BitTorrent Site Mininova Makes It Easier To Sell Scarcities With Downloads

from the neat dept

A bunch of folks have been sending in the news that popular BitTorrent site Mininova is now making it much easier to monetize your own BitTorrented music. Basically, it makes it easy to sell other things alongside the torrent. This is very much about using the free music to sell related scarcities, such as concert tickets, CDs or other promotional goods. Imagine taking the various tiered upsell solutions that are becoming popular and connecting them directly to your own torrent of the music? As the story notes, at least one indie record label, Beep! Beep!, has signed up and is releasing all of its music via this system -- and even offering those who download a 20% discount on products as a thank you for helping to seed the files:
"It's only fair not to pay for something you haven't heard yet. In our opinion torrents are an excellent way to present you with our music. That's why Beep! Beep! and Mininova have teamed up. We like the fact that you're taking the effort to get to know new music. In fact, we'd like to thank you for downloading and seeding our music by giving you a discount on our hardcopies."
But, of course, we'll probably still hear from people about how such torrent sites are destroying the recording industry... even as it helps enable exactly what's coming next.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    AJ, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 9:23am

    Sounds good....

    Ahhh... Somone doing something besides suing their customers... how refreshing....

    Standing by for WH rant...

     

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  2.  
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    :Lobo Santo, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 9:30am

    Re: Sounds good....

    Ya know, a guy with a mouth and mind like that should be leading likewise deluded induhviduals in a cult or something...

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 9:45am

    Who says he isn't, after all, he does have a blog.....

     

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  4.  
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    RD, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 9:48am

    Pre-emptive Salvo

    See, its about USING FREE (not "give everything away and pray") to sell SCARCE (non-digital) goods. Digital distribution is quick, dirt-cheap and can reach a wide audience instantly. This part of the equation will trend towards 0, due to its nature. LEVERAGING that nature is what this is all about, then using that leverage to sell items that people WILL pay for.

    Now we sit back and wait for WH to completely ignore these reasons and rant about how it "cant work."

     

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  5.  
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    Osno, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 9:49am

    Paying you to download music? The RIAA must be rolling in its grave!

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 9:51am

    Nope, WH will explain how this can only work for small indy firms and not the big guys :)

     

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  7.  
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    The infamous Joe, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 9:54am

    Actually...

    But, of course, we'll probably still hear from people about how such torrent sites are destroying the recording industry... even as it helps enable exactly what's coming next.

    Actually, it *is* destroying the recording industry. However, it's not the recording industry I care about (not even a little!) it's the music industry this will help.

    Not to nit-pick, but I hate when people think recording industry = music industry almost as much as I hate when people think copyright infringement = stealing.

    Anyway, I'll check this out. What happens to leechers? Do they still get 20% off? :P

     

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  8.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 31st, 2009 @ 10:15am

    Re: Actually...

    Actually, it *is* destroying the recording industry. However, it's not the recording industry I care about (not even a little!) it's the music industry this will help.

    I'd disagree. It's not destroying the recording industry. It's destroying an old business model relied on by some of the bigger players in the recording industry.

    Not to nit-pick, but I hate when people think recording industry = music industry almost as much as I hate when people think copyright infringement = stealing.

    It's not nitpicking. It's a point I agree with entirely -- which I why I choose quite carefully what words I use on this topic. I meant recording industry here, because that's what people will claim. But it's not destroying it at all.

     

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  9.  
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    Alan Gerow, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 10:21am

    Re: Actually...

    Actually, it's destroying the distribution system within the music industry. There will still need to be the recording segment, because those are the ones who actually take a band's music, and put it in a format that can be heard when the band isn't playing it; and this can be accomplished by moderately technical band members, or a hired third-party who specializes in sound principles and equipment used. The marketing segment is also hurting because most of them don't know how to utilize the new tools and systems that are generating around them.

    It's the distribution segment, and frequently one company may be in multiple segments, that is hurting because moving discs around is no longer relevant, and they like moving physical products around. The marketing segment is hurting because they relied on the distribution segment, which hasn't been too keen on change. They focused on selling the physical product that the distribution segment was schlepping. Marketing of goods non-recorded goods (concerts, merchandise) has usually been slim to non-existent.

