New Thom Yorke album first ‘paygate’ album on BitTorrent

26 Sep 2014

In the continuing effort to discover the best way of monetising album sales in the days of illegal downloading, BitTorrent and Thom Yorke are launching the first ‘paygated’ album online.

In the company’s new feature called Bundles, Thom Yorke’s new album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes will be available on the BitTorrent website that will give listeners the chance to sample and download the first two tracks.

If they wanted to listen to the album, they have to pay the US$6 which BitTorrent claim will see 90pc of this go directly to Yorke with the remaining 10pc split between the publisher and the company itself.

BitTorrent has been looking to implement this paygate model for some time having earlier this year said they were going to implement the Bundles system to experiment and see whether this model could potentially see revenues go back to the artist in a time when illegal digital downloads, often through torrents, have immeasurably hurt album sales.

After two tracks, people will be offered the chance to buy the album for US$6.

Earlier experiments with Bundles on BitTorrent, according to TechCrunch, offered half an album for free, while the other half existed behind the paywall.

In their press release issued on the company’s blog, BitTorrent’s Neil Godrich and Thome Yorke himself said that the potential for this model could see content creators use torrents to create their own storefronts and cut out retailers entirely: “If it works well it could be an effective way of handing some control of internet commerce back to people who are creating the work.”

They continued: “If it works, anyone can do this exactly as we have done.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic