Online Music Education Gets Cheaper as Berklee Releases BitTorrent Learning Bundle

BitTorrent is a dirty word in the music industry, as pirated copies of full albums and many other digitally downloadable files make their way on to peer-to-peer file-sharing networks every second. What BitTorrent can also do, along with other similar services, is enable the further spread of music education to the masses. Hypebot reports that Berklee Online released a series of online videos and eBooks for people to download and use for free (you can download the Berklee Online Musician’s Guide here). The online division of the Berklee School of Music, Berkleemusic, also provides free music lessons via Coursera, an online education platform that partners with many notable institutions to provide courses in a variety of subjects including music.

Even brick-and-mortar universities are getting smarter about online education. They know that not everyone will be able to afford, and might not even be selected to attend, a school like Berklee School of Music or an equivalent style of college. Although the move to online education, and occasionally giving away some free material, won’t be bringing in immediate revenue, it’s a somewhat inexpensive marketing maneuver. An act of goodwill also helps spread the word. Maybe it leads to new students at Berklee School of Music or paid courses through Berklee Online, and maybe it doesn’t.

“Free” is the new marketing. You might think, “Well, free is the old marketing too.” And in a way, you’re probably right. But what savvy artists started doing by giving away their music for free to market other revenue-generating products like merchandise and concert tickets, high-priced educational institutions and universities will have to replicate in their own business model. Online is not only the quickest distribution channel for content and education, but it will also level the playing field over time. Higher education in music is the next hurdle.