    The recording segment is fine and healthy. More music is being created, recorded, and produced. It's the segments after that one that are changing, and it's changing in ways that music executives don't like and aren't really that much a part of. It's the fans and musicians who are enacting the change (mostly the fans, and the musicians who aren't benefiting a lot from the old system are seeing how they can benefit from the new system), and they will be the ones that benefit. It was also benefit the other segments of the music industry other than recording: concerts will see more focus, merchandising will be more interesting to differentiate from all the other band-logo-on-a-t-shirt items, and artists will have incentive to get out and connect with their fans.

    The music executives in the distribution and marketing segments will need to realign themselves with the new distribution systems (moving from finite physical product to infinite digital product) and cost structures (free music, with a push to up-sell with scarce items). Distribution will become negligible and will involve mainly various websites with links to P2P networks or direct downloads, or bundling with scarce items to increase perceived value and convenience (which has value). Marketing will shift from focusing on selling discs to selling experience and the items necessary for a consumer to construct the experience they want.

     

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  10.  
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    AJ, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re: Actually...

    Nice post... makes since....

     

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  11.  
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    R. Miles, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 10:46am

    The recording industry isn't going anywhere.

    we'll probably still hear from people about how such torrent sites are destroying the recording industry.
    I don't believe this. It may be cutting into their profits, but certainly not destroying them.

    But this is their own damn fault for trying to control an infinite supply. Once it gets out, all control is lost.

    I'm guessing this is the true reason why songs went to $1.30. Someone has to pay for those lost revenues. DRM removal? That's just a bogus line to cover up the real reason.

    Still, as long as people buy over priced songs, the longer it's going to take the recording industry to change.

    Stop. Buying. Music.

    Give to the artist. Not the distributor, the real pirates in the industry. $1.30 per song. Pfft.

     

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  12.  
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    The infamous Joe, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: Actually...

    When your business is the selling of recordings and you can no longer do so, your industry is destroyed.

    If the current recording industry catches on to this fact and they change their ways (which I can't help but doubt) then they will no longer be an industry that sells recordings, and calling themselves a recording industry would be incorrect.

    You're right though, they'll probably still be called "The Recording Industry" anyway. So I'm just arguing semantics.

    I like the term Mr. Gerow uses: Realigned.

    I don't hope the Recording industry is destroyed so completely that it is unrecognizable, I hope that it is realigned so completely that it is unrecognizable. :)

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 11:25am

    Re: The recording industry isn't going anywhere.

    talking about controlling an infinity supply perhaps the recording industry should take tips from De Beers.

     

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  14.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 11:41am

    Re: Pre-emptive Salvo

    But the question is: Would the "scarce" good sell anyway? Would they sell only with samples of the songs, perhaps an EP instead of a whole album, maybe the first 30 seconds of each song, etc?

    Leveraging is fine, unless you set the lever wrong and end up having to apply more force than is returned on the other side.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 11:57am

    Don't know unless you try

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re: Pre-emptive Salvo

    So you would be fine with price gouging? Lets not sell something for what its worth but for how much someone is willing to pay. This makes sense for "supply and demand" situations where the supply is limited, but if its an infinite supply, it fails.

    This is a unique market. Someone puts a fixed finite amount of effort into producing something that can be created an infinite amount of times. It only makes sense that you pay for the effort and not the end product.

    Look up Trent Reznor or Jonathan Coulton. They're not refusing to make progress in this market like the folks who think the same way you do.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Alan Gerow, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Pre-emptive Salvo

    The question is, would people pay for scarce goods, which would include concerts, t-shirts, DVDs (which they shouldn't rely much revenue on anymore, either), books, licensed products of all types, photo collections, autographed junk, art in the likeness of, personal appearances, personal memorabilia, tour memorabilia & props, performances (of all types), personalized songs, and the list goes on?

    People are buying this stuff now, while ALSO paying for the license to listen to the music pressed on the official CD they have legal possession of (which is technically their position). So, if people pay for scarce goods and the music, and then you give them the music for free, then they'll have more money for the scarce goods and use the infinite good of music to get more fans to spend more money on scarce goods. Most of the money on physical media went to the distribution, marketing, and recording areas of the music industry as it is ... the artists made most of their money from the merchandising and touring. This is putting MORE of the money in the hands of the artists.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    The infamous Joe, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: Pre-emptive Salvo

    Do you put quotes around the word scarce because you feel that the goods are not scarce?

