Now that Napster and Megaupload are gone, BitTorrent is labeled as the main enabler of illegal downloading on the Internet. The Motion Picture Association of America called it "the best way to get what you want" if what you want are movies, TV shows, songs, and albums without paying for them.
BitTorrent doesn't believe that's the case but said last year that it was planning to align itself with the entertainment industry and legally distribute movies, music, and books online.” The main question after that announcement was "How will BitTorrent convince media companies to play ball?"
That's not yet clear. However, the company took a big first step in a new direction today when it announced BitTorrent Bundle: a new type of media file that will allow artists—musicians, directors, authors, etc—to send fans "bundle" or package of mixed media offerings.
Each bundle could include free music, artwork, documents, videos, as well as a way to buy more music, artwork, documents, and videos.
To kick off the alpha stage, BitTorrent partnered with Ultra Music to give fans a Bundle for artist Kaskade which will include a free MP3 download, footage from his two shows at the Staples Center in LA, and a preview of his upcoming documentary Freaks of Nature.
As stated earlier, BitTorrent Bundle isn't limited to musicians and directors. Tim Ferriss, the author of The 4 Hour Chef, is releasing his book through the service, giving downloaders one chapter of the book, new recipes, behind-the-scenes videos, and interview clips.
BitTorrent hopes to give fans and artists a closer link, one unencumbered by third-party stores:
We don’t need another digital radio station. We don’t need another walled garden or standalone content store. We need ways to place value exchanges within the content itself – allowing these exchanges to travel freely, without barriers or limitations; allowing these exchanges to multiply as content is shared. Our goal is to move the interaction to where it matters; making it a property of the file, versus the distribution framework; giving artists real data about, and real access to, their fans.
Today is the day BitTorrent officially unveiled Bundle, but the company used it last year in partnership with DJ Shadow to release Total Breakdown: Hidden Transmissions From The MPC Era, 1992-1996. Chester French also used a Bundle to release new music.
BitTorrent CEO said, when asked at the time, that the company was experimenting with ways to “monetize the entire torrent ecosystem."
Sounds like something the MPAA and RIAA would be interested in.