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BitTorrent Announces Plans To Help Artists Get Paid While Giving Their Creations Away For Free

from the pira¢y-is-the-new-paid-content dept

In many people's minds (especially those in certain industries), the word “torrent” is synonymous with piracy. This has obviously caused a bit of problem for BitTorrent, Inc., the parent company of BitTorrent client, uTorrent. Despite the fact that uTorrent has legitimate uses, most members of the press and politicians continue to link BitTorrent with the act of copyright infringement, and in some cases, seem to believe that The Pirate Bay and BitTorrent are either related businesses, if not actually the same entity.

Following the footsteps of Youtube, BitTorrent is experimenting with ways to help artists make money while still giving away their work for free. The first experiment goes live today. Torrentfreak has the details:

The idea is simple. BitTorrent Inc. helps artists to promote a bundle of free content to their 150 million users. This bundle includes a piece of sponsored software such as a media player or anti-virus package that can be installed as an option. When a user installs the free software, both the artist and BitTorrent get a cut of the proceeds.

“We believe we can make digital distribution even more viable for creators and fans. So, beginning now, we’ll be testing new ways to drive profitability for creators while delivering even more meaningful media experiences for our users,” BitTorrent CEO Eric Klinker comments on the announcement.

The first artist featured is DJ Shadow, who's releasing a package of exclusives and some sponsored software. Hidden Transmissions From the MPC Era (1992-1996) will be promoted to existing users with banner and text ads and new users will be given that option when installing uTorrent. Getting DJ Shadow on board with free distribution and torrent services is a bit of coup on BitTorrent's part, considering he's made statements in the past decrying what he perceives to be a continuing devaluation of music by file sharing.

[I]f you’re holding your breath, waiting for me to boost my cool-quotient by giving my music away for free, it’s not going to happen. The fact is that I feel my music has value. You may disagree, and that’s fine. But I know how much energy I put into what I do, and how long it takes me to make something I’m satisfied with. Giving that away just feels wrong to me. It’s not about money per se; I can donate a large sum of money to charity and not think twice, but I won’t give my art away. I’d rather sell it to 100 people who value it as I do than give it away to 1000 who could care less. That’s MY choice.

I point out this statement not to “name and shame” DJ Shadow or as a cheap dig at what could be perceived as a hypocritical act, but rather to show that BitTorrent's experiment would seem to have a chance of succeeding. Given DJ Shadow's stance, it's highly unlikely that he would have signed on to give away his music for free (and linked his name with a service often mentioned in the same breath as “copyright infringement”) if he didn't see legitimate potential in the plan.

BitTorrent obviously hopes that showing artists the monetary potential of the uTorrent platform will garner it more recognition as a legitimate platform. Several more campaigns are due to roll out this summer, with BitTorrent closely tracking the response to each experiment.

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Companies: bittorrent

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Comments on “BitTorrent Announces Plans To Help Artists Get Paid While Giving Their Creations Away For Free”

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51 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

So, trolling or not, you want people who create software which has a plethora of uses to suddenly become talent scouts, producers, marketing execs and manufacturers? That about sum it up?

Okay, let’s try this. When the studio execs can write code that allows others to create digital copies of music, write code that allows people to stream said music, write code that runs the program to play/stream/purchase said music, set up the necessary servers to run all this, as well as put in place the infrastructure required to provide the bandwidth to move all this then we’ll talk about software creators doing all that stuff.

The future’s not so great for trolls. I’ve often found that knee jerk responses are the easiest to shoot down given a moment’s effort to stop and think about what was said before actually replying that is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

So, trolling or not, you want people who create software which has a plethora of uses to suddenly become talent scouts, producers, marketing execs and manufacturers? That about sum it up?

No…all of those things are words you just put in my mouth.
The rest of your post is thus pointless to address.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No, that’s exactly what you said: …once we see them signing new artists, developing them, marketing them, and producing actual products…

All he was saying is that it’s a two-way street. You expect Bit-torrent to do the Studio’s work, he expects the studios to do Bit-torrent’s work.

Now respond in a constructive way please.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You’re still incorrect. I proposed some processes he responded with an implementations which I never mentioned.

Where did I ever say BT should become talent scouts, producers, marketing execs and manufacturers? Those were the words he put in my mouth.

Case closed. Thanks.

Who’s more the troll? The troll? Or the troll who trolls the troll?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

No, the one incorrect is yourself. The AC you replied to (and myself, as the original person who responded to you) quoted the significant portion of your comment. Which I presented in a more understandable way (which was the bit about talent scouts/”signing new artists”, producers/”developing them”, marketing execs/”marketing them” and manufacturers/”producing actual products”.

