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BitTorrent, the company who developed the infamous peer-to-peer sharing protocol of the same name, is now launching a music and video-streaming app.
BitTorrent is adding an ad-supported streaming option to its BitTorrent Bundle platform — which is now being rebranded as BitTorrent Now, according to Billboard Magazine.
The company, long associated with illegal file-sharing, is apparently trying to distance itself from that image and brand itself as a legitimate media distributor.
But BitTorrent Now will differ from mainstream platforms such as Spotify or Apple Music. Unlike those streaming services, BitTorrent Now will probably only feature content explicitly uploaded by artists, much like its BitTorrent Bundle predecessor, according to The Verge.
Similarly, the app will likely be populated with content from lesser known and independent artists. And BitTorrent Now will allow these artists a greater degree of control over their work.
BitTorrent Bundle was released in 2013 as a new file format. Artists who released an album on Bundle got to decide whether the album was a free download or not. The artist could then decide the price, or implement some other way of “paying” for the content.
For example, a creator could release three songs of an album for free. Fans could unlock other songs by liking the artist on Facebook, signing up for their newsletter, or sharing the album with friends or peers, according to VentureBeat.
From there, artists can create other types of “gates,” and reward listeners with other content or merchandise by completing various tasks, Billboard wrote.
Unlike other streaming platforms, who have historically paid artists very little, BitTorrent Bundle offered a 90/10 split for creators. BitTorrent Now’s streaming service will offer a 70/30 split on advertising revenue, according to Billboard.
BitTorrent hopes that the rebranding will draw in more people who are skeptical of torrenting, according to The Verge. The app is currently available for Android, with Apple TV and iOS versions on the horizon, the company said.