Let’s face it – peer to peer clients, such as BitTorrent or uTorrent have long been considered to be a haven for piracy and a boon for artists around the world. This is likely to change now that BitTorrent is introducing its paid bundle service, a new business model that should finally offer artists and content creators the revenues they deserve. The new business model BitTorrent is introducing is likely based on the recent controversies regarding revenues paid out to musicians and artists on popular digital music services, such as Soundcloud, Spotify or iTunes. American singer Taylor Swift is just one of the few who have been vocal recently against the financial abuse of these services and the unjust cut artists are getting from selling their music online.
BitTorrent aims to put an end to such issues by offering a 90% cut from sales to artists using the client as a marketplace. This is a number that has previously been unachievable to musicians and should benefit both the artists themselves, as well as their fans, who’ll get access to music at much more affordable rates. Matt Mason, the chief content manager for BitTorrent declared that “Our goal with BitTorrent Bundle is to restore control to creators. We’re opening up applications for paygates to all publishers: allowing artists to sell content direct to fans, on their terms, while keeping 90% of sales revenue.” BitTorrent had plans for such paygates for a long time now, with the first ones rolling out in September. Radiohead’s Tom York’s bundle is one of the first to launch, and it’s one that has been snatched up over 4.4 million times already. A recipe for success? Sure as hell seems like it, and the BitTorrent management certainly seems to grasp that less from more can be a lot better than more from less.
BitTorrent officials are currently offering access to the program in batches, trying to ensure some measure of quality assurance as the entire plan gains amplitude. While any and all artists are invited to apply for the program, access to setting up bundles will come out gradually. If you plan on selling your music or movies, you can apply by completing this application form. Upon applying, artists will be asked to provide contact information as well as some basic details on what exactly they are publishing. BitTorrent is taking a 10% cut from sales, and artists have to account for payment processing fees for themselves, but this is usually under 5%. Still, getting 85% is actually a lot more than artists are getting through other services. Spotify’s 70% payment to artists is actually a lot less after accounting for all fees, and iTunes takes a hefty 40% commission on all sales.
BitTorrent’s paywall-based download system should significantly influence revenues in the music industry for starters, and possibly other major content branches too. The bundles allow artists to set up custom payment systems, and gives them the freedom to directly decide how affordable their art actually is. For instance, a musician may opt to give away free albums to the first 2,000 users that decide to download them, and only charge the late-comers. Will this system prove to be fruitful for both the artist community and BitTorrent? Only time will tell, but it certainly seems the new business plan is off to a great start.