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Public Enemy uses BitTorrent to crowd-source remix for new track

June 19, 2013|By Ryan Faughnder
  • Public Enemy is using BitTorrent to let fans remix a new track.
Public Enemy is using BitTorrent to let fans remix a new track. (BitTorrent Inc. )

It takes a nation of millions … to make Public Enemy’s next remix.

The political hip-hop group, best known for such songs as "Bring the Noise" and "Fight the Power," is letting fans remix its new single, “Get Up Stand Up,” featuring Brother Ali, for a contest.

Peer-to-peer file-sharing service BitTorrent Inc. is providing the raw materials through a “bundle” for fans to download for free. The Public Enemy package gives fans access to the 37-stem multi-track for the song, allowing them to make their own remixes and submit their work.

The bundle also includes outtakes and a music video. 

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Members of Public Enemy will listen to the resulting tracks and vote to determine their favorite, which they’ll release digitally.

BitTorrent has been testing its Bundle service, which lets musicians, filmmakers and other content creators distribute their work online.

File-distribution companies have not often been seen as friends of musicians, but BitTorrent is trying to change that by giving artists new ways to interact directly with fans.

The BitTorrent Bundle program, which will have its official launch by the end of this year, lets artists distribute to the site’s 170 million active monthly users. Artists including Death Grips and Kumare have used it, as has Berklee College of Music.

“We’re really trying to use the Bundle not only as a distribution and consumption space, but also as a collaboration space,” said Matt Mason, vice president of marketing at BitTorrent, in an interview.

For the Public Enemy contest, the first-prize winner will have the winning mix distributed by the group and will get recording equipment and Public Enemy gear. Additional prizes will go to eight runners-up. 

Though Public Enemy is making its download available in exchange for an email address, Mason said the Bundle service will let artists make money by requesting donations.

“The idea of the bundle is, you can publish anything and distribute to millions of people,” Mason said. “We wanted to give the artists the option for how they want to monetize their content.”

Though Public Enemy continues to record and tour with rappers Chuck D and Flavor Flav sharing mic duties, Flavor Flav is perhaps best known currently as a reality-TV mainstay, most notably as the star of VH1's "Flavor of Love."


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