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Music Businesses The Internet

BitTorrent Bundle Puts a Music Store Inside Torrents 78

Posted by Soulskill
from the look-how-legitimate-we-are dept.
An anonymous reader writes "BitTorrent has come up with a new way to sell music. It's called BitTorrent Bundle, and it puts the music store alongside the torrent. At last, someone has come up with a way to turn all us entitled, lawless downloaders into paying customers. BitTorrent thinks of BitTorrent Bundle as a sort of 21st century band flyer. Post a torrent with a handful of live tracks from your latest tour, Bundle it with a store that lets your groupies buy the full album." Put simply, the idea is that bands publish a basic torrent with a few songs as a teaser. When users download that .torrent file from BitTorrent.com, they're shown a page asking for something — money, an email address, or social media interaction — in exchange for the rest of the album (or other bonus content). If they comply, they get a different .torrent file. It's not intended as a guard against piracy, but as a way to link up content creators with the torrenters who are actually willing to pay.
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BitTorrent Bundle Puts a Music Store Inside Torrents

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  • At least... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @03:49PM (#43657657) Journal
    At least somebody is thinking creatively about the music situation, instead of just whining and wishing for the "old days" to come back.
    Of course, those wedded to the erstwhile status quo (major labels) will crap themselves. Or try to sabotage and/or badmouth the idea.
    • by Nadaka (224565)

      The company I used to work for had a similar concept more than 5 years ago. The media companies thought it was a great idea, unless they had to actually pay for the service. They also balked at the idea of paying for mining bittorrent data for real time popularity analytics.

      Its the same place that developed the peer to peer video streaming technology that the guy from Bittorrent is now ripping off and patenting (even reusing some of the diagrams from the original patent).

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        The company I used to work for had a similar concept more than 5 years ago. The media companies thought it was a great idea, unless they had to actually pay for the service. They also balked at the idea of paying for mining bittorrent data for real time popularity analytics.

        Its the same place that developed the peer to peer video streaming technology that the guy from Bittorrent is now ripping off and patenting (even reusing some of the diagrams from the original patent).

        what's there to patent about pirate to pirate live video streaming? since it's been happening for a few years for every major sports event... just today a friend of mine complained having to watch a world championship hockey match with a russian announcer(the match wasn't on public tv over here)...

        now one thing I don't get about this .torrent method bittorrent is trying to push: doesn't it depend on the torrent clients adhering to the "SHOW THESE ADS TO THE DUUDS!!!" field in the torrent? are they going t

        • by Nadaka (224565)

          What is there to patent? the process of taking a live video stream and sending it to 30 million clients while using a single stream server and a tiny fraction of the bandwidth, all with a delay of 4 to 8 seconds

    • Re:At least... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by steelfood (895457) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @05:01PM (#43658359)

      If this isn't completely killed by the major publishers of art (music, movies, etc.) in the near term, then this could end up being a major distribution channel rivaling iTunes.

      Imagine grabbing a torrent and having the option of directly paying the band, or having the option of going to the band's homepage or storefront for physical media or memorabilia. That would be pretty sweet. Of course, this could theoretically be subverted by bad actors (like people falsely representing others, the publishers themselves, or malware peddlers), so Bittorrent as the gatekeepers would have to be very careful about what they accept and not.

      The bundles site [bittorrent.com] itself is atrocious though. They really should be taking design cues from popular trackers and not the old Myspace pages of the artists they're featuring.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        If this isn't completely killed by the major publishers of art (music, movies, etc.) in the near term, then this could end up being a major distribution channel rivaling iTunes.

        Sure ... because all the other sites that have tried to cut out the middle man and directly connect artists to people have worked so well ...

        Just because someone makes an album, doesn't mean they have talent. It doesn't mean anyone is willing to pay. This is the problem the studios are not coming to grips with. People don't want to pay for 13 shitty songs to get 1 good one. Likewise, people aren't going to want to pay to have to wade through thousands of shitty 'artists' that have no business making noi

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          'free downloads from XXX.com' on soda bottle tops?

          What is this soda brand you speak of offering free XXX.com downloads? I am suddenly mighty thirsty.... and mighty lonely.

      • Imagine grabbing a torrent and having the option of directly paying the band, or having the option of going to the band's homepage or storefront for physical media or memorabilia.

        Everyone is talking music. I think this is pretty limiting. I think this has much bigger potential than just music. Movie trailers linked to movies. Book samples linked to books. Demo programs linked to programs. The opportunities are endless.

