Music Monetization: BitTorrent Bundle Pay Gates, YouTube Wants You To Play For Tips

Bittorrent-bundle-iconWe seem to be moving into a phase where even big companies that work with musicians are recognizing that monetization is important and that musicians want to get paid. BitTorrent developed its bundles to help musicians market but they've also been experimenting with monetization all along. They now think that pay gates will work and that seems likelyl. YouTube's also talking creator monetization even as they battle to limit indie music monetization. But with all the talk of fan funding, misunderstood as crowdfunding, they're basically just giving creators a personalized tip jar from which they'll take a cut.

BitTorrent To Try Monetizing Bundles With Pay Gates

Chris Leo Palermino interviewed BitTorrent's Matt Mason for Billboard including some discussion of the addition of pay gates as a BitTorrent Bundle feature.

BitTorrent began exploring monetization options for bundles with DJ Shadow's release in 2012. The bundle included an option to download free software. BitTorrent and DJ Shadow got paid an advertising fee based on the number of downloads.

There was some mention in 2013 of in-torrent transactions. But I never heard much about that and the current publishers page only mentions content gates with no talk of monetization in any form.

So what Matt Mason revealed in the interview is a new monetization experiment based on the apparent success of BitTorrent Bundle content gating (first you get some free stuff, then you have to give them an email for more free stuff):

"An artist, content creator or publisher will be able to put some content in front of that gate and some behind that gate, and they will be able to set the price that the consumer has to pay in order to open that gate."

"The big idea here is that everybody else on the internet that built a store has put content inside that store. What we're trying to do with a bundle is put the store inside the content. So, everywhere that bundle travels — whether it's embedded in a blog or on Facebook — wherever it travels on the internet, whenever someone opens that file, they'll get some valuable stuff for free and then they'll have an opportunity to pay for some more stuff."

This seems like a good fit based on the successful elements of BitTorrent Bundles. It basically takes a mechanism that's working, the content gate, and adds a monetization element that fits consumer behavior.

YouTube Wants You To Play For Tips

I don't want to downplay the positive potential of tip jars on YouTube videos. In fact, I was quite curious when YouTube started talking about a "feature that allows fans to fund their favorite creators" back in May.

But there were no details and mention of fans and funding in the same sentence led to claims that YouTube was offering crowdfunding which they've never said.

However their latest comments on the matter references "fan funding" and then mentions crowdfunding sites but makes it clear that it's a donation feature.

Thank goodness TubeFilter shared what CEO Susan Wojcicki actually said at VidCon last week which reveals that "Fan Funding" means:

"Through Fan Funding, viewers will be able to donate up to $500 to each of their favorite creators. For each transaction, YouTube will take a 5% cut, plus 21 cents."

"Each creator will also have the option to customize his own Fan Funding page. This can include 'thank you' videos that play for each donor."

So it's a personalized tip jar out of which YouTube takes a cut. Call it fan funding if you wish, though that seems kind of weak, but please stop calling it crowdfunding.

Check the "Support" button on Young Turks for an example. I can only find it on their account page, which is probably the last place you'll go if you're a fan. It requires the donor to log in and then they see a popup or overlay which has got a version of the Young Turks logo.

Currently the features seems too obscure with too much friction to be of true value though I'm betting they will improve that at least a bit.

By the way, if you watch the video of their first preview that mentions fans and funding, you'll get the real reason they're doing this beyond the obvious keep the creators hooked part.

As one of the GoogleBots says, the big problem with fan funding is that it happens off YouTube.

That's the real problem they're trying to solve with "Fan Funding." And that's why they may one day introduce true crowdfunding, so that Google can dominate even more of your online life.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) also blogs at DanceLand. Send news about music tech startups and services, DIY music biz and music marketing to: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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