Hip-hop’s Public Enemy partners with BitTorrent to give power to the people

publiceTurns out that, at least when it comes to BitTorrent, you should believe the hype after all.

Chuck D, member of the hip-hop group Public Enemy, has long supported file sharing; as far back as 2001, he was telling a music conference that “[Record] labels need to see that trying to fight MP3s is trying to shout at a thunderstorm, it’s going to happen, you’ve got to come up with ways adapt to it, and make it work for everybody.” Two years later, he was even more adamant, telling a U.S. Senate hearing that “P2P to me means power to the people… I trust the consumer more than I trust the people at the helm of these [record] companies.”

Now, he and his bandmates are putting their money – or, more specifically, their music – where their mouth is, releasing the video for their new track via BitTorrent’s new Bundle format. Announced on BitTorrent’s official blog on Wednesday, the video for Public Enemy’s latest track – “Get Up Stand Up” featuring Brother Ali – will be available to anyone willing to share their e-mail with the band. But that’s not all they’ll get. 

“Opt to unlock the Bundle with your e-mail, and you’ll get the music video, plus outtakes, from Public Enemy,” the blog post explains. “You’ll also get the exclusive multitrack: 37 acapellas and stems. Make your own Public Enemy mix, and if the group likes what they hear, they’ll release it digitally for you. Call it creative activism.”

In fact, it’s a contest. The band will listen to the submitted tracks, and choose nine winners. Five “third prize” winners will receive Public Enemy merchandise, three “second prize” winners will get the merchandise and equipment from Blue Mics and Native Instruments, while the “first prize” winner gets all of that plus their mix being officially released by the band. Creative activism, perhaps, but oddly commodified with the notion of a “prize” at the end.

Chuck D’s manager (and occasional Public Enemy producer) Gary “G-Wiz” Rinaldo was quoted in the BitTorrent post, talking about the reason why the band decided to release the stems in this manner. “For many established people in the music business, there’s a fear that comes along with [technology],” he said. “We don’t have that fear. The ability to freely share an archive and have flexibility on how it can be used is an extremely powerful tool when it comes to making music and media available.”

This is just the latest in a series of official music releases from BitTorrent, with previous artists sharing their music through the service including DJ Shadow and Kaskade, the latter of whom launched the new Bundle format last month. The company is seeking to promote itself as a legitimate distribution format, as opposed to a gateway to piracy; with more releases like this, hopefully that change in perception won’t be too long coming.


Don’t expect to see the new Dell XPS 15 with OLED display until April

There could be a delay in the release of Dell's new laptops with OLED panels. A new tweet from Dell executive Frank Azor suggests that these new devices might not come until a month later.

The best new music this week: Robert Ellis, Golden Daze, and more

Looking for the best new music? Each week, we find the most compelling new releases just for you. This week: Brand-new music from Robert Ellis, Broken Social Scene, and Golden Daze.

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.

How do the revised Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles stack up?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?

Use one of these password managers to help protect yourself online

The internet can be a scary place, especially if you don't have a proper password manager. This guide will show you the best password managers you can get right now, including both premium and free options.

YouTube beats Apple, Netflix as the most trusted brand by millennials

The popular video sharing website YouTube climbed up in an annual Mblm study, moving up from third place in 2018 and coming ahead of both Apple and Netflix in final 2019 rankings. 

Is the 5G spectrum harmful to our health? Experts say, 'Don't freak out'

There's plenty of consumer anxiety about radiofrequency (RF) radiation, specifically around millimeter waves (mmWave) used on 5G networks, but is it based in reality? We asked the FDA to give us its official view on the subject.

Russia will ‘unplug’ from the internet as part of a cyber-defense test

Authorities across Russia are planning on unplugging the country from the global internet as part of a test of its cyber defenses. The disconnection will briefly keep all internet traffic inside the country.

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.

Gmail adds lots of new functionality to its right-click menu

Right-click on an email in Gmail and the list of actions is pretty limited. That's about to change, though, as Google has just announced it's expanding the list of options to make its email client that little bit more useful.

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.

File Transfer Protocol explained: What FTP is and what it does

FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol," and it's used to transfer files online. Most internet users don't need it, but web developers use it constantly. Here's what FTP is, how it works, and how you can get started using it.

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.

Lose the key for your favorite software? These handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.