    • Re:At least... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @05:02PM (#43658363) Homepage Journal

      At least somebody is thinking creatively about the music situation

      Unfortunately, it's not the musicians, but people with MBAs looking for ways to continue to profit from other peoples' work.

      The solution to "the music situation" is not technical. The "music business" was an aberration, an artifact of corporatism, having nothing to do with music. It treated music as a commodity, and artists as tangential figures at best.

      Best to let it die. Musicians will continue to make music, and they'll figure out a way to make a living doing so. And they'll do it by thinking creatively, which is what they're supposed to be good at.

      My opinions are based on experience, having made about 1/3 of my income over the past 20 years as a musician, and the past eight years completely outside the bounds of the "music business".

      • by Weezul (52464)

        Ideally, we need a standard for placing advertisements inside the music files themselves, basically a codec that controls the album artwork display. Bands could overlay the album artwork with links to their website, to make donations, tour information, etc. All controlled by whoever uploaded the mp3, which the band can always do first.

  • by flogger (524072) <non@nonegiven> on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @03:52PM (#43657685) Journal
    I've spent 50 bucks during the last week over "promo-torrents." I haven;t spent so much money on music since the Napster free-for-all.
  • Underestimating people by thinking that they won't download the next link down, which is the completely free pirated album.

    Underestimating the RIAA's greed that they would actually agree to this.

    Underestimating the artists themselves as most don't have more than 2-3 good songs an album anyways.

    It does make a bit of sense though as I can grab a recorder and get the hit songs off the radio I guess (quality debate out of scope), but so far the best model I've seen for selling music based off of samples is play

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Underestimating the artists themselves as most don't have more than 2-3 good songs an album anyways.

      To be fair, with nobody buying physical CDs, organizing songs into albums is only a tradition now.

      • Its still used as filler to bulk up their product.
        • by Aaron B Lingwood (1288412) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @04:38PM (#43658101)

          ...organizing songs into albums is only a tradition now.

          Its still used as filler to bulk up their product.

          While this may be true for your typical pop artists, it does not hold true for the seasoned artists that release concept album [wikipedia.org]. These are albums where a number of songs are used to tell a story - much like a musical.

          Examples of this include Muse The Resistance, Tokyo Jihen Just Can't Help It, and Gotye Making Mirrors. If you ever want to completely lose yourself into music, I recommend seeking these out.

          • While this may be true for your typical pop artists, it does not hold true for the seasoned artists that release concept album [wikipedia.org]. These are albums where a number of songs are used to tell a story - much like a musical.

            Examples of this include Muse The Resistance, Tokyo Jihen Just Can't Help It, and Gotye Making Mirrors. If you ever want to completely lose yourself into music, I recommend seeking these out.

            While you're at it, check out some stuff by Shpongle (doesn't tell a story, but the songs have inter-song and intra-song variation and flow into each other nicely so that it's hard to tell where one song ends and the next begins) or Ayreon (space opera, rock opera; can particularly recommend "Into The Electric Castle").

          • by JThundley (631154)

            Oooh are we talking concept albums? I know a couple!

            Digimortal [wikipedia.org]
            The Industrialist [wikipedia.org]
            Tales of Mystery And Imagination [wikipedia.org]

            These are the only 3 I can think of off the top of my head :/

      • by sconeu (64226)

        Makes it damn hard to put out a concept album...

        • by Hentes (2461350)

          Yes, there are albums that are composed in a way that adds to the value of the individual songs (although concept albums are a cheap talentless way of doing that, a good musician can create an atmosphere from the songs without filler bullshit inbetween). But even in those rare cases, the tradition to make a composition of songs album-length is an unnecessary constraint. For better or worse, music consumers are shifting towards individual songs, and no amount of concept albums is going to stop them.
          Back to t

    • by jerpyro (926071)

      I disagree. Half the stuff I torrent is just because it's more convenient than the crappy "approved" distribution models. If I *really* like what I torrent, I wait until it's available commercially (see, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead) and buy the box sets after I watch/listen to the torrents. If I sort-of like it, I won't bother seeking it out after the fact, and if I don't like it, I delete it. This seems like a good way to get me to throw them a few dollars even if it's in the "sort of like it" catego

      • by Synerg1y (2169962)

        Have you ever heard of the iTunes music store sir?

