µTorrent begins free content monetization thing, helping artists, but (probably) bothering its users

µTorrent begins free content monetization thing, helping artists, but (probably) bothering its users

Trying to acquire free stuff over the internet? Turned off by the inherently commercialized nature of the entertainment industry? Well, if you’re currently using µTorrent, and in the immortal words of… I believe it was Heathcliff Huxtable, “Too bad. So sad. Your dad.” — minus the “dad” part.

BitTorrent Inc., the owners of the popular BitTorrent client µTorrent have just announced a series of “experiments” aimed at, according to TorrentFreak, allowing artists to generate revenue through free distribution. Contrary to expectation, these “experiments” begin not with crazed doctors performing homicidal research, but with a DJ Shadow partnership, that involves bundling with µTorrent exclusive content and tracks from his upcoming archival album Total Breakdown: Hidden Transmissions from the MPC Era, 1992-1996, as well as sponsored software and other “goodies.” BitTorrent Inc. plans to continue the bundling experiment as a means of producing a “lucrative” revenue stream for artists, while simultaneously giving users access to more free content.

Wondering how bundling free content with µTorrent generates revenue? The (optional) installation of bundled software (such as a media player or anti-virus program) produces the revenue. That revenue will then be partially split up between the artist and BitTorrent Inc. With regard to DJ Shadow’s bundle specifically, “New users will get the option to download it when they install µTorrent, and existing users will see banner and text ads promoting DJ Shadow’s bundle.” Doesn’t that just sound… well, rather annoying?

Still, the idea is an interesting one, and the fact that the bundles are free is bound to appeal to some µTorrent users. Others, like myself, have a natural impulse to click “no” to these sorts of offers. A “lucrative” revenue stream? I’m betting more on a trickle — the type that splatters in the middle of the bowl, when it’s the middle of the night, and you’re trying not to wake anybody up. Er, yeah.

• BitTorrent Inc.: http://www.bittorrent.com
• µTorrent: http://www.utorrent.com

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