BitTorrent Enters Streaming World with Free Music and Video Service

BitTorrent Enters Streaming World with Free Music and Video Service
After allowing artists to set a price for downloads with Bundle in 2014, BitTorrent has revealed an overhaul of the platform that will see it become a new streaming app.

Dubbed BitTorrent Now, the app is available today on Android and the web, with versions for Apple TV and iOS launching soon. The new service will feature free streaming of audio and video, with pre-roll ads bringing artists and creators 70 percent of revenues. Artists will still retain 90 percent of revenues for direct sales.

"We believe we can help solve some of the most troubling problems facing creators in the digital age," BitTorrent CEO Jeremy Johnson told VentureBeat. "The Internet has the promise of a direct connection between creators and fans: the ability to facilitate a dialogue and a collaboration. Yet, in the digital age, art has increasingly become commoditized. Existing platforms impose business models, format restrictions, algorithmic discovery; all of which are barriers between artists and fans … the creative vision and connection to fans is not a priority."

To coincide with today's announcement, the company is testing their new ad-supported model with releases from rapper Yung Jake, filmmaker Adam Bhala Lough and others. Music and video channels from Fool's Gold Records, Oscilloscope Labs, iHeartComix, Soulection and others are also available through the apps.

BitTorrent first introduced paygates in 2014 with the release of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke's Tomorrow's Modern Boxes.

"It's an experiment to see if the mechanics of the system are something that the general public can get its head around," Yorke and collaborator Nigel Godrich wrote about the Bundle service at the time. "If it works well it could be an effective way of handing some control of internet commerce back to people who are creating the work."