BitTorrent has been on the tech scene for a while now, and is seen by many as the go-to for peer-to-peer file-sharing. Users download a BitTorrent client (µTorrent, Vuze, Transmission, etc.), which are programs that use the BitTorrent protocol, to allow sharing of files over the internet and between users.
Since the launch of the software in 2001, BitTorrent has vastly expanded its functionality. The development of tools like Sync, Bleep, BitTorrent Live and the upcoming Project Maelstrom have helped BitTorrent evolve. Now BitTorrent protocols “move as much as 40% of the world’s Internet traffic on a daily basis.” – BitTorrent.
BitTorrent is adding a new function to their roster with BitTorrent Now. The platform is a music streaming service that allows content creators to distribute their music and art. By signing up to be a BitTorrent Now Publisher, users can put their own music on the platform and then tag it with artists’ names to attract more traffic to their own pages.
The BitTorrent Now main web page features several categories including collections that are ‘currently trending,’ ‘recently added’ and ‘featured.’ The site draws on the BitTorrent Bundle, a new approach to file-sharing which allows creators to offer some content for free as well as the option to purchase additional media at a price that the artist designates.
BitTorrent Now is ad-supported, similar to music streaming websites like Pandora, and users will have the option to skip the ads by paying a fee. According to BitTorrent, this is a step towards creating a “people-powered platform,” in which creators can distribute content on their own terms and make some coin in the process.
We believe we can help artists harness a powerful medium – the Internet – in a meaningful way. In a way that they can profit from distributing their work. In a way that empowers creators with data ownership and transparency. –BitTorrent
Given that BitTorrent Now was launched just a couple days ago on June 23, the program hasn’t had much of an opportunity to gain traction in the indie music and tech communities. Regardless, BitTorrent Now is certainly a step in a new direction when it comes to self-distribution and online music streaming platforms.
The BitTorrent Now App is available for Android in the Google Play store, with iOS and Apple TV availability following soon.