BitTorrent now lets any artist offer paid bundles

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Thom Yorke in concert

BitTorrent's experiments with paid music and video bundles have clearly seen some early success -- and accordingly, it's opening up the floodgates. The peer-to-peer service now lets any artist apply to distribute content through paywall-based downloads, whether they're releasing music, apps or movies. As before, the allure is the sheer flexibility that artists get in deciding not just what you pay for, but when you pay for it. A musician might let the first 500 downloaders listen to an album for free, for instance, but can ask latecomers to pay for some or all of the songs. They also get 90 percent of the revenue instead of the 70 percent they get from most online music services, so there's a chance they'll take home more money if they produce a hit.

The company's Straith Schreder notes that these new bundles won't all be released right away; instead, they're being sent in "batches" to ensure a smooth rollout. Still, this wider launch could make a big impact on media distribution. Performers like Taylor Swift and Thom Yorke regularly criticize services like Spotify and iTunes for not just giving artists less money, but frequently dictating an all-or-nothing approach to selling content. Now that BitTorrent's paid platform is available to everyone, you could see more artists shy away from conventional publishing when it's either unprofitable or too restrictive.

[Image credit: Duncan Geere, Flickr]

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