LOS ANGELES — Peer-to-peer file distribution network BitTorrent’s campaign to clean up its public image continues, with it now releasing its Bundles paygate to all artists wanting to use BitTorrent for profitably distributing their content.
According to BitTorrent Chief Content Officer Matt Mason, pop artist Taylor Swift has sparked recent debate over the state of the music industry, bringing into question the value of a stream or of a record.
“The value of art shouldn’t be up for debate,” Mason explains. “It should be up to artists.”
In 2014’s piracy-plagued playing field, there are few adult content producers that would disagree.
“Our goal with BitTorrent Bundle is to restore control to creators,” Mason explains. “We’re opening up applications for paygates to all publishers: allowing artists to sell content direct to fans, on their terms, while [allowing them to keep] 90 percent of sales revenue.”
XBIZ previously reported on the initial BitTorrent Bundles paywall test that featured Thom Yorke of musical group “Radiohead” fame and his “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes” Bundle. This project has since resulted in a reported 4.4 million downloads to date, helping to prove the worth of the new content monetization system.
As with traditional online adult entertainment marketing, however, the fact that a prospect downloaded a free sample doesn’t mean that they will purchase a full Bundle, regardless of how little it may cost — with retail price points hovering in the $5 range.
According to Straith Schreder, BitTorrent’s director of content strategy, the company will not disclose its sales data, leaving it up to the artist’s discretion as to whether or not this information is publicly shared; but welcomes all artists to participate in its paygate program, to see how well it works for them.
“Our goal is to make paygates available to all artists,” Schreder says. “We believe art has value; we want everyone to have the ability to sell their work direct-to-fan using Bundle.”
“As with the rollout of the self-publish email gate feature in September 2013, we’re greenlighting paygates in batches,” Schreder adds. “This allows us to QA the platform, and make sure that each publisher is properly set up. We want the paygate experience to be the best possible one for creators and their fans.”
Schreder says that the 10 percent fee charged by BitTorrent, along with the payment processing fees of around five percent, is a much better deal for artists, because Bundles are the basis of a transparent and sustainable business model that puts control back in the hands of content creators.
“Other sales and streaming platforms have come under attack for failing to disclose the deals they’ve made with labels,” Schreder explains. “While Spotify has claimed to pay 70 percent of their revenue to rightsholders, public statements by artists, including Taylor Swift, indicate that little of that money is actually making it back to the people making the songs.”
“Platforms like iTunes take up to 40 percent of sales revenue — without disclosing fan contact information or data, which means that, as an artist, you have no idea who’s buying your work, and how to reach them,” Schreder concludes. “To deprive artists of this data is to deprive them of the ability to build a viable business.”
A list of Bundles, along with reported download data, is available at bundles.bittorrent.com.
Artists, content creators and publishers can sign up for the BitTorrent Bundles paygate program here.