BitTorrent started off as a peer-to-peer file sharing site, similar to the likes of the recently shut down PirateBay. But over the past years, BitTorrent has gone to great lengths to rebrand itself as the premier, and legal, way to share files quickly with your peers. Their biggest step forward is the introduction of BitTorrent Bundles, which are a collection of files, similar to an old record box, that, when downloaded, the user gets to digitally ‘unpack’.
This gives the users a sense of opening up a product they just purchased, an experience that is largely lost through digital distribution. And because of BitTorrent’s software, users can download these files at a much more rapid pace than your average download, and because the information being downloaded is spread across the entire user base who also has that file it takes up much less server space on the artists end; AKA they can sell you the music cheaper.
The earliest adapter of this system was Thom Yorke of Radiohead. While Thom took the first place prize on most downloaded artist through BitTorrent, Diplo came in 2nd, Gramatik 3rd, and Zeds Dead came in 5th. And because Bit Torrent is such an open format, often allowing artists to set their price for their albums, roughly 90% of profits go directly to the artist. That can be a lot of well-earned dough for our beloved artists, seeing as BitTorrent estimated the mean spending throughout their 170million user base comes to $48 a year.
In a year that has seen the entire music industry upended, BitTorrent stands as a possible solution to the wars of free streaming, starving artists, and money hungry labels.