BitTorrent Inc: the future of entertainment is RealPlayer

BitTorrent Inc., the USA company founded by the original creators of the BitTorrent protocol, is testing new ways to monetize on the content freely available on the file sharing network. The company wants to “rewrite the Future of the Entertainment Industry”, a feat that begins with the bundling of a well-known relic of the multimedia technology past.

BitTorrent’s official blog explains that the company has already had “a lot of success in the last few years putting great content in front of our audiences”, promoting “featured” contents to download on the BitTorrent network and generating real revenues for artists by spurring “record deals, sold-out movie theaters, world tours and all kinds of ancillary revenue”.

But that’s not enough anymore, BitTorrent says, because the company wants to “make digital distribution even more viable for creators and fans” by experimenting with new ways to “drive profitability for creators and publishers”. Corporate words aside, BT Inc. wants to maximize monetization of both the spreading of its BitTorrent clients and the sharing of contents on the network.

The beginning of this new monetization effort starts with a download featuring the work of “hip-hop legend” DJ Shadow, a bundle including audio tracks, archival footage, artist-curated photos and the “free, optional” RealPlayer multimedia software for PC.

Every time a users chooses to download the bundle without opting-out – an option buried under a big orange “support” button as a grayed link (“Nope, just gimme the files”) – RealPlayer pays BitTorrent  Inc. for the new customer and BitTorrent shares the sum with the featured artist.

So the testament of BitTorrent Inc. to the “Future of Entertainment”, the simple idea that should have “huge” ramifications for consumers and creators starts with the bundling of a well-known piece of badware, an ancient multimedia software that lost most of its users to competing media suites (Windows Media Player, iTunes etc.) and when the “RealMedia” files (“.ra”, “.rm”, “.ram”) were ousted by Adobe Flash in on-line content streaming.

“New business models built on top of the BitTorrent ecosystem are the future of content”, BitTorrent Inc. says, because “this is where fans are”. Even if the “new business models” comes bundled with a piece of software Internet users (and music fans) thought to be gone for good.


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