    It's that or you don't know how to use them, but I'm giving you the BOD on that one.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    R. Miles, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Actually...

    You're right though, they'll probably still be called "The Recording Industry" anyway. So I'm just arguing semantics.
    Even the recording industry, in the true sense, is also losing revenue. Computers are wonderful instruments to create, modify, and produce music.

    Amazing what 10 years has done to many industries relying on control.

     

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  20.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Mar 31st, 2009 @ 12:59pm

    Yay

    I have argued with some on this blog before about why should I ever pay for music, when there are groups out there who want me to hear their music for free.
    This is a perfect case in point of why I should not have to pay for music.
    I will find the music (which only becomes much easier as more groups do it) that the groups will give me for free, so that I may hear their stuff to begin with.
    Tonight, I make a special trip to Mininova to listen to some music that they want me to hear.
    Hopefully it is stuff I like or Mininova has improved the categories a little. I haven't been there in awhile.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Morgan, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 4:37pm

    Stop equating voluntary and involuntary participation

    Beep Beep, Mininova, and whoever else can decide however they want to distribute what they create. I think it's cool. But you act like their choice of business model invalidates other ones, or legitimizes 'sharing' of music from people who have not chosen to.

    However ill-advised, it is still their creation. If they want to charge for it and defend their rights under the law, great-- it's a shrinking pie and a tough stance to take. But it doesn't make the people breaking the law or disregarding their copyright some kind of heroes.

    Just because a few tech journalists have taken the huge leap that concert tickets and t-shirts can be sold for money doesn't mean every music maker must use only those means to make money. There are bands that don't perform live, maybe they don't want t-shirts and find them crass. In a voluntary economy there are a million ways to make money and it should be just that-- voluntary between the producer and consumer.

    This is getting so stale, the idea that-- see Trent Reznor gave it away, but people will stillbe complaining about torrents-- as though they are complaining about totally voluntary giveaways. Nice straw man.

     

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  22.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 31st, 2009 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Stop equating voluntary and involuntary participation

    Beep Beep, Mininova, and whoever else can decide however they want to distribute what they create. I think it's cool. But you act like their choice of business model invalidates other ones, or legitimizes 'sharing' of music from people who have not chosen to.

    When did I say that? I never said that this legitimizes unauthorized sharing. I am, as usual, speaking from the perspective of a content creator, and how they can embrace these services to make more money.

    I never said it's ok for others to do this. Can you point to where I did, or did you just create a big strawman?

    However ill-advised, it is still their creation. If they want to charge for it and defend their rights under the law, great-- it's a shrinking pie and a tough stance to take. But it doesn't make the people breaking the law or disregarding their copyright some kind of heroes.

    Did I ever imply otherwise? Nope. So what are you complaining about?

    Just because a few tech journalists have taken the huge leap that concert tickets and t-shirts can be sold for money doesn't mean every music maker must use only those means to make money. There are bands that don't perform live, maybe they don't want t-shirts and find them crass. In a voluntary economy there are a million ways to make money and it should be just that-- voluntary between the producer and consumer.

    Uh, again, who said anything along the lines of what you're accusing us of saying?

    This is getting so stale, the idea that-- see Trent Reznor gave it away, but people will stillbe complaining about torrents-- as though they are complaining about totally voluntary giveaways. Nice straw man.

    The only strawman here would be yours... The point of this article is that it's easier and easier for legitimate content makers to embrace these technologies.

    You seem to be reading into it something entirely different.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Weird Harold, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 7:27pm

    Re: Re: Stop equating voluntary and involuntary participation

    Mike, I would have to say that you toss the term "strawman" around a lot, especially when you don't seem inclined to answer the question.

    The front page of Mininova is packed full of hacks, cracks, and other sorts of things that on their face are illegal or very questionable. I think you are tiptoeing around the issue that much of the music and software that is out there isn't there by choice, but by force. It seems more like "now we have ripped you off soundly, here is a way to make a few dollars back if you share the money with us". To me, it is no different that having crooks take over your store and generously offer to allow you to work for only half the profits in the future.

    Morgan is on to something - you are saying that you shoud give away the music (use it for marketing) and "something happens". What is that something? More importantly, is that something ever going to add up to anything that makes money?

