September 25, 2013

BitTorrent “Bundles” Create Digital Art Stores

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BitTorrent has released a new file format called Bundle into closed alpha-testing today, according to VentureBeat. Geared at the art world (primarily music and video), Bundle’s goal is to give artists a way to share their work across the internet for free, without losing the ability to monetize.

The format essentially allows artists to embed paywalls inside of files, which can then be shared freely. When a user opens the file they can view part of the work for free, and will then be asked to either pay a fee, turn over their email address, or perhaps share the work over social media, in order to see the rest. In order to create a Bundle, artists simply upload their file, and then set up a paywall (or email gate) which allows users to view some of the content for free. Afterwards the file can be shared via BitTorrent.

Because the paywall is built into the file format, BitTorrent is hoping that Bundle will ease artists’ concerns about releasing their work freely and hoping for donations or a monetary return sometime in the future. Artists who have already signed on include Madonna, The Pixies, and Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart.

Tim Ferris, author of the 4 Hour Body, said he used the platform to drive an additional “880,000 Amazon impressions.” For businesses, Bundle may represent a way to harness the massive BitTorrent user base, instead of battling against it. Some of the current content available through the format can be been on BitTorrent’s Bundle┬ápage.