You did not flat out state they should become what I put, but it was easily interpreted as such by myself and obviously at least one other person.

The case is very much not closed though, unless of course you just don’t want to have a discussion. Your clear attempt at dismissal early on “the rest of your post is thus pointless to address” is evidence of that. In fact, what rest of my post? I didn’t even post more beyond saying that knee jerk responses like yours are easily shot down by anyone who reads them and takes a moment to think before they speak, something you seem incapable of doing.

Putting words in your mouth? Hardly. What you implied is evident for all to see.

And it seems like no one was trolling besides yourself.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

…quoted the significant portion of your comment…

…and then added a bunch of words that I didnt say. Then constructed his argument not on my quote but on the words (s)he added. So quoting me, then adding a strawman, then ignoring my quote and arguing the strawman is pointless.

You did not flat out state they should become what I put, but it was easily interpreted as such by myself and obviously at least one other person.

Again, your strawman, not my words. I’m far more innovated in my thoughts.

unless of course you just don’t want to have a discussion.

And it seems like no one was trolling besides yourself

I concede these points.

What you implied is evident for all to see.

Being the originator of my thoughts I can 100% assure you that what you made up on my behalf was not, in fact, what was in my pea-brain.

Case still closed. Please see Doug Llewelyn on your way out.

Lowestofthekeys (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Actually developing artists is not something many labels do anymore, here’s a quotation from http://www.musicbizacademy.com/knab/articles/insidelabels.htm:

“The Artist Development Department has changed over the last decade. Many labels no longer have such a department. Others have changed the name to Product Development and concentrate more on “breaking,” or promoting artists quickly in order to try to speed up the return on their financial investment. The pressure to return a profit to shareholders has changed the face of the music business dramatically in recent years, so the emphasis has been more on Product Development, and securing a hit as fast as possible.”

Also marketing is a sham compared to what it used to be. In the old days, record companies paid people to go promote an artist at record stores and through the radio, now they just ship several hundred thousand units to Walmart and Target, which is bad because “retailers like Target only put about 300 titles per year on shelves out of 3000 or more possible releases, honing it down to ONLY the most demanded (according to them) artists and records” http://www.digiave.net/piracy-didnt-kill-the-music-business/

So according to you this broken system, which became broken after the label execs decided to cut back on costs, is better than the newly proposed system how?

Oh yeah, let’s not bring up the fact the labels still pay 12% royalties to artists from digital music retailers.
You could argue that it was fair to do this when they had to pay to produce the CDs and ship them, but digital music distributors do not require any of that.

PlagueSD says:

Re: Great Idea

The idea is simple. BitTorrent Inc. helps artists to promote a bundle of free content to their 150 million users. This bundle includes a piece of sponsored software such as a media player or anti-virus package that can be installed as an option. When a user installs the free software, both the artist and BitTorrent get a cut of the proceeds.

Even more “bloatware” to install. I already have a media player that I use. I have trusted Anti-virus installed. Looks like I’ll be checking the files in the torrent and un-checking the “extra” files.

Besides, I’m NOT going to be installing ANY programs I download from a Torrent. Who knows where they came from and what they REALLY do.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Great Idea

Besides, I’m NOT going to be installing ANY programs I download from a Torrent. Who knows where they came from and what they REALLY do.

There’s no need to go that far. I do use torrent to download and install software (legal software, mostly Linux). I can confirm with a high degree of confidence that the download I got is correct and unmodified by the use of MD5 fingerprints.

The involvement of torrents is not relevant to the question of whether what you downloaded is malware or not. Every source of software presents a risk, be it the apple store, a shrink wrap box, or Dr. Sketchy’s Software Bin. The same rule applies in all cases: do not install anything unless you have confirmed that what you got is actually what the software manufacturer shipped.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Poor execution

The idea is simple. BitTorrent Inc. helps artists to promote a bundle of free content to their 150 million users. This bundle includes a piece of sponsored software such as a media player or anti-virus package that can be installed as an option. When a user installs the free software, both the artist and BitTorrent get a cut of the proceeds.

Ugh. Their idea is bloatware? So since Microsoft is finally trying to fix the mess it created and get OEMs to get rid of the cruft on prebuilt machines, BitTorrent has decided to step in and start at it? Do people really need more trial antiviruses that stop updating (unless they pay)and leave people vulnerable? Or another browser toolbar?