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 7:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Stop equating voluntary and involuntary participation

    Perhaps I will live long enough to see the day when P2P is by a large margin used for the sharing of "authorized" content. Until then it is an interesting technology that holds promise, but that promise will not be realized until it is placed in the hands of responsible people having a well-developed sense of right and wrong.

     

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  25.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 31st, 2009 @ 11:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Stop equating voluntary and involuntary participation

    Mike, I would have to say that you toss the term "strawman" around a lot, especially when you don't seem inclined to answer the question.

    I was accused of supporting unauthorized usage when I did not. That is the definition of a strawman.

    The front page of Mininova is packed full of hacks, cracks, and other sorts of things that on their face are illegal or very questionable.

    And what does that have to do with two companies coming up with a smart business model?

    I think you are tiptoeing around the issue that much of the music and software that is out there isn't there by choice, but by force. It seems more like "now we have ripped you off soundly, here is a way to make a few dollars back if you share the money with us".

    That's not at all what the record label claimed. It's doing so willingly.

    Besides, if you CAN make more money by embracing file sharing... um... why wouldn't you?!?

    Morgan is on to something - you are saying that you shoud give away the music (use it for marketing) and "something happens". What is that something? More importantly, is that something ever going to add up to anything that makes money?

    No, not "something happens." As we've explained clearly, that *something* is putting in place a real reason to buy -- and yes, we've shown over and over and over and over again that, when done properly, the artists tend to earn a LOT more money. As in much more than they ever earned under the old system.

    We've shown examples of big bands, small bands and middle bands. I honestly can't see how you claim it doesn't work. It's worked. Over and over and over again. To say that it doesn't is flat out denial.

     

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  26.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 31st, 2009 @ 11:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Stop equating voluntary and involuntary participation

    Perhaps I will live long enough to see the day when P2P is by a large margin used for the sharing of "authorized" content. Until then it is an interesting technology that holds promise, but that promise will not be realized until it is placed in the hands of responsible people having a well-developed sense of right and wrong.

    This is quite an odd comment. Considering that those who are embracing these technologies are doing amazingly well with them -- and doing so in a way where everyone wins, what does "right and wrong" have to do with anything?

    I would argue the only "sense of wrong" that's going on are folks in the entertainment industry so confused about business models that they're missing out on the biggest opportunity ever to hit the industry.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    beep! beep!, Apr 1st, 2009 @ 2:36am

    just to clear something up

    It seems more like "now we have ripped you off soundly, here is a way to make a few dollars back if you share the money with us"

    Mininova doesn't take any of the profits made by using this new service. They host/seed our torrents for free and money from sold cd's will go 100% to us.

    best!
    Boudewijn
    Beep! Beep! Back up the Truck

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2009 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Stop equating voluntary and involuntary participation

    I was accused of supporting unauthorized usage when I did not.

    The truth be know, it is correct that you have never stated your support for the use of P2P for downloading/uploading unauthorized content. Even so, many of your articles proffer reasons that give encouragement and comfort to those who choose to ignore the requirements of law. "Hey, a download is not a fortiori a lost sale." "Heck, P2P is a great way for those who U/D unauthorized content to be encouraged to purchase other "products" from the creator of the work (or his/her assignee)." "The creator ought to be grateful for all the free publicity." The list goes on.

    While I certainly agree that P2P can be embraced in many instances for the benefit of the creator (i.e., more $$$), and that business models to realize such a benefit are limited only by peoples' imaginations, I still hew to my opinion that by much of what is written here provides indirect encouragement to wrongdoes by providing them with convenient excuses to rationalize what they are doing is just fine, perhaps even noble.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 1st, 2009 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Stop equating voluntary and involuntary participation

    While I certainly agree that P2P can be embraced in many instances for the benefit of the creator (i.e., more $$$), and that business models to realize such a benefit are limited only by peoples' imaginations, I still hew to my opinion that by much of what is written here provides indirect encouragement to wrongdoes by providing them with convenient excuses to rationalize what they are doing is just fine, perhaps even noble.

    So what would you prefer? That we NOT explain the economic reasons why content creators could be better off by embracing file sharing?

    That we keep our mouths shut rather than present evidence as to how to make it work?

    That makes no sense.

    That that some may misinterpret what we write as "indirect encouragement" is their issue, not ours.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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