Music Marketing

DJ Shadow Releases First Ever Monetized BitTorrent Bundle

Total-breakdown-dj-shadowDJ Shadow and Fame House are pursuing a wide range of marketing partnerships for the upcoming archival project "Total Breakdown: Hidden Transmissions From The MPC Era, 1992-1996" featuring previously unreleased material.

While each will reach different yet overlapping audiences, a partnership with BitTorrent to release their first monetized media bundle is likely to have the greatest impact on awareness. This bundle, planned for release today at 1 pm EST, includes the option of a free software download for which BitTorrent will share revenue with DJ Shadow.

Hidden Transmissions is now available for preorder from DJ Shadow's website with a full range of options from an MP3 download to a Vinyl/Download/Tshirt bundle. The cover of the album features artwork created by LRG.

Total Breakdown: Hidden Transmissions From The MPC Era, 1992-1996 contains:

"entirely unreleased material spanning from 1992 to 1996…Included among the highlights are instrumental tracks from an aborted 1994 EP planned with The Gift Of Gab, which includes the original demo of what would eventually become 'Six Days.'"

Promotional efforts for Hidden Transmissions include the first monetized BitTorrent media bundle. Though they have been experimenting for over a year and a half with promotional bundles, according to a press release issued today the DJ Shadow Bundle will include:

"an opportunity to download a relevant free piece of software from one of BitTorrent's advertising partners, such as a media player. Every time a user downloads this free software, BitTorrent is paid by the advertising partner, and will pass on a portion of that revenue directly to DJ Shadow. The hope is that this experiment will pave the way for a new sustainable digital revenue stream for content producers, allowing them to monetize the BitTorrent ecosystem in ways that make sense for them and their fans."

I spoke with BitTorrent's Executive Director of Marketing Matt Mason and Michael Fiebach, founder and CEO of Fame House, about the project. Both men have exceptionally diverse backgrounds in media and music. In particular, Fiebach ran DJ Shadow's online operations from 2006 to 2010 as well as managing and marketing a number of special projects and participating in 4 major concert tours.

The DJ Shadow Bundle will contain:

  • 3 Tracks from Hidden Transmissions
  • Video of archival footage of DJ Shadow from the early 90s
  • PDF of photos & quotes from that time period
  • Free, optional software such as a RealPlayer media player

Mason pointed out that this project is the first in a new phase of ongoing experimentation at BitTorrent to market and monetize free releases. He clarified that BitTorrent is working with Fame House on selecting software available for download and that BitTorrent can switch things up on the fly. Software partners are companies with which BitTorrent has worked and in which BitTorrent users are interested.

Fiebach clarified that though DJ Shadow definitely has concerns about free music and filesharing, he and Fame House also recognize that music fans are looking for music on BitTorrent and that this new initiative is an opportunity to monetize free torrents. Of course, Fame House has worked with BitTorrent on previous promotional bundles including one for Pretty Lights discussed in a case study written by Fiebach and shared on Hypebot.

I asked Matt Mason if this was basically a marketing maneuver for BitTorrent given the negative publicity surrounding filesharing and he pointed out that it should also be considered a demonstration of another use case for BitTorrent. Given that BitTorrent's technology allows for virtually infinite, free distribution of large amounts of data it is also used by such major Internet companies as Facebook and Twitter for updates.

In addition, based on past experience, such a media bundle could easily reach 5 to 6 million BitTorrent users. With the addition of monetization, that makes for real financial returns beyond the marketing reach.

Michael Fiebach discussed the marketing effort and expectations. Though monetization and marketing are combined in the BitTorrent release, he does expect additional sales as well given that preorder options are already available. However, this effort is seen by all as an experiment and Fame House is coordinating a much broader range of partnerships to market Hidden Transmissions.

Release Partners and Marketing Outlets include:

  • SoundCloud – 30 second preview tracks
  • LRG – Exclusive free download
  • Grooveshark – Single streaming track in rotation on homepage
  • Beatport – Exclusive track when Hidden Transmissions releases
  • Rdio – Exclusive album stream

In addition, three tracks will only be available through DJ Shadow's website.

Total Breakdown: Hidden Transmissions From The MPC Era, 1992-1996 is an impressive project on many levels beyond being an important archival release from a major dj. The range of promotional partners speaks both to DJ Shadow's willingness to experiment with free downloads and to Fame House' ability to coordinate efforts with diverse partners. And, of course, the BitTorrent Bundle represents a new phase in the legitimation of filesharing technologies and the monetization of free content.

Perhaps this is also a good opportunity to check out the recently released BitTorrent Torque which brings BitTorrent to the Web browser.

Note: Hypebot Senior Analyst Hisham Dahud is also a member of the Fame House team.

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) maintains a business writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

Share on:


  1. I wonder if Shadow cleared all of the samples for this release? That cost alone would prohibit any profit.

  2. BitTorrent isn’t ubiquitous and it’s not a seamless option for those who don’t have a client. Why not just use another download service and upload a copy to BitTorrent for those folks? This just seems like convoluted campaign. Torrents aren’t the future…streaming is.

  3. Interested in your opinion. Don’t you think that the exorbitant licensing fees/royalties content owners and publishers charge prohibit profit in streaming. Artists are making less than 100th of a cent per stream in some cases meaning only the volume players win.

Comments are closed.