BitTorrent drew attention for its collaboration with Thom Yorke, where it made the Radiohead frontman the first artist to sell a pay-gated torrent of his new solo album. The company announced today that the direct-to-fan Bundle approach can now be used by any artists. The pay-gated platform’s opening was linked with an anniversary album release from DJ and producer Diplo.
Straith Schreder, BitTorrent’s director of content strategy, said the platform was a good choice for artists because it offered transparency about its deals and offered a better connection with fans. More than 10,000 publishers are currently on the network, and they can request an online invite to use the Bundle with paygating.
The BitTorrent method is a different approach to the freemium tier of a streaming service. Fans do have the option of a free download with the Bundles, but they don’t offer the complete album. In the anniversary release of Diplo’s F10rida album, the free bundle has two audio tracks and seven visual art files. For just $5, a listener gets the entire album, including an unreleased remix. Offering two options for access means that it’s tough to glean exactly how much money artists are making; Yorke’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes had 4.4 million downloads, but BitTorrent hasn’t revealed how many of those were paid bundles.