Matt Mason (author)

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Matt Mason
Mattmason-headshot-2.jpg
Born August 11, 1978 (age 38)
London, United Kingdom
Residence Los Angeles
Citizenship United States
Alma mater University of Bristol, United Kingdom
Occupation Author and Creative Executive
Notable work 1-800-N0TH1NG, The Pirate's Dilemma, RWD Magazine, BitTorrent Bundle
Spouse(s) Kelli Newman Mason
Website mattjmason.com

Matt Mason (born August 11, 1978) is an author and creative executive. He is the former Chief Content Officer for BitTorrent Inc., author of The Pirate’s Dilemma, and the founding editor-in-chief of RWD magazine.

Career[edit]

Early Career

Mason grew up in London, and began DJing as a teen on the pirate radio stations Ice FM and Mac FM.[1] He attended the University of Bristol where he graduated with a degree in Economics.[2] After graduating, he worked in the music and advertising industries at companies including Warner Music, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Mediacom.[3][4]

RWD[edit]

In 2001, Mason became the founding editor-in-chief of RWD magazine. RWD was created to push new sounds emerging from the UK, most notably UK garage, grime and dubstep, and Mason became the first journalist to interview a number of prominent UK artists, including Dizzee Rascal, Skepta and Tinchy Stryder.[5][6][7][8]

RWD became the largest music magazine by circulation in the UK, growing from 5,000 copies a month to almost 100,000 copies a month.[9] Based on his work at RWD, Mason was selected as one of the faces of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Start Talking Ideas campaign, and was presented The Prince’s Trust London Business of the Year Award by Prince Charles in 2004.[10]

Between 2001 and 2004, Mason also ran the independent label Tuned Plastic, specializing in UK garage, grime and dubstep.[11][12][13] ‘Submarine’, a record produced by Mason and released on Tuned Plastic, was included on DJ EZ’s seminal Pure Garage: Bass Breaks and Beats compilation in 2001.[14]

Between 2003 and 2005, Mason also anonymously wrote the Grimewatch column for Vice magazine, only outing himself as its author in his last column before leaving RWD and moving to New York.[15]

The Pirate's Dilemma[edit]

In 2005 Mason moved to New York and began working on his first book, The Pirate’s Dilemma, released by Simon & Schuster in the US[16] and Penguin in the UK,[17] in early 2008.[18]

The book was met with critical acclaim and became the first book to hit the number one spot on both Amazon’s hip hop and economics bestseller lists at the same time.[19][20][21][22] Wired gave the book 9 out of 10,[23] and BusinessWeek named Mason ‘Pirate of the Year.[24]

In the book, Mason makes the case that the best way to beat piracy is to compete with it, by determining the value pirates are creating and creating legal alternatives. “By short-circuiting conventional channels and red tape, pirates can deliver new materials, formats, and business models to audiences who want them,” he writes. “Canal Street moves faster than Wall Street. Piracy transforms the markets it operates in, changing the way distribution works and forcing companies to be more competitive and innovative. Pirates don't just defend the public domain from corporate control; they also force big business and government to deliver what we want, when we want it.” [25]

The paperback was released in 2009, and The Pirate’s Dilemma has since been published in ten countries.[26]

As a journalist, Mason’s work began to appear outside of RWD and Vice. By 2009 he had been published in The Guardian, The Independent, The Observer Music Monthly, Dazed & Confused, Adweek, Complex, Libération, and other publications in more than 20 countries.[27][28][29]

BitTorrent[edit]

Mason spent the next few years speaking on his work and consulting as well as working as Director of Innovation and Strategy for New York-based creative agency Syrup LLC.[30] In 2011, he joined BitTorrent as head of marketing,[31] taking on “a full-time job reshaping BitTorrent’s tattered image,” as Fast Company would later describe it.[32]

When Mason started at BitTorrent, there was a plan on the table to rename the company. But according to Fast Company, “(Mason) ran an experiment that gave everyone there pause. BitTorrent released a file-sharing product called SoShare and advertised it in two ways—as simply SoShare and as SoShare by BitTorrent. The ads with "BitTorrent" in them attracted five times more clicks. 'If you just put the word BitTorrent in front of something people already do on the web,' Mason says, 'people understand it means something different.' Changing the name was out.” [33]

Mason saw another opportunity at BitTorrent based on his previous work on piracy.[34] BitTorrent had begun promoting specific artists’ content in its download clients and he wanted to expand upon that. Mason transformed the experimental promotion of artists into a full-fledged product he called BitTorrent Bundles, which made it easy for artists to put packages of content into the BitTorrent ecosystem, which BitTorrent then promotes to its 170 million users.[35]

