In the next phase of the growing partnership between Vice Media and BitTorrent, Vice will create song bundles, short films and media with musicians for users of the file-sharing service.
The two companies, who joined forces when Vice’s Ben Dietz and BitTorrent’s Matt Mason sat down at South by Southwest, previously worked together on a Madonna bundle. That bundle included a short film the pop star co-directed with Steven Klein that was available last month.
Neither company would disclose which artists will take part in these initial bundles. BitTorrent has previously offered music and music videos from Public Enemy and Kaskade, in addition to a preview of a Tim Ferriss book and the Madonna short film.
Dietz, Vice’s VP of sales, said his company was about to close deals with the artists and would also create its own videos telling the “story behind the story.” That could include an interview with the artist, a short film or a first-person travelogue. It will vary from bundle to bundle.
“Vice is helping to produce extra content to explain the context of each bundle – why the artist wanted to make what they did the way they did and why it’s appropriate it’s distributed on BitTorrent,” Mason, Bit Torrent’s vice president of marketing, told TheWrap.
The artists still gets to choose what goes in the bundle, and in order to download the bundle, the user must tweet or pass through a gate of some sort. The new content will be available to BitTorrent users for free, but Mason said there would be pay gates in the future.
He also said it was hard to assess which bundles had been the most successful, but rattled off a series of artists who benefited from it. For instance, Madonna‘s short film earned three times as many downloads as views on YouTube thanks to file-sharing across the globe, benefitting from BitTorrent’s unfettered reach.
And Ferriss’ latest book landed on several best-seller charts after a sample was released on BitTorrent.
BitTorrent’s creative approach to sharing videos makes it a natural partner for Vice, which has blossomed from an alternative weekly magazine into a multi-faceted media organization with a digital-first mentality.
“BitTorrent is helping artists tell their story in a different way and they are helping an agenda we believe strongly in,” Dietz told TheWrap.
Dietz said the file-sharing service possesses a suite of tools that could help Vice produce and distribute its videos, the biggest driver of Vice’s revenue, such as technology to transfer large files from remote locations.
“BitTorrent has some products they will release that will make it easier for individuals to document and broadcast their surroundings,” Dietz said. “As we develop a news network, it’s exciting to use that. It will allow for citizen journalism that doesn’t presently exist.”
BitTorrent and Vice remain cagey about the varied ways they will work together, but keep your eye out for more collaborations.