        • I would never buy from Apple, or any big record studio, but I would buy from independent musicians through torrent. I would even pay far in excess of market prices to the ones I like.
          • by BitZtream (692029)

            Ah, so you're just a pretentious asshole who thinks he's cool because he refuses to buy music that doesn't suck. Just another emo/goth fighting a cause that doesn't actually exist anywhere outside his own imagination.

            • Nah, I am just a person who has his own tastes, not a sheeple like you who only likes what your masters tell you to.
        • by jerpyro (926071)

          That's that thing for people with apple devices, right? That thing that doesn't run on Linux, and barely runs on Windows (and as such is unusable enough that I won't install it) and is the main reason why I don't own an iPhone or an iPad? Yeah, I've heard of it.

          I also haven't much interest in it, when I can (and do) get much of the same content from Amazon. The PC I browse on is separate than the server I store media on is separate from the device(s) I watch media on -- I don't fit into Apple's box. I'm

          • by Synerg1y (2169962)

            have you heard of the Amazon music store? :P

            Pay now listen now, my point to you being that the "convenience" factor has existed for years and years. Your argument about trying it first then buying it later has existed even longer, so when you say

            more convenient than the crappy "approved" distribution models

            You come off as sounding ignorant.

            • by jerpyro (926071)

              I admit that I may be ignorant. I should have prefaced my reply with "Disclaimer: Haven't used iTunes since 2009"
              Honestly I haven't had the time to sit down and try any new music stores recently, and have just been depending on what Amazon comes out with. But my other point still stands -- BitTorrent is awfully convenient for the lazy (such as myself).

          • by BitZtream (692029)

            and barely runs on Windows (and as such is unusable enough that I won't install it) and is the main reason why I don't own an iPhone or an iPad? Yeah, I've heard of it.

            How much do you suck at computers. My 90 year old grandmother can use iTunes in Windows without any problems. You realize you just make yourself look stupid with these comments, right?

            • by jerpyro (926071)

              Maybe that's just it -- I am not trying to follow the same model as your 90-year-old grandmother. I want it to behave in a manner different than it's intended, and so the interface (and the ability of the software) is not adequate for my requirements. It's part of a good software engineer to understand your target audience. Perhaps I am not their target audience, and your 90 year old grandmother is.

              Plus their iPod driver / background launcher probably conflicts with a driver on my machine, or my antiviru

      • If I *really* like what I torrent, I wait until it's available commercially

        Let me know when Song of the South, Secret of the Incas, Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, or Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea is available commercially on DVD or BD.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Underestimating the RIAA's greed that they would actually agree to this.

      Well, if they're independent groups not on a label, the RIAA has no say.

      Of course, that doesn't prevent the RIAA from occasionally asserting that Fat Wreck Chords and other labels are members (over the objection of those labels).

      Sadly, just because the RIAA has no legal basis to do something has never stopped them.

    • by gmuslera (3436)

      People want [ted.com] to pay back in a way or another to the artists that do something they like, just not the corporation that is in the middle and keeps most of the benefits for itself and throws just a bone to the artist in by far most of the cases. And want freedom too, not the "you can hear/see/read this where i say, when i say, and how i say" corporate motto. Is a combo of DRM free and reaching the final artist.

      The problem is, if proves to be successful, it will be exploited by others too, from corporations th

    • Underestimating people by thinking that they won't download the next link down, which is the completely free pirated album.

      You are somewhat correct... offering more of what you just got for free is dumb as hell. But the rest of the ideas are solid... "Follow us on facebook for the rest of the album" or better yet, Query the users IP, search your Concert ticket database and offer them a chance to pre-order tickets for a show. You could literally book your entire tour based on pre-ordered ticket purchases and then just refund those areas that didn't get enough sales. Most wont give you a dime, but some will... and that's a lot be

      • by Synerg1y (2169962)

        Ehh... and unicorns exist. That's my counter-argument. The thing I missed was the time I spent reading your post. Sorry.

      • "Follow us on facebook for the rest of the album"

        Which would require one to use Facebook in the first place. Doesn't a Facebook account require verifying a unique phone number nowadays?

        I think we all know the only place the RIAA is relevant is in the retirement accounts of the congressmen they've bought.

        That and people who listen to music on the commute but don't have the recurring expense of an unlimited data plan. They're stuck on FM, and FM stations have long-term relationships with Warner Music, Universal Music, and Sony Music.

