In the last month, we’ve seen more and more established, touring electronic music artists putting up big chunks of their latest album, their music catalog — or even their entire catalog — for free download as a BitTorrent Bundle.
There’s a motive behind this, of course. The BitTorrent Bundle technology lets the creator (or Publisher, as they call it) of the package determine stipulations for the download. They can make some material free, while the full package costs a minimum price that the Publisher sets.
That’s the route that Branko (pictured right), a co-founder of Buraka Som Sistema, went for his BitTorrent Bundle of Atlas, his latest album/multimedia project. For Atlas, Branko, aka João Barbosa, traveled to five cities on four continents to explore new music scenes and work with new artists. The Atlas BitTorrent Bundle gives you four remixes for free, and the Premium bundle costs a Publisher-set minimum of $6 for the full album, many more remixes and a 200MB sample pack.
For our other examples, all you have to do is enter your email address to get the Premium bundle. After all, entrepreneurs consider email subscribers as good as gold. So yes, you will receive emails from the Publishers after you give it to them in exchange for free music. The artists can then interact with their email subscribers and tell them about their shows, merch and other things that may be more profitable than music that is, you know, available free somewhere else on the Internet anyway.
Mad Decent artist Brillz is giving away his entire 7-track Geekin’ Remix EP in both MP3 and WAV formats in exchange for an email address. And in the case of Big Gigantic, the duo of saxophonist/producer Dominic Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salken, you can get the Very Big Gigantic Bundle: more than three albums for absolutely nada, and everything from Big Gigantic — the albums, singles, remixes, set mixes and videos in exchange for your email address.
Like it or not, BitTorrent has always been an innovative technology for legitimate uses that has been abused a lot for illegitimate uses. But with BitTorrent Bundles, artists can leverage the technology to help them get paid and/or help them build their fan base to support a sustainable career. Plus, because BitTorrent downloads are peer-to-peer, the Publisher doesn’t have to pay for bandwidth costs.
These bundles are very popular so far — whether they are effective or not will be a question for each Publisher who put them out. But of the three we’ve mentioned here, Big Gigantic has had 1.2 million downloads; Branko has had 785,000 downloads; and Brillz has had 815,000 downlaods — all of those totals happened in less than a month.
There are a ton of other notable BitTorrent Bundles available right now, including those from Curren$y, Pretty Lights, Moby, Alice in Chains, Jurassic 5, Beats Antique, G-Eazy, Gramatik, Zeds Dead, Ace Hood, Fool’s Gold Records, Matthew Dear, Dim Mak Records, Waka Flocka Flame, Cut/Copy, De La Soul, The Polish Ambassador, Thom Yorke, Diplo, Foster the People, Joywave, Flume, GTA and Monstercat Records.
Click this link to become a BitTorrent Bundle publisher.