Today, it’s launched BitTorrent Now, an ad-supported streaming service for music and video. It doesn’t host every artist under the sun, but instead hosts content from content creators who sign up to distribute their work through the platform.
The company is no stranger to supporting artists; for the past few years, it’s allowed them to make music and films available through its peer-to-peer file sharing service. In 2014, it introduced a paygate so creators like Radiohead’s Thom Yorke could offer some files for free and accept payments for premium content.
The idea is that you’ll be able to discover independent and major artists on the platform and stream their content for free on multiple devices; you only have to put up with pre-roll ads. You’ll also be able to pay for certain albums and videos so you can skip the ads.
At launch, BitTorrent Now has released an Android app; iOS and Apple TV versions are in the works.
It’ll be interesting to see if BitTorrent can attract enough artists with a solid presence onto its platform and sustain it over a long period of time. The company says it has a team curating content for the service and that artists will receive 70 percent of the revenue generated from ads on their videos. Those who opt to place their work behind paygates will earn 90 percent from content sales.
BitTorrent has the tech to make this work; the hard part is building a brand that features quality content and attracts enough users who will enjoy it and won’t go elsewhere to find it.