One thing you’ll hear from the RIAA and MPAA execs is how BitTorrent is cutting into their profits. They feel that free access to content is the worst thing that could ever happen to such an artistic medium. It robs the artists, and more importantly the company execs, of millions of dollars. The only way to make money from music, movies and the like is to put down money at a store. The Internet, specifically BitTorrent, would beg to disagree.
BitTorrent Inc. announced a crazy new plan today that will monetize BitTorrent. What’s this crazy new plan? Ads will now be included in the torrent. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but the basic premise is that of any other monetization plan on the Internet. Give away content for free and support it with ads.
I mentioned that it’s a bit more complicated than that, but not by much. The first bundle on offer today is a sample from DJ Shadow’s new album “Hidden Transmissions From The MPC Era (1992-1996).” Alongside the download is some bundled software. If the person downloading the tracks also installs the software, the artist and BitTorrent get a cut of the ad revenue.
If you already have uTorrent installed, expect to see ads for DJ Shadow’s new album pop up in your client sooner or later. If you just downloaded uTorrent, the package will be advertised in the installer. It’s a simple, but effective, way to get the word out.
Oh, and before you start to get mad about ads in your downloads, nothing is being forced on you. You can skip on the software entirely and don’t even have to download it. It’s offered as a complimentary add-on and only helps the artist if it’s installed.
Of course, the argument here is that people will just download the music and skip on the software. That’s true and it will probably happen more often than not. That’s why the package only includes a selection of tracks while advertising the full album release which people will pay for. Those same people can still pirate the entire album, but music fans generally buy music from the artists who treat them right. By releasing a free sampler package, DJ Shadow has guaranteed himself at least one sale from this fan.