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Driven by BitTorrent Bundle, the most downloaded torrent of 2013 was actually legal

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by James Plafke, 21 Jan 2014News
Driven by BitTorrent Bundle, the most downloaded torrent of 2013 was actually legal

With TV and films becoming increasingly higher in quality, music becoming much easier to share and discuss, and our lives becoming ever more digital, torrents are becoming more popular than ever before.

You might even know a grandparent or two that downloads episodes of Game of Thrones because it's as easy as clicking twice. Capitalising on the medium's popularity, BitTorrent launched Bundle, which is essentially a legitimate music storefront kept inside the BitTorrent client.

With the help of BitTorrent Bundle, it turns out the most downloaded torrent of 2013 was not the Red Wedding episode of Game of Throne or the finale of Breaking Bad, but a legal bundle of tracks from Moby's recent studio album, Innocents.

The legal bundle was downloaded some 8.9 million times, making it the most downloaded torrent of 2013. Perhaps hilariously, the second-most downloaded bundle is a collection of Epic Meal Time videos, sitting at 8.6 million downloads.

While a legal torrent becoming the most downloaded torrent of 2013 is an impressive feat — proving that torrenting is a viable file transfer protocol and not only good for piracy — it's a little less impressive than it sounds.

Thanks to the Bundle programme, the torrents are included with every single uTorrent and BitTorrent application. which means that they're not only easier to access than illegal torrents, but land in the middle ground between both legal and illegal torrenters.

Those 8.9 million free downloads also had a positive effect on Moby's album release. Though not a staggering 8.9 million people, 419,000 were added to his email list, and 130,000 clicked through to iTunes. So, even though those numbers are a fraction of 8.9 million, that's much better for the artist than if none of those torrenters clicked through to anything.

An increasingly common — though still minor — belief regarding piracy is that most pirates would not have purchased the product anyway, so at least with piracy there's a chance the person will turn into a fan and make a legitimate purchase in the future. The thought process is similar to taking advantage of an open bar, but not actually buying a drink if it weren't open. This seems to be the case with Moby's bundle, however small the click-throughs actually were.

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