July 25, 2012

BitTorrent And DJ Shadow Team Up To Change The Music Industry

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

Nearly every industry has had to adjust from changes brought about by the Internet. The music industry, however, has been slow to adapt to this new, ever-connected world where songs have turned into MP3s and sharing these files is as smooth and easy as the bass groove in Come Together. Some artists have come up with clever ways to use the Internet to their advantage, of course. Take, for instance, Brit-rock Demi-Gods Radiohead, who let listeners choose the price they paid when they released their 2007 album “In Rainbows.”

Many artists are now using streaming services such as iTunes and Spotify to stream their albums in full in the weeks before the release, giving listeners a chance to preview the album before they buy. In a world where downloading free music is as effortless as pointing your favorite search engine to “Torrent Metallica,”  many artists and record companies need to give listeners new reasons to buy the albums and more ways to pay the artists.

Popular file sharing site BitTorrent launched such a plan yesterday, partnering with American turntablist DJ Shadow to offer 3 free MP3 downloads from his upcoming album, Hidden Transmissions for the MPC Era (1992-1996). These MP3s will be downloaded with a piece of bundled software which GigaOm says will generate revenue for both BitTorrent and DJ Shadow.

According to BitTorrent´s executive director of marketing Matt Mason, the extra bundled software is a result of several partnerships between BitTorrent and gaming and software companies. When the DJ Shadow MP3s are downloaded, the listener will be presented with an offer from one of BitTorrents advertisers. If a listener accepts the offer, BitTorrent sends part of the payment on to DJ Shadow.

“Because the offer will be in every torrent shared, we´re leveraging the BitTorrent ecosystem in a new way,” said Mason in a statement.

The more people that share this Bundle, the greater the chances the artist will make money, directly from the BitTorrent Bundle. That´s new, and it´s a model we´re going to keep developing here.

Mason acknowledges that this new business model is still in it´s early stages and, as such, is likely to undergo some changes. As for DJ Shadow, his manager, Michael Fiebach told GigaOm, “It´s definitely a fair deal.”

“(Shadow) and I just see this as a great opportunity to make history.”

As BitTorrent tries to reach out to the honest side of music fans by offering them free music in exchange for an advertisement, some analysts are doubtful this new model will be very effective.

"I struggle to see quite why people are going to click on it and then generate sponsorship money," said Ben Rumley, an analyst with Enders Analysis, speaking to the BBC.

"If you're specifically going down that route to find music I can't see why you'd want to download another application unless it was really relevant to what you were doing."

Mr. Rumley agrees that piracy would eventually kill the industry, but believes that other, legitimate music services should be backed, rather than experiment with file sharing sites.

"Clearly getting some money out of these people is better than nothing, but the focus needs to be trying to drive users to legitimate services,” said Rumley.

"When you have services such as Spotify and others, it's in the record companies' interests to support legitimate businesses who go to them first and work deals out."