Thom Yorke’s New Album: Available Now on BitTorrent!

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posted this morning on…

29 Responses

        • Anonymous

          Back in the day when Digital Music News was a pro-music site, one of its writers told you the 7 Reasons Why Artists Should Skip a Bittorrent ‘Media Partnership’:

          “Here are seven reasons that should make them think twice:
          1. Artists that decide to use BitTorrent need to make sure they own 100% of the material.

          If they use outside songwriters, producers – or the funding of a record label – they need the permission of those people to do it.

          “How Artists Who Support “Piracy” Can Avoid Looking Like Hypocrites”
          2. It’s unlikely that uTorrent users will happily reveal their email addresses.

          BitTorrent Inc has launched “BitTorrent Bundles”. This involves users being able to download a torrent with a few freebies – but what makes it “advantageous” for artists, according to BitTorrent, is that if they hand over their email addresses they get access to more stuff.

          Getting people to give up their email addresses is never easy, but we suspect people who use BitTorrent are even less likely to want to do so, as anonymity is one of the perks they value. But even if they, by any luck, agreed to give it up, email bombing has proved to be a pretty inefficient way of promoting a band that people aren’t already fans of.
          3. BitTorrent Bundles’ “paywall” is not much of a wall at all.

          According to TorrentFreak, the premium torrents appear to be just regular torrent files. There’s no DRM or other technical restrictions involved that could prevent users from “sharing” the premium content as they wish, across the internet. Even the company itself says it simply “expects people to do the right thing”.

          However, it’s worth pondering why people who want to “do the right thing” would be using a “service” where over 99% of the content is thought to be infringing.
          4. BitTorrent is an inefficient tool for disseminating “content”.

          BitTorrent’s clients, such as uTorrent is not as efficient as most legal ways of downloading, hence why even experienced BitTorrent users don’t bother with uTorrent unless they want to use it for infringement. Its clunkiness is perhaps also why major licensed music download sites, such as iTunes and Amazon don’t rely on it.
          5. BitTorrent is inefficient as a discovery tool.

          P2P file-sharing systems are inefficient means of disseminating any form of content that has not already been made extremely popular by other means. A Limewire developer put it this way, when speaking about BitTorrent and LimeWire: “Here’s modern P2P’s dirty little secret: It’s actually horrible at rare stuff.”

          That’s why the popular content on BitTorrent is mainly top 40 stuff.
          6. How useful has partnering with BitTorrent really been for acts such as Counting Crows?

          All musicians have heard the slogan “it’s promotional” more times than they can count, from people wanting to take advantage of them – and BitTorrent is no exception. But apart from the attention the acts using it get from numerous tech sites announcing it as an “innovative” way to promote artists, there’s little proof that it has lead to success they would otherwise not have seen. There are even rumours that users are “tricked” into clicking the software that includes music by acts such as Pretty Lights and Counting Crows in order for it to count as a “download” for those artists.
          7. Do you really want to try to exploit the mass piracy of other artists’ works for your own perceived gain?

          BitTorrent is used almost exclusively for piracy – matter of fact, only 0.3% of files on it could be confirmed to be legal. Artists who choose to adopt BitTorrent as their “media partner” would, in effect, be trying to exploit for their own gain the mass piracy of the works of other creators. It’s a moral dilemma some artists may find difficult.

          It can be argued that having your music on services such as Pandora and Spotify is much more useful as a discovery tool. While torrents rely on users to search for the music they want, Pandora’s famous algorithm will suggest acts that are similar to those you already like – and Spotify is constantly evolving its discovery tools, including playlists by “trusted filters”.
          And all the music those services feature is licensed – an attractive perk for fans that want to, er, “do the right thing”.”


          • Anonymous

            …this part is worth repeating:

            “All musicians have heard the slogan “it’s promotional” more times than they can count, from people wanting to take advantage of them”

            So true.

          • Paul Resnikoff

            OK, so… reporting on a partnership between Yorke and BitTorrent Bundles somehow contradicts this opinion?

  1. Sam

    It’s a Thom Yorke album, not a Radiohead album. I know you’re trying to drive traffic, but come on…

        • so

          Would probably alter the link / URL. Makes sense not to do it at this point.

          • jw

            Wow. Paul admits to false information in the title. Doesn’t update it. Continues to mislead readers.

            Journalistic integrity here is in the shitter.

          • Paul Resnikoff

            Ugh… except for the part where I changed it. Otherwise very solid argument.

          • jw

            Fair enough.

            But you posted that comment around noon pac yesterday, & the title didn’t update for me until sometime today, more than 18 hours later. Maybe that’s a server caching issue or something, but it comes across as sloppy journalism.

          • Paul Resnikoff

            I’m not going to alter the url, because yes that gets things messy. But I will alter the title.

  2. Anonymous

    $6 for a crappy user-hostile experience like this?


    Let me know when I can buy a delicious iTunes version…

    • GGG

      $6 is too much for you? (assuming you even like Thom Yorke?) You should probably get a better job.

      • Bass

        Having heard Thom’s solo stuff, $6 is a bit high. 🙂 85 different, clashing beats in search of a single hummable melody.

  3. There is something...

    For the end user, I don’t see what advantage he gets here rather than, let’s say, using Bandcamp…

    • Cmonbro

      PR… Bit Torrent is actively trying to change its image and is invested in pushing these types of bundles. Unlike bandcamp which is simply a page. Bit Torrent will promote the release.. Matt Mason is tryna make it work over there

      • There is something...

        Bit Torrent will promote your album if you’re Thom York, but I don’t think they will do anything for you if you’re a new artist. Unless you pay good money of course… But again, as a customer, why should I bother with yet another distribution service ? I have an iTune, Amazon and Bandcamp account. I can buy music with one clic anytime I want. So why should I bother ? Because if the goal is to “bypass the gatekeepers”, you can just release your music with Tunecore, CDbaby or any other service that will put your music almost on any platform without asking questions…

  4. JJ

    Artists have been using these bundles for a long time now. There is nothing unconventional here. It’s just a new pay gate instead of the email gate that has been utilized since BitTorrent Bundles’ inception.

    BitTorrent has done a great job promoting bundles and switching from the torrents, but let’s not make this out to be anything groundbreaking on Yorke’s part.

  5. so

    Yorke hates Spotify / streaming but works with BitTorrent? The former, a legit retailer from the beginning, is making piracy seem like more hassle than it’s worth, and the latter being synonymous with piracy? He gets to keep his downloads but looks less like a luddite – maybe that’s the motivation here.

  6. Thom Yorke

    It’s my solo album, not a Radiohead record, dummy. Fix your misleading headline.

  7. Versus

    What’s all this talk about bypassing the “gatekeepers” and enabling artists to sell their work themselves?
    That has been possible for quite some time, via distributors like CDBaby, BandCamp, TuneCore, etc. No gatekeepers there at all, and that also means no quality control.

    The problem for musicians trying to make a living selling music is not “gatekeepers”. The problems are:
    1. Being heard in a “torrent” of overproduction of music.
    2. Piracy
    3. Underpayment