Good idea – getting artists to help BitTorrent and trying to get them paid
Poor execution – doing it with optional software installs that are unlikely to add any value to a user’s experience and more likely to make it worse

Anonymous Coward says:

all the best of luck but there is absolutely no way the entertainment industries will allow this project to get off the ground, let alone be a success. they are going to lie, cheat, deceive and bribe anyone and everyone they have to to get it stopped. and the really sad part is those that will be having the ‘offerings’ made to them are the ones that could make this successful. but then, personal preferences are more important than those represented or even the government served in

Anonymous Coward says:

I read this a few times before I started chuckling.

Welcome to bloatware, malware, and stupid ware galore. Space sold to the highest bidders, and you are going to be sure that the bot herders and such will be thrilled by this new source of victims.

More over, there is the law of diminishing returns here. As more artist join in, there are fewer non-infected users (oops… users who haven’t installed the wonderful “free”software) to make money off of. There is only so much bloatware any idiot will install on their systems before it fails.

Worse yet, for the artist anyway, the software could be tool to make it easier to pirate your content, or to otherwise bypass your legal sales chains, such as selling “nearly authentic” t-shirts and such.

Finally, there is a Pavlovian sort of move here by the torrent people. Train people to accept extra stuff in their downloads, and then start selling that space for money as well on EVERY download. Basically, tack crap onto every link, every download.

There isn’t much positive here (Unless you are truly drunk on the Koolaid around here)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Also, it’s going to get pirated regardless if the soffware helps them do it.”

Making it appear to be acceptable to pirate is another way to get the 50+% of people who don’t pirate to join the game. If the only way to get the songs is to use P2P software, you teaching people how it works.

It’s a negative all around for artists. I have to assume that this DJ is getting paid a whole bunch more than just the download money to be doing this.

audiomagi (profile) says:

Close, but no cigar

I have been a DJ Shadow fan for many years, so of course I jumped at the chance to get some free content and I downloaded the torrent. Included in the torrent was a file called “SUPPORT_THE_ARTIST.html” Upon opening the file in Firefox, I was taken back to the utorrent.com website where I found that the way to “support the artist” was to download (and install) a copy of Realplayer. I have had several bad experiences with Realplayer in the past, but I was willing to overlook that and go ahead and install the software, just to support DJ Shadow. Next, I clicked the download link. I was greeted with a graphic explaining to me “Sorry. This offer is for PC only.” (I am using a MacBook Pro.) Whoever is behind this program isn’t really trying to get all of the possible revenue out of this idea. I really hate Realplayer. I certainly don’t need it on OS X, but I was still willing to download and install it, just to show my support for DJ Shadow. This is the equivalent of “Here, take my money.” “No, we don’t want your money.” So close, and yet so far.

Anonymous Coward says:

http://www.youtube.com/user/RayWilliamJohnson/store

Youtube added “store” for its talents, I also read somewhere that they paid the people who drive more traffic a thousand bucks to get better equipment, I also read that Youtube is sponsoring a program teaching people how to produce better looking videos that will be uploaded to Youtube and accessible to all.

Now those are simple steps that Bittorrent Inc. could do, heck anybody could do it.

Bittorrent could just make a plugin for uTorrent that ads a store front and every time you search something it puts “buy this” button somewhere or “buy me a soda”.

Or maybe and Android app that lets you search and buy stuff there, a lot of people don’t have a credit card but they probably have a cellphone.

Brent (profile) says:

have to agree with most of the other comments, while i applaud BitTorrent’s efforts here, this won’t work if users actually have to install the software for anyone to make money. I’m pretty tech savvy but even my mom knows not to allow software installers to install other software packages, she always unchecks the box(es) w/o reading what the other software is – like me.

This doesn’t matter though, once Verizon’s deal is approved by the FCC, most of the country will lose the ability to access the ‘free internet’ we all know and love today. Looks like the smart pipe will snake its way into our infrastructure anyways ๐Ÿ™

anon says:

Seriously

Why can they not just add a link to the artists web page where they can click on a donate button. Then if people want to support the artist they can donate. I don’t know how many times i have thought how cool it would be if i could just donate to someone whose music i have downloaded accidentally and really liked. Ok so they don’t want donations, well call it a contribution to the development of the next bit of content they are going to release.

Anonymous Coward says:

Good use of comment

I think independent artist can include a link to their Paypal Donate account saying people liking this download can help by donate some money there in the comment section of the torrent download page.

I think I’ve seen something like that before on a torrent site for a video asking for charity donatation to something. (Not remember because it’s on different country and I have no intention to donate to unknown organization)

Anonymous Coward says:

Bloatware is a fucking terrible idea to make money for us artists, since nobody will actually download it. Why not just make people watch a 1 minute ad to download the file? Or maybe even have a minimum contribution of $1 to the artist in order to download the file? Both of these would probably work 1000 times better than “HERP DERP I’M A VIRUS DOWNLOAD ME!!!”

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