Do you want more from your music? While the ease and speed with which we can download music nowadays means that we can hear a song on the radio in one moment and have it on our phones in the next, there are still many of us who miss the little extras that used to come with buying a single or album on CD, cassette, or vinyl.
I’m talking, of course, about the album art, notes from the artist, and other little touches that used to make buying music that bit more of a special experience. File-sharing giant BitTorrent has taken this idea and run with it, resulting in an exciting new endeavour in which a simple music download actually serves as a gateway to a plethora of exclusive content.
To pilot this concept, BitTorrent is offering a free download, or “bundle”, from the label Ultra, comprising a song by Kaskade and a trailer to an upcoming documentary featuring the performer. Users will be invited to submit their email address to “unlock” more content including a tour video, photos, and a digital booklet.
A spokesperson for BitTorrent explains the rationale behind using email as the key to this new content kingdom; “We’re starting with the email address as a way to open the gate to more content, but in the future, there could be other ways to do so, such as paying for access… A fan’s email address is far more valuable than a Facebook Like or Twitter follow because you are directly communicating with your audience and don’t have to go through a social network.”
This notion of bringing additional value to a download couldn’t have come at a better time; the recent hype surrounding the Daft Punk / Pharrell collaboration “Get Lucky” has proven that there is still a market for anticipation and “event” releases in the digital sphere. In addition to making a music download more of an experience, this new approach essentially ensures that each customer not only receives a song, but also a fully functional retail platform. Say BitTorrent; “It’s like visiting a record store within a song, or a box office within a movie.”
Next in the pipeline is a BitTorrent publishing channel, which will enable more musicians and record labels to offer their fans special content: “We want everyone to be able to create a bundle… What we see digitally is that each business model is different. Some companies want email addresses and others are looking for a monetary tool. Either way, artists and labels will be able to get creative.”