BitTorrent on Tuesday announced a new type of media format it is calling BitTorrent Bundle. The company today launched an alpha, to keep up its own trend, built as part of a partnership with the label Ultra Music.
First, let’s look at what the BitTorrent Bundle consist of exactly. BitTorrent says it’s more than your typical media format for music or movies: Bundle is a multimedia format. Currently, it’s an early build of a new type of torrent file where fan interaction, like email collection or donation, can happen within (as opposed to outside, via other tools).
Ultra’s BitTorrent Bundle is a behind-the-scenes look at Kaskade’s 2012 Freaks of Nature tour, designed to support the artist’s May 14th documentary release. This is more than just your typical torrent download: half the content is free (the Dada Life remix of Dynasty and the Freaks of Nature tour trailer) and the other half is a functional record store with content you can unlock using your email (unreleased footage from Kaskade’s Staples Center show in 2012 and an exclusive digital tour booklet).
The Kaskade download is just an example of course, and BitTorrent doesn’t plan on stopping there. After all, this is just an alpha release.
Here’s the big picture. BitTorrent argues that the model for selling content remains largely unchanged. First we bought music at independent record shops downtown, then at chain mega-stores that took their place, and then at the online store that did the same.
BitTorrent wants the record store, the movie theatre, and whatever else creators dream up, to be part of the sale. It calls its initiative “a distributed technology solution for creators” and here’s the pitch:
We don’t need another digital radio station. We don’t need another walled garden or standalone content store. We need ways to place value exchanges within the content itself – allowing these exchanges to travel freely, without barriers or limitations; allowing these exchanges to multiply as content is shared. Our goal is to move the interaction to where it matters; making it a property of the file, versus the distribution framework; giving artists real data about, and real access to, their fans.
The trouble with this attempt is that the larger majority of people just want the basic content at the cheapest price. This is why singles have become so popular and so have online stores.
That doesn’t mean, however, that there’s no room for something like BitTorrent Bundle. BitTorrent envisions the content functioning as a flyer, a standalone storefront, or even a checkout counter. More interestingly, the company believes artists could “build content that appreciates in value over time; that grows more powerful, each time it’s shared.”
How exactly that would work is completely up to the content creators, which some would argue, is exactly how it should be.
Top Image Credit: teakettle