Today, we launched Bitmunk Personal Edition 3.2 – the first piece of software in the world to enable collaborative content distribution. Bitmunk is a plug-in for the Firefox web browser. This release adds the ability to sell DRM-free music from your computer, on behalf of artists, via an open, standards-based, peer-to-peer network.
We will be working toward standardizing this technology for web browsers over the next several years. This work will establish a world-wide, open mechanism for the distribution of digital content via web browsers that not only benefit artists, but fans as well. In short – when a file is traded using Bitmunk 3.2, the artist is paid and the fan is paid. You can legally resell the music you buy via the network and get paid for the bandwidth you contribute to the sale.
This is a bold new approach to music distribution. We certainly think it is inevitable that digital content will eventually be distributed in this way. Here’s how it works:
- You find a song you want via the Bitmunk website.
- You purchase the song using the latest Bitmunk Personal Edition software. When you buy a song on Bitmunk, the MP3 file pieces are downloaded from a number of P2P sources (just like BitTorrent). Unlike BitTorrent, getting commercial music through Bitmunk is perfectly legal.
- The song that you bought, a DRM-free MP3, is added to your personal media library.
- You are added as a download source for the song at a markup that you decide. Let’s say that markup is 10 cents.
- When the song is downloaded from the network, you will get paid for each piece of the song that is downloaded from your computer. For example, if your markup is 10 cents, and there are 10 file pieces, you will get 1 cent per piece. So, if 5 pieces are downloaded from your computer, you will get 5 cents. If 7 pieces are downloaded from your computer, you will get 7 cents. While it may not sound like a great deal of money, there may be hundreds or thousands of people buying the song from you.
The artist will always get the royalties that they set for the song, but unlike all the major digital online music stores, you can get a cut of the sale as well.
We are really excited about this release as it is the culmination of years of research and development. Many tireless days, weeks and years of work have gone into addressing the many problems plaguing digital music distribution today. We think that getting the fans involved in the process of distributing music is at the heart of the solution and Bitmunk does just that – it gives people a reason to get involved and be rewarded for helping to distribute music on the Web.