the book (2008), the author highlighted the importance of digital markets, pointing to technology professionals and their influence in this area.
People within the file-sharing are not considered to be thieves, but rather digital entrepreneurs who are able to reshape the media industry into their “image”, Mason believes.
Today, the idea of file-sharing has reached the farthest corners of the Earth, even in some countries where file-sharing and the Internet itself is controlled by abusive regimes (such as China and North Korea). Studies have shown that piracy is actually increasing album sales, and people like Sean Parker – co-founder of Napster – have become billionaires.
With that in mind we can only say that Mason was a true visionary of his time. Now he’s executive director of marketing for BitTorrent – a company which can easily call itself the biggest file-sharing company on the planet, with more than 160 million users. BitTorrent also managed to raise more than $40 million in funding, and is largely used by other huge companies such as Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, etc. It looks like BitTorrent crosses the barrier that separated them for such a long time from a legitimate business, as they plan to put legitimate content on the first place, thus monetizing the digital space.
Ryan Holiday of Forbes asked Matt about what he feels regarding the monetization of content distribution and the future of peer-to-peer content. Here’s what he had to say:
For the last 18 months or so at BitTorrent we’ve been working with a hand-picked selection of artists, filmmakers, TV producers, DJs, game developers and authors to put their work in front of our users to see if we could generate positive returns. Overall, the results have been staggering. For years academic institutions and even industry organizations like the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) have been publishing studies showing that file-sharers spend more money on content and engage with it at a deeper level. After nearly two years of experiments with content, we now know that to be true.
We helped Pioneer One, a TV show pilot, reach enough people and generate enough money in donations that the producers were able to fund the entire first season of the show. We distributed a bundle of music for Pretty Lights, a DJ from Colorado, last December. That bundle was downloaded over 6 million times and generated 100,000 new opt-in email sign-ups on Pretty Lights’ website. That’s 100,000 real fans he can engage with and earn income from for the rest of his career. Last month we released a BitTorrent Bundle of new music from Counting Crows, who had asked us to help generate word of mouth to promote their new album. Before working with BitTorrent, they were being mentioned in social media channels once every eight hours. After we launched the BitTorrent Bundle, they were being mentioned once every two minutes.
The point of all this is to examine the new business models content creators can build using the BitTorrent ecosystem, and use the results of these experiments to create the tools creators will need to do this better. The internet’s potential as a place where content can thrive has not been delivered on yet. Creators are struggling to release media online in ways that make sense.
It’s still hard to build a direct connection to a fan base. We make more giant media files than ever before but it’s still hard to share large files over the Internet using anything other than the BitTorrent protocol. It’s still hard to find the content you want in the format you want it in, and it’s hard for artists to deliver that to their fans. It’s still hard to monetize content in meaningful ways and keep all your data. We hope to change that by using the insights gleaned from these experiments to create the ecosystem creators deserve.
Peer-accelerated technology is an idea that’s time has come. The BitTorrent protocol has always been the fastest way to move large files. The technology currently moves between 20% and 40% of global web traffic every day, and among other things BitTorrent Inc. is busy working on new ways to monetize content distribution, new uses for peer-accelerated technology and a new live-streaming protocol that has the potential to be as world-changing as the original BitTorrent technology.