BitTorrent Inc., a San Francisco company founded by the creator of the BitTorrent file transfer protocol, on Wednesday released a test version of its Bundles product, a self-service platform that would allow content creators to release content in exchange for email addresses and, eventually, monetary contributions.
The company has worked with dozens of musicians, writers and filmakers over the past two years to build out the Bundles concept, most recently with artists such as Jet Life, Linkin Park and Kaskade. The idea is to let content creators put up free content to encourage downloads as well as layers of additional content behind a "gate" that downloaders can unlock by completing an action, such as submitting their email addresses, sharing the content, taking a survey or entering a contest.
The 44 Bundle released
so far have been "handcrafted," said Matt Mason, BitTorrent's Vice President of Marketing, making Bundles a fairly labor-intensive endeavor.
The self-serve platform, now available to publishers via a "closed alpha," is a step at automating the process of putting together Bundles to make available to the estimated 170 million people who use BitTorrent each month. The initial version will only allow creators to collect email addresses, but later versions will incorporate other features, including the ability to charge for access to a premium content tier.
So far, the company has not charged a fee for helping artists produce Bundles and doesn't plan to do so with the self-serve option while it's still testing the service, Mason said. What won't change, however, is the ability for creators to keep all the customer data that they collect from their Bundles -- largely because the data goes directly to the artist, rather than through BitTorrent.
Earlier Bundles have generated high rates of opt-in emails, sharing and downloads, as Billboard reported earlier. What remains to be seen, however, is how willing BitTorrent users will be to paying for content.