BitTorrent Lets Artists “Share” Behind a Paywall

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For more than a year artists have successfully teamed up with BitTorrent Inc. to promote their works to around 170 million users of the uTorrent and BitTorrent clients. Evolving this program the San-Francisco company now offers artists the option to put content behind a paywall, or require another action. There's no DRM involved but the "walled" torrents can't be shared freely on other sites anymore. "We expect people to do the right thing," BitTorrent Inc. informs TorrentFreak.

bittorrent-bundleIn addition to giving away free stuff, BitTorrent Inc. now also promotes premium content. For the launch the company has teamed up with the record label Ultra, home of David Guetta, Tiesto, deadmau5, and Calvin Harris.

In their first premium bundle BitTorrent Inc. is promoting the American DJ Kaskade. BitTorrent users can download a torrent with a few freebies, and if they hand over their email addresses they get access to more. Artists also have the option to replace the email requirement with a paywall.

“Premium content does not exist within the file until a fan interacts with it – by entering a valid email, or payment information. The media as published into the BitTorrent ecosystem will be secure,” a BitTorrent Inc. spokesperson told TorrentFreak.

By “secure” BitTorrent Inc. means that there is no malware or other nefarious content inside. However, there are no technical restrictions that prevent users from sharing the “premium” content with friends or family, without paying.

The company couldn’t tell us under what license the content in the premium torrents is being released, but the company stressed that people are not supposed to share these torrents in the wild.

“We expect people to do the right thing. When given the option, we have seen that people want to reward the artists for offering good, accessible content.”

TorrentFreak looked at the premium torrents and they appear to be just regular torrent files, using popular public trackers. There are no built-in restrictions to prevent sharing which means that like all other bundles, they may end up on random BitTorrent sites.


BitTorrent nevertheless hopes that, to reward the artists, its users are wise enough not to share these premium torrents with unauthorized downloaders.

“What we have found during our past experiments is that our users are inclined to support the content creators that publish into the BitTorrent ecosystem. They appreciate that the artist ‘gets it’ and is willing to engage fans on their native turf,” BitTorrent told us.

“We anticipate that given the choice between content officially published into the ecosystem and infringing content, a majority will support the artist.”

While people should indeed appreciate the fact that artists want to try out BitTorrent, putting content in a restrictive area is of course not really ‘native turf’ for BitTorrent users – apart from those using private trackers of course. To most users the BitTorrent “ecosystem” consists of finding and discovering content through torrent search indexes and search engines.

BitTorrent Inc. is to be applauded for helping artists to leverage this great technology. However, whether this will be successful is another question. After all, many people turned to BitTorrent in the first place due to their dislike of restrictions.

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