To celebrate 10 years since the release of his debut album, Florida, Diplo is re-releasing the LP today by way of a BitTorrent bundle, or a digital box set. The 11-track package costs $5 and is primed for superfans, offering unreleased remixes, song stems, and original e-mails that were sent with his demo in 2004.
In Torrent-speak, a “pay-gated bundle” is a large package of data that can only be accessed after a customer pays. Diplo is the second musical artist to try out the model after Thom Yorke, whose Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes set has been downloaded 4.4 million times since its release on Sept. 26.
As of today, the company is inviting any artist to apply to use paygates for their bundles. Previously, the go-to option was to require users to give an e-mail address.
Bundles have helped BitTorrent distance itself from its reputation as a piracy site. By striking distribution deals with major artists including Madonna, Moby and Skrillex, the model is billed as a “direct-to-fan publishing platform” that gives artists 90 percent of revenue as well as key data, including fan e-mail addresses. Paygates are similar to paywalls in publishing; users pay for the content and the publisher covers the transaction fees, after which BitTorrent takes 10 percent. Today, the company estimates that it has more than 2 million licensed and legal titles and more than 170 million users worldwide.
It’s a big week for Diplo, who hosted his first Mad Decent Boat Party cruise over the weekend in the Bahamas, and who covers next months Fast Company. His bundle includes stems of “Into the Sun,” an unreleased remix of “Big Lost” by Eprom, and original e-mails that he sent to Big Dada – the British independent label that put out the original album – to accompany his demo back in 2004. Now, a decade later, the DJ has become one of dance music’s most influential tastemakers along with his label, Mad Decent. In April, he released a Mad Decent Block Party bundle through the platform.