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Considering ROI From Legal BitTorrent Promos

Speedometer-313x208By Eliot Van Buskirk of

Seth Keller of SKM Management, an artist management firm in Manhattan Beach, California, writes, “Hi Eliot: Would you be open to doing a follow up piece to this post [about the most-downloaded legal music on Bit Torrent]?

I’m curious to know if the number of legal downloads directly or indirectly correlates to any real world metric.

For example, did DG [Death Grips] see any tangible effects from the 34M free downloads? Did their merch sales, ticket sales and/or number of fans online or in the real world increase substantially? Did they sell more music (although I’m assuming that’s not as important to them as live/merch given the genre)?

I’m a proponent of ‘free’ as one facet of a campaign, but I don’t think it moves the needle that much without other components of the artist’s career moving in the right direction.

34M downloads is a staggering number, though; which makes me curious if that alone led to anything significant.

Best regards,

Seth Keller

We put his questions to Bit Torrent, the company (not to be confused with bittorrent, the file sharing protocol upon which it runs), which responded with the following artist testimonials.

None of them speaks directly to Keller’s request for specific data metrics, but they do provide some perspective on how artists who have worked with Bit Torrent feel about having put their music on there for free.

“If you’ve got 160 million people on BitTorrent, then that’s the new radio station. That’s a better radio station, in fact. As an artist it’s what you’ve been wanting to do all along, which is to get your music to people.” - Adam Duritz, Counting Crows

“I’ve experienced the benefits firsthand of letting anyone and everyone download my music, which is, primarily, a momentous growth in the attendance of my live shows.” - Pretty Lights

“(BitTorrent) took Billy’s email list from a few hundred people, to over 60,000. Google searches for Billy skyrocketed. And likes went from under 3,000 to 10,000 in two months. So, what did all this do? Well, Billy now has a career as an artist. It took less than two months.” - Michael Fiebach, Famehouse digital marketing agency (Billy Van, Pretty Lights, DJ Shadow, others)

So basically, it sounds like they’re saying Bit Torrent can deliver music to people if they want it, grow live audiences, and increase a band’s social footprint. We hope that helps, Seth, even if it’s not precisely what you were looking for.

Do you have a question for or anyone else in music? Ask away.

(Image courtesy of Flickr/Ezio Melotti)