The Fader, known for giving major music stars from Kanye West to Nicki Minaj their first cover stories, is breaking ground on another front by releasing both its 100th issue and the 99 preceding issues before for free on BitTorrent.
The Fader 100 BitTorrent Bundle, available starting today, includes every issue since the magazine's founding in 1999, as well as a video with testimonials and footage of former editors, photographers and the magazine's founders, Jon Cohen and Rob Stone.
The bundle download is meant as a thank-you to long time readers, people who can go back and dig in to their favorite artists' breakthrough interviews, Mr. Cohen said. The magazine is also aiming to reach music fans who aren't familiar with The Fader.
"We started as a print magazine at a time when the web was in its infancy and really have evolved to have a strong digital offering," Mr. Cohen said. "If you like the tangible nature of print, it's there. If you enjoy online content, we're there for you."
The Fader's 100th issue comes as a once-vibrant battle among music magazines has faded in print but joined online by entrants such as Pitchfork.com.
The Fader's audience is far smaller than Rolling Stone in either medium, but its six-times-a-year print edition has outlasted regular print editions of well-known music titles such as Spin and Vibe. Fader's paid circulation is not audited, but the magazine described it as consistent over the past two years, averaging about 39,000 print subscriptions and newsstand sales of about 58,500. Fader also said it has 12,500 digital subscriptions.
TheFader.com attracted 976,000 unique visitors in August, according to ComScore, compared with nearly 3 million for Pitchfork.com and 16.1 million for RollingStone.com.
In the past few years, The Fader has doubled its sales and editorial teams and developed an in-house video production team and events department. Citing its own figures, executives said its online traffic has increased 316% in the past year and its mobile traffic has increased 449%. Video views are up sevenfold, it said.
For its 100th issue, Mr. Cohen said the magazine wanted to do something big, to go back and look at entire history of the magazine. BitTorrent proved a perfect host because of its ability to seamlessly moves big files and musicians' established presence there.
BitTorrent bundles average 734 megabytes. The Fader bundle will be larger: near 5 gigabytes.
"One of the things that's core to our platform is really to be able to give artists options and not rules," said Straith Schreder, director of content strategy for BitTorrent. "The goal and purpose behind the platform is to give creators greater distribution to their own creation."
Many magazines have subscriber-accessible archives, although not typically for free. Esquire recently marked its thousandth issue with the introduction of a digital archive called "Esquire Classic" hosting all of its issues. Access costs $45 per year for non-subscribers and $30 for subscribers.
The 100th issue of The Fader has 109 ad pages and 147 editorial pages, about twice its usual size. The magazine worked with Everything-Type-Company on a redesign, including an updated logo and new typefaces.