BitTorrent Now is the company’s second streaming app in as many months, just after the launch of live-streaming app BitTorrent Live in May. The new app is rooted in the company’s Bundles program, which debuted in 2013 and included major partners like Lady Gaga, Madonna, and Thom Yorke. Bundles were distributed in a similar way to content on BitTorrent Now, though sans apps and without an ad-supported model.
BitTorrent gives artists their choice of business models, which changes how you pay for content.
The program is being rebranded and relaunched as BitTorrent Now to get away from the idea that artists have to package their work. They can sell or share pieces of content a la carte. Bundles will still exist as a distribution unit, and they’ve been pretty successful. More than 30,000 artists used BitTorrent Bundles to publish content, which more than 200 million people then downloaded. With the launch of BitTorrent Now and the move to smartphone and TV apps, BitTorrent is taking its platform mainstream.
BitTorrent Now is just one in a sea of streaming apps, most of which offer ad-supported streaming as an option. Schreder told me the real debate is over the artist’s share of streaming revenue, and that BitTorrent Now offers a percentage that can’t be beat by other streaming platforms. That fair split could win over artists that don’t want to earn pennies on the dollar for every song streamed.
The future is streaming
This year is a big one for BitTorrent. Eric Klinker, the company’s former CEO, was reassigned to spin off the peer-to-peer file-syncing app BitTorrent Sync into an enterprise-focused stand-alone company, Resilio. BitTorrent Live launched on iOS, Android, and Apple TV, bringing peer-to-peer live video streaming to the masses with a full lineup of TV channels. (Rumor has it BitTorrent plans to add a live news network to that roster, though it’s still early days.)
BitTorrent’s new CEOs, Jeremy Johnson and Robert Delamar, are tasked with turning BitTorrent’s creative consumer-focused projects, powered by its peer-to-peer protocol, into a media force to be reckoned with. It’s unclear whether people will embrace the new approach, but one thing’s for sure: BitTorrent has definitely won over the artists who once despised the company’s torrenting tech.
Those artists now have a new enemy: YouTube.
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