The year 2014 witnessed a plethora of ways in which artists chose to release their music, whether it was from Azealia Banks dropping her record randomly overnight to U2’s sneaky infiltration of millions of iPhones, but one of the most interesting and admittedly eye-brow raising methods was legal paid downloads via notorious pirate file sharing program, BitTorrent, that has surprisingly proved to be a very wise monetary action.
The ever-innovative artist Thom Yorke lead the charge in this ground-breaking initiative as he shocked music fans in September of last year, announcing that his sophomore solo record Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes would be available to download from BitTorrent, on the proviso that the album was paid for. Despite many questioning how effective this method would be in reaching fans, recent findings detailed in a blog post from BitTorrent (via A Journal Of Music Things) has revealed that Yorke’s “Torrent Bundle” could earn the master musician over $20 million.
This sounds a little absurd, right? Well, we’ll break down the facts to detail how such a figure could be reached.
As BitTorrent state, 90% of the revenue earned from the paid downloaded bundles go directly into the artist’s pocket. Translating this to the Yorke example, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes was downloaded over 4.4 million times worldwide at a price of $6.00 per album bundle. A quick math calculation sees the total revenue sitting at approximately $26.4 million, which then see’s Yorke’s potential profit measure at $23.76 million. Insane, right?
What’s even crazier is placing Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes against the highest selling record of 2014, Taylor Swift’s 1989, which as New York Daily News reports sold a staggering 3.66 million in the US alone. Despite Yorke opting to use quite an alternative platform to sell his new music, the ‘You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry’ singer was not drastically far from the #1 position for the year.
With such a rousing success for Yorke’s record, there is a high amount of interest hovering above these paid torrent bundles, with the likes of Ryan Hemsworth, De La Soul and G-Eazy all making use of the new online marketplace, generating one big question, could BitTorrent paid Bundles in fact be the new frontier of lucrative record sales that recording artists have been begging for?