BitTorrent Inc, the company behind the successful uTorrent and BitTorrent file-sharing clients, has been making huge efforts in recent times to shed the false image that the company is synonymous with online piracy.
One of the key ways it’s changing this perception is by partnering with well-known artists such as De La Soul, Moby and Madonna, and showing that BitTorrent is an ideal tool to connect artists with fans.
To provide some examples of what it can do, BitTorrent Inc. has made a distribution and advertising deck with success stories. Thus far more than 10,000 artists have used BitTorrent’s bundles, generating over 100 million downloads which convert into real sales.
Aside from listing its successes the company also reports some intriguing statistics on the consumer behavior of its community.
On slide 12 BitTorrent Inc. notes that its community is 33% more likely to buy albums online, makes 34% more DVD purchases, watches 34% more movies in theater and is twice as likely to have a paid music subscription.
Because BitTorrent Inc provides no source for the data provided in this last slide we contacted the company last week to find out more. Unfortunately, we haven’t received a response thus far.
However, while writing this article we found that the numbers reported in the pitch deck trace back to one of our own articles. The data reported by BitTorrent Inc. comes from music industry group IFPI and details the buying habits of music pirates. BitTorrent Inc subsequently used these piracy statistics to sell its “community” to potential partners.
This is interesting for a variety of reasons. First, IFPI’s research doesn’t mention BitTorrent users, but file-sharing music pirates in general. Furthermore, since when does BitTorrent see “music pirates” as its community? Perhaps that’s the reason why the source for the data isn’t provided in the pitch deck (IFPI was mentioned as source in an earlier pitch deck).
That said, BitTorrent Inc is right to point out that file-sharers tend to be more engaged fans than the average person. Even the RIAA was willing to admit that.
It’s good to see that more and more artists, including many big names, are beginning to recognize this potential too. Even U2, whose former manager is one of the most vocal anti-piracy crusaders, has now decided to give away its latest album for free hoping that it will increase sales of older work. Without piracy, that would have never happened.