BitTorrent Inc. is once again proving that its intentions to legitimize peer-to-peer are genuine. Yesterday, the company announced the workings on a brand new project called “BitTorrent Bundle”, a place for people to access a completely changed .torrent format (one that includes free content), and for content creators to promote and make money out of their creations. Interested? Keep reading…because it gets better.
It’s the season of innovation, and BitTorrent Inc. is rolling one project after the other, all for the sake of not just their community, but also for the entertainment industry. Out of their attempts to push the peer-to-peer technology towards legitimacy, Bundle Alpha was born, a web-based project that aims to unite the two sides into a buffer zone by providing with a different type of torrent, while promoting and selling for artists.
The Bundle Alpha has already been put to the test; the file-sharing company shook hands with a popular music label called “Ultra” (a platform for artists such as David Guetta, DJ Tiesto, deadmau5, and Calvin Harris). The two offered a torrent bundle that contains behind-the-scenes music, videos, and a “digital tour booklet” from Kaskade (an established electronic music band).
“The strategy here is to give content creators the tools to publish into the ecosystem on their own,” BitTorrent’s director of communications, Christian Averill, said.
“We’re creating a new kind of torrent, the gated torrent, and the idea is that this will be pervasive once it gets out there.”
Yesterday, BitTorrent’s official blog made public its goal to provide “a distributed technology solution for creators…. Our goal is to move the interaction to where it matters, making it a property of the file versus the distribution framework (and) giving artists real data about — and real access to — their fans.”
And speaking of fans, BitTorrent’s community is, the least to say, impressive (more than 170 million users from all over the world), a figure that consists not just of pirates, but also people who are willing to find and pay for content. Legal content, that is.
“Many people don’t realize that we have over 2 million pieces of licensed and legal content available in our ecosystem,” Matt Mason said.
“It is true that our technology is exploited as part of a stack of technologies used for piracy. But you’ll find that as a standalone tool we are not a very good piracy tool. We don’t rip CDs or capture movies on camcorders. We don’t host content that infringes on copyright, we don’t index it, point to it or promote it in any way. All of those things happen outside of BitTorrent.”
A look under the Bundle’s hood reveals that the platform works about the same as uTorrent or the BitTorrent client (technically speaking). However, if you look deeper, Bundle is not just a web-based file-sharing platform, but also a bridge towards legal/premium content. How you manage that content is entirely up to you and the content creator. For example, in Kaskade’s case, you will be required to provide with an e-mail address. The alternatives include pay gates, external links towards services such as Netflix or iTunes, and pay-for-what-you-need “gates”.
Simply put, the Bundle offers more power for content creators and rightsholders to promote, control, and sell their works.
It seems that BitTorrent’s past efforts to go legit, and collaborations with artists such as Vikram Gandhi, Stacy Peralta, Tim Ferriss, Death Grips, and Counting Crows (these are just few of the names that came across BT and shook hands with the “devil”) are finally taking shape .
“When we learned that the BitTorrent protocol is used by over 170 million users, all of whom are avid consumers of entertainment and music and whom purchase 30 percent more of that content than average, we knew we wanted to reach out to them and engage them in our indie film,”Jill Calcaterra – Chief Marketing Officer at BitTorrent – said.
“This was an opportunity to engage a huge fanbase from the onset by giving them something unique and exclusive early on, with the hopes that in return they will support the film [Arthur Newman] through its lifecycle. Being an indie, I think we are more nimble than most and more willing to try and pilot new programs. The entertainment business is moving at a remarkable pace and we want to keep up and stay in front of opportunities.”
She continued by saying that the promotion was a complete success, gathering “hundreds of thousands of downloads” in just 24 hours (the first seven minutes of the movie were made available on BT’s networks).
“We are also tracking the redirects to our website, monitoring social media and the overall conversation around the film, all of which is up since we launched with BitTorrent,” she added.
All good, but this is the beginning of a long road BT will have to undertake in order to enter the golden realm of legitimacy.
“We find that once we do sit down and talk, there is a better understanding of how to work together,” Matt Mason explained.
“No other medium offers as good of a way for content creators to engage directly with their fans in a way that BitTorrent can,” he concluded.
You can download Kaskade’s bundle here.