updated 07:05 pm EDT, Tue July 15, 2014
'Paygate' endeavor starts with bundle for original series 'Children of the Machine'
BitTorrent is trying to evolve into a bigger business, as it attempts to expand its bundled offerings by putting "paygates" into place. The company, best known for its file transfer protocol, originally launched its BitTorrent Bundle as an alpha experiment in May 2013, in hopes of providing a better platform distribution and connecting with fans.
"Our goal is to make the Internet a better place for creativity: to make music, film, and art more valuable each time it's shared," said BitTorrent. "This summer, we'll be building 'paygates' into Bundle: allowing fans to buy projects direct from artists; giving publishers choice and control when it comes to funding their work."
The BitTorrent Bundle takes a number of items from different types of artists, mostly musicians, to offers a new type of distribution and discovery of files. Each bundle is built in a way that some parts of it are free to download. In order to download the rest of the bundle, users need to supply an email address for updates. Further items could be unlocked by donating to the artist, sharing the bundle with others, or connecting with the artist through social media channels.
The new payment approach for BitTorrent Bundles is being outlined in a way that it is part fundraising and part advertising campaign. BitTorrent intends to try the "paygate" out in September with an unannounced "major artist" first, according to the New York Times.
An additional project to use the pay bundle will be an original science fiction TV series called Children of the Machine from Rapid Eye Studios. The initial bundle for the show includes the pilot, but more episodes will unlock if funding goals are met. Rapid Eye Studios producer Marco Weber is hoping that 250,000 users will chip in $10 in advance after watching the pilot episode. Once the funding goal is met, the remaining eight episodes of the first season can be produced.
Once the new system is in place, BitTorrent is going to allow the artists to determine the pricing structure rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. BitTorrent Director of Communications Christian Averill told The Next Web that the company won't force a business model. Creators will be free to set the fees or other criteria for the content.
A number of high profile artists like Moby, Madonna, Public Enemy and Kaskade have taken part in the program. Since the launch of the bundles in 2013, BitTorrent says more than 100 million bundles have been downloaded. The company says more than 10,000 publishers are involved, with over two million titles available.