Trampled By Turtles wants you to torrent some of their music

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Trampled By Turtles is telling fans and new listeners to torrent some of its music.

Now, the Duluth-based bluegrass quintet isn't promoting piracy and illegal downloading – they're actually teaming up with BitTorrent to offer a free bundle.

It's 10 tracks, hand-picked from their eight-album discography (and by the way, they said on Facebook they won't be touring again until next year.)

Why is this especially interesting?

Because torrenting is arguably the most popular method of pirating, well, anything.

Music, movies, TV shows, video games and more all get illegally downloaded through torrent clients – despite programs such as BitTorrent making it very clear in its terms of use that you can only use the software to share and download content you have the rights to.

How does it work?

It's a peer-to-peer way of sharing files. The torrent program (BitTorrent is one option, but there are others) looks at who else has those files available, then starts download pieces of it onto your computer from all of those other sources, called seeders. When it's done, torrent etiquette is to allow other downloaders to then do the same from your files.

The benefit is it allows large files to be downloaded from hundreds of different sources at once (rather than one direct source), meaning nobody's connection suffers, InspirationFeed explains.

 A BitTorrent screengrab showing the Trampled By Turtles bundle. (Photo: BringMeTheNews photo)

A BitTorrent screengrab showing the Trampled By Turtles bundle. (Photo: BringMeTheNews photo)

With the Trampled By Turtles bundle, you can see there were 29,931 seeds Sunday morning – people who have fully downloaded the package and are letting others then download from them.

(Note: To get all 10 Trampled By Turtles tracks, you have to give them your email – otherwise the collection is three tracks. It's free either way though.)

Recording industry not a fan

Naturally, the Recording Industry Association of America isn't a fan of illegal file sharing, arguing the "cumulative impact" of millions of people downloading songs has a "devastating" impact on the music industry.

BitTorrent has been trying to shed its piracy stigma recently, and has been working to position itself as a valuable tool for artists who want to quickly and easily share music, Mashable writes. But in August, the recording industry sent a letter to BitTorrent, saying the program was involved in 75 percent of the piracy infractions the RIAA filed in 2014.

The letter (which you can see in full here) asks BitTorrent to live up to its new anti-piracy message and crack down on illegal file-sharers.

BiTorrent responded by noting it does not "host, promote or facilitate" piracy, VentureBeat reported.

One study, Time reported in 2013, found illegal downloads had no effect on legal downloads of music.

BitTorrent has been pushing to partner with more official content creators by pitching itself as an easy, fast way to spread work – whether it's for free (such as Trampled By Turtles) or by buying a torrent file. Even the BBC has gotten on board, offering a "Doctor Who" collection of multiple episodes and special video features for $12.

What's being torrented?

Last December, the site ExtraTorrent released the top 20 most-torrented files in its history. They didn't release specific numbers, but said everything in the top 10 (including the track "Payphone" by Maroon 5 and the movie "Captain America: Winter Soldier") had all been downloaded more than 10 million times, TorrentFreak wrote.

 (Photo: Movoto)

(Photo: Movoto)

Recently, Movoto looked at which states are illegally torrenting what types of files. Minnesota overall has one of the lower torrenting rates in the country, but tends to torrent TV shows more frequently than movies and video games.

And the most popular show torrented in the state, when compared to the national average? HBO's "Game of Thrones."

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