September 26, 2014

Thom Yorke Paves the Way for Filmmakers to Use Paygated Content via BitTorrent Bundles

Thom Yorke Paves the Way for Filmmakers to Use Paygated Content via BitTorrent Bundles
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."

Thom Yorke Uses BitTorrent Bundles

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.     

Your Comment

9 Comments

I don't see myself using this considering my network limitations...

September 26, 2014 at 11:59PM

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Connor Day
Director of Photography
412

Lovely album, cool method of distribution.

September 27, 2014 at 12:27AM

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Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
966

Why pay bitTorrent any fees? Aren't they an unnecessary middleman? Aren't they the iTunes or Amazon or whoever that this would ideally replace? Isn't the plan to have content seeded from creators and shared between consumers, who need to enter a password / id to unlock and create their limited edition copy?

Based on the previous article on NFS, it sounds like they will be curating media (perhaps on their front page or a new 'store'?).

"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.""

Inherently I feel like there's a problem trying to apply value to the files by limiting the number of digital copies. I can understand the reasoning (supply scarcity) but these files are by nature infinite.

As something grows more popular, is price going to grow linearly until it's all gone, or becomes prohibitively expensive?

September 27, 2014 at 1:03AM, Edited September 27, 1:03AM

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Zack Wallnau
Cinematographer & Tinkerer
616

Should note, I think this is really cool, and I would love to see a system of direct / decentralized distribution, especially if it could make its way onto multiple platforms.

September 27, 2014 at 1:06AM

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Zack Wallnau
Cinematographer & Tinkerer
616

I don't understand why bittorrent gets 10%. The whole point is that they're not hosting anything.

Also, (Thom Yorke won't have this problem but...) artists with small audiences won't have anyone to seed. Is the artist supposed to have a dedicated machine ready to seed 24/7 in case someone buys an album?

September 27, 2014 at 2:38AM

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Frank
356

At least the first few initial downloads will need to get seeded from one source, or the earliest DL's will be hellish slow.

Maybe part of their 10% is covering them doing a large initial seed?

September 27, 2014 at 2:44AM

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Zack Wallnau
Cinematographer & Tinkerer
616

Yeah, after the networking have a big upgrade.. hummmmm ...

September 27, 2014 at 2:45PM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7577

I love to stick-it-to-the-man thing but I'm afraid that I'm not smart enough to figure this out.
I thought Torrents were bad. BitTorrent is good?

I am a big fan of Thom Yorke and hope this does well but it's over my head.

September 27, 2014 at 7:34PM

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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1092

Illegally obtaining content is bad. Torrenting illegal content is bad. Torrenting legal content is not bad. Torrenting is just a vehicle.

September 28, 2014 at 9:44PM

1
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Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
966