The company officially launched BitTorrent Bundle with the artist Kaskade in May 2013.[36] The early results were encouraging. As Fast Company described it, "Best-selling self-help author Tim Ferriss—desperate after being boycotted by bookstores for using Amazon as a publisher—released the first chapter of his book The 4-Hour Chef in a bundle, with recipes, an audiobook, and live workshop video content available in exchange for a user’s email address. About 210,000 people downloaded the bundle in the first week, and 85,000 of them followed a link to where Amazon sells the full book. Linkin Park used bundles to distribute a free trial of its recording software, StageLight, and soon after saw a 200% increase in the number of upgrades to the paid version. Madonna released a 17-minute film, which was downloaded 2.7 million times."[37]

Under Mason’s leadership in marketing, BitTorrent reintroduced itself as a credible technology company with a 2013 billboard campaign that garnered a great deal of attention.[38] The company anonymously posted billboards in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles depicting controversial statements such as "Your Data Should Belong to the NSA" and "The Internet Should Be Regulated."[39] After several weeks of media confusion, including an investigation by the LA Times,[40] Mason revealed in a blog post that BitTorrent was behind the ads.[41] That same day, the statements were altered, displaying more positive messages such as "Your Data Should Belong to You" and "The Internet Should Be People Powered." "With the reveal, we are showing people that things don't actually have to be like that," Mason told Mashable in an interview, referring to the original bleak messages. "If you look at BitTorrent's technology and protocols, things can be a different way."[42][43]

A BitTorrent billboard in San Francisco, 2013

In May 2014, Mason was promoted to Chief Content Officer.[44] On September 26, 2014, BitTorrent released their first pay-gated Bundle, Tomorrow's Modern Boxes, an album by Radiohead singer Thom Yorke[45] Mason revealed that he had been working on the project with Yorke and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich in secret for over a year.[46][47] By February 2015, the album had been downloaded more than 4.5 million times.[48]

Today there are more than 30,000 artists using Bundle, and during 2014, more than 250 million fans legally downloaded a piece of content via the platform.[49][50][51]

1-800-N0TH1NG[edit]

In September 2015, Mason began work on a new company - a media lab known as 1-800-N0TH1NG, which he revealed publicly in September 2016. Forbes described 1-800-N0TH1NG as "an incubator for new forms of media that use video game mechanics to engage audiences."[52]

Their first product, Bbble (pronounced ‘bubble’), launched in September 2016 for iOS. Bbble is a social video trivia platform where you can play solo, challenge friends, or star as the host by snapping your own video questions.[53]

1-800-N0TH1NG also quietly piloted a new type of gaming experience in July 2016: RoboKong - a live, live action game that streamed for four hours on Twitch, where viewers got to control real people on the set of the game.[54][55]

In RoboKong, players take control of a real person on a live set, controlling the actions of the player in the live broadcast by video chat, directing RoboKong as he attempts to escape from a lab teeming with rogue mutants. With little marketing, the live show attracted 684,563 views over 4 hours, generating 4m brand impressions and more than 26,000 fan messages. The company is planning on releasing several new apps and content experiences in the near future.[56]

Other projects[edit]

In 2015, Mason was voted the 11th most creative person in business by Fast Company.[57] He left BitTorrent in June of that year[58] and began working on his second book, a sci-fi novel about piracy in the near future, entitled Broadside.[59]

In 2013, Mason collaborated with Zegna brand designer Stefano Pilati on the tumblr based gN project to launch the designer’s first collection.[60][61]

In 2010, Mason made London Pirate Frequencies, a documentary with Vice on the past, present and future of pirate radio in London.[62]

