After some initial teasing last week, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has officially released his new album not through traditional means, but via BitTorrent Bundles. Being the first paygated content ever released through the experimental method, it opens the doors for filmmakers to do the same thing.
We've been talking about BitTorrent Bundles since last year, and I've since been keeping my eyes on how this distribution method develops. It started out as a very small experiment -- almost just a PR stunt -- for artists releasing music and bonus content for movies such as The Act of Killing. But now it seems the snowball has gotten to its necessary critical mass -- both in awareness of the platform and in its implementation. It's starting to really catch on.
Every download is its own storefront. Which means every download increases in value, each time it’s shared.
So what's a paygate? Fans will only be able to download the Bundle a limited number of times before it becomes locked. BitTorrent says that this "ensures that the file’s value, and the original direct-to-fan transaction, is protected."
Okay, so we've seen plenty of distribution models with this pay structure. Why is this significant? Other than utilizing the peer-to-peer technology which supports a decentralized internet, Matt Mason of BitTorrent explains:
"Yorke's partnership with BitTorrent also marks the launch of the BitTorrent Bundle with paygates, which allows artists to monetize their Bundle content directly. Fans can download the album here and pay using a credit card or PayPal in 140 currencies. The publisher covers the transaction fees and BitTorrent takes 10% after that."
The only thing that's missing from this is the fact that doing a simple torrent search for Thom Yorke's album still yields countless illegal downloading results. When we spoke to BitTorrent last year, their vision for Bundles was to flood piracy sites with legitimate content. It seems the jury is still out on that. Let us know what you think.
Interested in publishing content this way? You can become a publisher too.