From Ratking to Rubble Kings: how DIY scenes and outside voices shaped pop culture in 2015.
2015 saw creativity’s declaration of independence. More than 41% of artists we surveyed now say that direct-to-fan distribution — the freedom to share work without a label or a studio — is the single biggest change impacting the arts. It’s bigger than streaming. It’s more visceral than VR. It’s more valuable than crowdfunding. Because it’s about a basic human right: open access to expression.
The rise of self-distribution means that community is more important than ever before. And community is reshaping creativity. From “Hello” to “Hotline Bling”, the projects that thrive are the projects that are hardwired for collaboration. Art isn’t a painting, anymore. It’s a canvas. Welcome to pop culture’s open source movement.
This year, our publisher network grew by 50%, with more than 30,000 creators using Bundle to connect with passionate fans from around the world. In the last 365 days, we saw genres come down and original voices break out. We saw pay-what-you-want and pay-it-forward, with 24% of our publishers taking advantage of Bundle paygates. And we saw what happens when a community of artists and fans work together to change culture. Read on for the best of 2015.
THE UNDERGROUND IS MASSIVE.
In 2015, the most downloaded album Bundle was Ratking’s 700 Fill. The EP, written in just a week, was exhilarating, reckless, and lyrical; the sound of New York and not giving a fuck. DIY projects like Ratking ruled our most-listened-to lists; with fans discovering new music from Salva, Mr. Carmack, and Little Simz.
PRESERVING CREATIVITY, PERSON TO PERSON.
BitTorrent Bundle began as a way to build something that we felt the Internet was missing: records. The feeling of opening and unpacking music, words, and art. The way it brought you closer to bands, and the community around you. BitTorrent was built for records; as a way to preserve and share stories spanning genres, movements, and even decades.
In 2015, The FADER became the first publication to partner with us for digital distribution, with a 100-issue archive spanning 16 years of music journalism. From FADER 100 to Soulection White Label, more than 3MM archival Bundles were downloaded by fans this year.
LIVE THROUGH THIS.
In 2015, the rule in music is that you kinda had to be there. Global touring revenue grew 5% from 2014. 32MM people attended music festivals here in the US. But the live moments that stayed with us weren’t about wristbands and 100K crowds. They were about one-to-one experiences with our favorite artists. From Hundred Waters’ intentional desert community, to Octave Mind’s surveillance center show, more than 4MM live music Bundles were downloaded and streamed by fans.
DOWNLOAD AND DO GOOD.
When we launched paygates in 2014, our goal was to build a more sustainable way for artists to share their work with fans; providing creators with 90% of sales revenue, and 100% of subscriber data. In 2015, we saw artists use paygates to fund future projects, and social good initiatives.
Bill Nye’s upcoming documentary used Bundle to drive people to donate on Kickstarter. More than 1MM fans downloaded the Bundle; the project went on to become the most funded documentary project in Kickstarter history (taking the record from a Spock documentary, also supported by Bundle fans). In addition to crowdfunding, more than 3MM donation Bundles were downloaded, with proceeds going to veteran’s charities, youth education programs, and anti-bullying initiatives.
Here’s to the last 365 days, and the next. Thanks to the artists and fans who’ve become part of Bundle; who’ve inspired and challenged us to build a better way for the Internet to work. Listen to our year in sound, below.