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New File Format Lets Artists Distribute Paywall-Embedded Content Freely

File-sharing company BitTorrent has developed a new file format that lets content creators embed a paywall inside their work and distribute it via the BitTorrent. The new Bundle format, now in closed alpha status, places payment technology within content rather than requiring them to place the content within an online store; thus, Bundle might alleviate artists’ concerns about releasing part of their work for free without the possibility of eventual compensation. With the new file format, a user could open a file and either listen or view a portion of it for free. They are then given a prompt to pay a fee, enter their e-mail address, or share the work using social media to access the remaining content. This lets users discover new work by artists they know or to be introduced to new artists then pay if they want to access all of the content. The artist could also gain marketing data from interested individuals by having them provide their e-mail address or have them share content through their social media networks at the paywall prompt. Among the artists releasing work in the Bundle format are musicians Madonna, the Pixies, Linkin Park, Mickey Hart, and Public Enemy, and author Tim Ferriss. At present, the only “payment” users have to make for additional Bundle-based content is signing up for a newsletter. However, other types of payment will be possible once the application leaves alpha. (SlashDot)(VentureBeat)

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