September 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm

The Most-Downloaded Legal Music on BitTorrent

legal bit torrent downloads

These artists were the most legally-downloaded on bit torrent in the first half of 2012 (click to expand).

File-sharing company BitTorrent recently announced that it facilitated 124,191,862 legal music downloads in the first six months of 2012. That is 31 percent of all BitTorrent downloads over the same six months, according to MusicMetric (405 million).

How do these legal downloads happen? BitTorrent, which offers BitTorrent and µTorrent software for uploading and downloading files (not to be confused with the bit torrent protocol, which those applications use), works with artists and labels to disseminate their music for free in the interest of “helping emerging and established creators monetize their content via the BitTorrent ecosystem,” in the company’s words.

This music is actually free, so the “monetization” must happen elsewhere.

Our question: who are these artists giving people permission to download singles and entire albums (comprising 78 percent of downloads according to MusicMetric) for free? We were curious, so we asked.

Here’s the word from BitTorrent:

  1. Death Grips: 34,151,432
  2. Counting Crows: 26,950,427
  3. Billy Van: 18,702,053
  4. Gods Robot: 12,172,672
  5. Way Too Sick: 9,974,321
  6. Paz: 6,485,001
  7. Bray: 5,878,492
  8. Pretty Lights: 5,005,061
  9. DJ Shadow: 4,349,048
  10. Chester French: 523,356

The top legally-downloaded band on BitTorrent was Death Grips, which is signed to Epic, Records, part of the major label Sony Music.

Other big names (to me, anyway) include Counting Crows and DJ Shadow. Some, like Billy Van and Pretty Lights, made special multimedia bundles specially available for fans as part of a promotional initiative with Fame House.