        And with this, you've missed one of the most important points of Peer to Peer file sharing. It's the ultimate a-la-carte menu

        Since when? I thought BitTorrent was optimized for downloading an entire album as opposed to individual tracks from that album. Among pirate net

    • Underestimating people by thinking that they won't download the next link down, which is the completely free pirated album.

      If only 1% of those people pay for the full album this way, that's 1% more sales than they likely would have had without it.

      • by Synerg1y (2169962)

        That's a tough one, I wonder if the exposure on p2p would counter-act that 1% with easier to obtain pirated copies, but fundamentally the more places you peddle your digital product, the richer you get.

    • well, ANY money they see from this is still way better than NO money, right?
      • by Synerg1y (2169962)

        Not if the P2P exposure causes them to be downloaded to the point where they start losing sales they would've gotten legitimately, but that's only my opinion. I can only theorize.

        • by amaurea (2900163)

          Is there any evidence that high P2P exposure has a negative effect on the number of sales? I could imagine it going both ways depending on the balance of extra sales by word of mouth advertisement, try-before-you buy and extra fame vs. people not needing to buy it because they have already downloaded it. It would be very interesting to see some statistics about this!

    • Underestimating the artists themselves as most don't have more than 2-3 good songs an album anyways.

      You mean overestimating, for sure! ;)

      but so far the best model I've seen for selling music based off of samples is playing the first 20-30 seconds of the song and then asking if the user wants to buy it.

      Probably works quite well for pop music and other styles that settle into "the meat of the thing" during that timeframe. But some of the electronic stuff I listen to is a bit too complex or evolves too slowly to be sampled in a mere 30 seconds, regardless whether it comes from the front, the end or the middle. I'd rather they allowed me to choose between either listening to part of the song in high quality, or the complete song in lower quality. Or even better, like on t

  • They look for the bootlegged torrent.
  • I would probably use it and pay them.

    If bands used it and their management company got 99% of the profit and gave them the other 1%, then screw it, I'll continue torrenting (or actually, just continue downloading legitimately free music and/or giving money to indie musicians that are set up to actually receive money from me in a more legitimate setup. Often not 100%, if they're going through bandcamp or equivalent, but still, 80-90% of it.)

  • Finally! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Apparently some MBA finally figured out that "peer-to-peer downloading for free" means (FREE) "peer-to-peer marketing".

    The product (bits that encode music) is not scarce. Consumer attention is very scarce.
    An ever increasing amount of content competes for a precious foothold in a consumer's attention span.
    Trying to prosecute "illegal downloaders" is being penny wise and pound foolish.
    Trading a non-scarce resource for a scarce one is always a win.

  • "And they never went further, no, they never went back Then came the churches then came the schools Then came the lawyers then came the rules Then came the trains and the trucks with their loads " has been this way since 1995 or so.... news at eleven...
  • It's still not as good as simply having a website with a downloadable mp3 file or two, plus a "buy the album" button (1990s tech). But I guess I can't fault the BitTorrent company for wanting to build on bittorrent instead of HTTP, and maybe it causes the hosting server to be slightly cheaper. (No, wait, music files are so tiny compared to what people do on the 'Net these days, that I really doubt it makes a difference in cost, either.) But at least bittorrent is "hip." This is a cutting-edge 2003 busine

    • Distribution via an artist's website is kind of a pain. You have to go to each of your favorite artist's site and hit download a couple of times for whatever they are offering. Distribution via torrents is much easier. Throw your band's promo torrent up on any of the popular torrent indexing sites (The Pirate Bay, Isohunt, RuTorrents, etc) and now those files are centrally available under a single website. To take it one step further, work with any of the major music streaming sites (Spotify, Pandora, even

      • by Sloppy (14984)

        Throw your band's promo torrent up on any of the popular torrent indexing sites (The Pirate Bay, Isohunt, RuTorrents, etc) and now those files are centrally available under a single website.

        You can do the equivalent with 1990s tech except that it's even more convenient. Either have Google be the equivalent of "popular torrent site" or even a music review site where people have written opinions. Except instead of linking to a torrent file or magnet link, you link to the mp3 on the band's site. The web is

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @06:34PM (#43659285) Homepage

    The only correct way to correctly make a bittorent store is to make it the entire album, and then just ask for money.
    This torrent will be beside full packages, why would you download the gimped one? And if I wanted to pay for the music I would pay at a store so I could direct download instead of having to deal with all the extra torrent stuff.

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