Good news for authors and creatives out there – if you’re prepared to believe its source. According to a BitTorrent user survey reported by Torrent Freak – though so far at least I’ve been unable to access this via BitTorrent Inc. itself – “BitTorrent users are 170% more likely to have paid for digital music in the past six months and are 8x more likely to have a music streaming account when compared to the average Internet user.” And there is no reason to assume that figures for ebooks would look any different – meaning that what is reputedly one of the world’s foremost platforms for online piracy is apparently facilitating legitimate paid-for consumption of creative works.
Yes, BitTorrent did reportedly base this on a fairly small sample size – 2500 respondents from September 2014. Of these, though, according to the reports, around half buy music each month, usually albums (44 percent of purchases). And as for other media, 47 percent of the poll had apparently bought cinema tickets in the past year, while 38 percent had bought a DVD or Blu-Ray disc, and 23 percent had active movie streaming accounts.
Of course, a small sample size from a platform with every reason to try to buttress its credibility and legitimacy can throw up all kinds of false positives and wrong inferences. But the results do tend to support the arguments of those who maintain that content creators are better off utilizing torrents and similar mechanisms for maximum exposure, rather than trying to lock down their creations as aggressively as possible through draconian DRM or other means. If this survey is to be believed, they could be hurting some of their best customers.