In September, #BitTorrent will precede Mr. Weber’s foray by inserting a #paywall — something it has been avoiding — in one of its so-called #bundles. These are downloads that for the last year have been used by musicians, graphic novel publishers and others to offer their work or promotional material in return for nothing more costly than a user’s email address. The new paywall will permit access to a music bundle from what the company says will be a major artist, still to be named.
“We saw the opportunity to build what we think will become the leading place for independent content creation,” Matt Mason, the chief content officer for BitTorrent, said of the new fee-based initiative.
Mr. Mason, who has made the point before, once again stressed that his site circulates sharing technology but does not condone piracy. “People wrongly assume we’re about illegal file-sharing,” he said.
(...) BitTorrent in the last year has made available about 10,000 bundles, each of which is controlled not by the company but by an independent artist or other purveyor. So far, free bundles have been downloaded 100 million times, even though many of them require providing an email address — no small act of trust by some wary BitTorrent users.
(...) Mr. Mason said BitTorrent, which is owned by its founder, Bram Cohen, and others, including the venture capital firms Accel Partners and DCM, has been profitable since 2008, but he declined to discuss its finances otherwise. The company, which is based in San Francisco, has about 115 employees, he said.
BitTorrent currently makes money by, for instance, charging users for enhanced software services.