BittorrentWith recent court actions closing down The Pirate Bay and other BitTorrent sites one would think that the days of free music and software are coming to an end. That was until I received a report today on the number of BitTorrent downloads for my CDs and videos.

Your torrents have been downloaded 22552 times in 157 different countries

Now in some ways I should take this as a compliment I suppose. It’s nice to know that people are listening to my music. But considering that these free downloads have been of complete CDs of about fifteen tracks each, that makes a total of 338280 tracks. The current price for purchased tracks is between $0.55 and $0.99 per track. Depending on where you buy them.

A little quick arithmetic tells me that this would have been a lot of money! Even at the small royalty rate I receive, this would have helped me eat and drink better, that’s for sure.

Like anything new though, the internet is maturing and the days of free, free, free are slowly diminishing one would hope.

However a new marketing tool is being used now that is turning this direction back in almost a full circle. I was interested to read that many of the bestselling e-books for Amazon’s Kindle are in fact priced at $2.00 and many are even free. Not pirated copies, but legal free copies distributed by the major publishing houses.

So as careful as I have been to protect my books from pirating and PSP file sharing, I find I am now competing in a market where the major distributors are prepared to offer Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen for $2.00. A little hard for me to compete at the standard price of $9.99.

Another related site I wonder about is Google Books. I have a 20% preview available for my books on this site. But when I see over 200 visits in one day to one book, I get the feeling that someone has found a way to access my book in totality.

As with all things internet, the more we progress, the more questions there are to ask.

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Free Is Still Alive
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3 thoughts on “Free Is Still Alive

  • 31/01/2010 at 7:41 pm

    I read a blog post over at "Gaping Void" yesterday about "selling by giving," which discussed the widely held belief that everything on the internet should be given away free; that if we give our products free, it doesn't hurt those,like us, who provide a product. In essence, many of the those commenting seemed to believe that potential buyers offered free or extremely low-cost content(Kindle and others)up-front,would then transition to users being willing to hand out hard-earned cash for similar products down the road. They also mention piracy as a compliment to an author or musician — somehow it will increase earnings down the road.

    I don't know about you, but I can't afford to wait for "down the road" since my rent in the now. It is nice to read a post that provides some evidence to back the stated premise.

  • 01/02/2010 at 11:45 am

    Just one quick note re: your torrent stats.

    The question is, would all of those who downloaded your music have done so if they had to pay for it? I'm not saying that because I think your music is bad, that is definitely not the impression I want to give…:) BUT, I know with myself, there is a lot of music that I would not actually purchase, but would listen to if I got it for free. There are certain artists who I faithfully support, and always buy their music. I only have so much money, so I have to pick and choose where that money can go. There have been times when I have downloaded music from an artist that I don't know, and ended up LOVING what I heard, and go on to be a regular follower and will buy their music. A lot of stuff I download, I usually end up erasing at some point, for whatever reason.

    Anyway, back to my main point, which is, if people were not downloading your stuff for free, would they be paying for it? In the end, do you actually make more money because of the exposure you are getting…people liking what they hear and then coming back to, say, buy a book?

    Just a few thoughts that ran through my head when I read this post.

  • 01/02/2010 at 1:25 pm

    Thanks for your comments. I agree with almost all of the points you raise. I suppose the most important point for me is one of permission. I agree that free downloads can make for good publicity and exposure and I do have freebies on my website. However, if it is without my knowledge or permission, that makes for a different argument perhaps.


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