In 2009, Mason collaborated with Nicholas Felton on Hard Times, an ‘info-graphic novel’ for Penguin which won best in show that year at SXSW.[63]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Matt Mason | Palladium Boots". dev.palladiumboots.com. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  2. ^ "We Are All Pirates". strategy+business. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  3. ^ "Plunder, pillage, and profit". Boston Phoenix. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  4. ^ "Matt Mason | LinkedIn". www.linkedin.com. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  5. ^ "Matt Mason | netmag | Creative Bloq". www.creativebloq.com. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  6. ^ "#91: Matt Mason - A Pirate's Life for Me". SoundCloud. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  7. ^ Mason, Matt (2009-05-05). The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781416532200. 
  8. ^ Pattenden, Siân (2012-05-31). How To Make it in the Music Business. Random House. ISBN 9781448132447. 
  9. ^ Plunkett, John (2014-02-13). "FHM circulation drops below 100,000". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  10. ^ http://www.mattjmason.com/about
  11. ^ "Matt Bodysnatcher". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  12. ^ "Bodysnatchers". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  13. ^ "NS10 - Sweet Soul". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  14. ^ "EZ* - Bass, Breaks & Beats". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  15. ^ "Grimewatch | VICE | United Kingdom". VICE. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  16. ^ Mason, Matt (2009-05-05). The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism (Reprint ed.). New York: Free Press. ASIN 141653220X. ISBN 9781416532200. 
  17. ^ Mason, Matt (2008-05-01). The Pirate's Dilemma: How Hackers, Punk Capitalists, Graffiti Millionaires and Other Youth Movements are Remixing Our Culture and Changing Our World. Penguin. ISBN 9781846141201. 
  18. ^ "Youth Culture Capitalism". WNYC. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  19. ^ "SF MusicTech Summit XII | SF MusicTech Summit". www.sfmusictech.com. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  20. ^ "PopTech: Learn to Profit from Piracy". WIRED. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  21. ^ Poole, Steven (2008-05-16). "Jolly Rogerings". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  22. ^ "The Pirate's Dilemma". Goodreads. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  23. ^ "Reviews: Mass Effect for Xbox 360, The Pirate's Dilemma, Sia's Jazzy Electropop". WIRED. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  24. ^ "The Best and Worst of Everything 2008: Best Pirate - BusinessWeek". Businessweek.com. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  25. ^ "Ars Book Review: "The Pirate's Dilemma"". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  26. ^ "No 1 - PIRATES - On modern freebooting - Abstrakt - W.I.R.E." W.I.R.E. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  27. ^ "The great British tradition of media piracy". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  28. ^ Mason, Matt (2008-05-09). "Live and let DIY". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  29. ^ "Matt Mason | Business Innovation Factory". www.businessinnovationfactory.com. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  30. ^ Webb, Jenn. "Getting your book in front of 160 million users is usually a good thing - Tools of Change for Publishing". Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  31. ^ http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/bittorrent-pirates-dilemma-matt-mason-interview
  32. ^ "The Infinite Lives Of BitTorrent". Fast Company. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  33. ^ "The Infinite Lives Of BitTorrent". Fast Company. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  34. ^ "BitTorrent's Plan for 2013? Go Legit". Bits Blog. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  35. ^ Ha, Anthony. "BitTorrent's Matt Mason On Rethinking The Music Industry Business Model: 'The Hustle Is Changing'". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  36. ^ "BitTorrent Announces Bundle, a 'Gated' Torrent Aimed at Legitimizing File-Sharing". WIRED. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  37. ^ "The Infinite Lives Of BitTorrent". Fast Company. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  38. ^ "The Infinite Lives Of BitTorrent". Fast Company. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  39. ^ "Shadowy Midtown Billboard Wants to Regulate Your Internet - ANIMAL". ANIMAL. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  40. ^ O'Brien, Chris (2013-09-30). "Silicon Valley wonders who is behind mystery NSA billboard". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  41. ^ "Maybe You Saw The Signs". The Official BitTorrent Blog. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  42. ^ UTC, Seth Fiegerman2013-10-08 16:00:03. "BitTorrent Is Behind Those Mysterious NSA Billboards". Mashable. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  43. ^ "Solved: The Minds Behind The 'NSA' Billboard Reveal Themselves". NPR.org. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  44. ^ "After a Year of Experimentation, BitTorrent Bundle Wants to Make Artists (and Itself) Money". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  45. ^ "Radiohead's Thom Yorke offers new album for sale -- through BitTorrent". latimes.com. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  46. ^ "Five Questions with BitTorrent's Chief Content Guy About Thom Yorke's Surprise Record | Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  47. ^ "BitTorrent Boss on Thom Yorke's Surprise Record: "Thom was very clear, 'This is an experiment.'"". The FADER. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  48. ^ Ingram, Mathew (2015-01-05). "Thom Yorke made as much as $20M from his BitTorrent experiment". Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  49. ^ UTC, Jason Abbruzzese2015-08-11 15:42:25. "BitTorrent defender sends recording industry a scathing letter". Mashable. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  50. ^ "The BitTorrent Report, 2014 Edition". The Official BitTorrent Blog. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  51. ^ "BitTorrent Report 2015 Shows 50% Growth For Direct To Fan Distribution Platform - hypebot". www.hypebot.com. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  52. ^ https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexpham/2016/09/22/l-a-studio-1-800-n0th1ng-explores-nexus-between-media-and-game-mechanics/#7b0ca4795d93
  53. ^ http://www.vocativ.com/361453/former-bittorrent-chief-aims-to-create-the-apps-of-the-future/
  54. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95iew064_6U
  55. ^ http://www.vocativ.com/361453/former-bittorrent-chief-aims-to-create-the-apps-of-the-future/
  56. ^ https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexpham/2016/09/22/l-a-studio-1-800-n0th1ng-explores-nexus-between-media-and-game-mechanics/#7b0ca4795d93
  57. ^ "Matt Mason". Fast Company. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  58. ^ "#91: Matt Mason - A Pirate's Life for Me". SoundCloud. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  59. ^ "BIF2015 - Matt Mason". Vimeo. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  60. ^ "gN". gn-project.tumblr.com. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  61. ^ "Zegna eyes art-savvy consumers with Tumblr project - Luxury Daily - Internet". www.luxurydaily.com. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  62. ^ "Pirate Radio | VICE | United States". VICE. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  63. ^ "We Tell Stories - 'Hard Times' by Matt Mason & Nicholas Felton". www.wetellstories.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 

External links[edit]