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BitTorrent goes straight (to email hell) with 'Bundles'

New format marries web apps with torrents

A BitTorrent Bundle

BitTorren's ongoing efforts to convince the world it's not just a tool for evil have produced “Bundles”, a “new type of torrent file where fan interaction, like email collection or donation, happens inside the torrent.”

BitTorrent says Bundles can make “every single piece of content could function as a flyer, and a standalone storefront” and make it possible to “code a checkout counter into each media file published by an artist”.

The reality, as demonstrated in the sample torrent of material by DJ and Producer “Kaskade” is far from scintillating. After dealing with attack on Vulture South's carefully-curated Chrome Bookmarks by the newly-installed BitTorrent client Vuze* we were able to download a torrent of the artist's material. Doing so saw a torrent download in the conventional manner, but also invoked a web app of some sort that produced the page below.

A BitTorrent Bundle

Fair exchange? One email address gets you more content

On that page we were offered the chance to download another torrent of Kaskade's finest, but only if we offered up a valid email address that would later be used by the artist and BitTorrent. Thankfully, confirmation of subscription was required before the Kaskade marketing mails started to cascade.

BitTorrent hasn't offered details on what other kinds of actions might unlock such secondary torrents from future Bundles, but with the one on offer looking like a vanilla web page it should be possible to embed just about anything in it, including a payment widget.

BitTorrent seems not to have that uppermost in its mind, offering the following little bit of philosophy as its hoped-for outcome:

“We need ways to place value exchanges within the content itself – allowing these exchanges to travel freely, without barriers or limitations; allowing these exchanges to multiply as content is shared. Our goal is to move the interaction to where it matters; making it a property of the file, versus the distribution framework; giving artists real data about, and real access to, their fans.”

Those fans, one imagines, may find the Unsubscribe button offers them a shortcut to files a-plenty without the hassle of extra email. Or perhaps Big Data for Small Record Labels will soon be upon us to find some value in the torrent of email addresses heading artists' way? ®

* No need to get alarmed there, IT department! Vulture South really is torrenting for work purposes!

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