For years, the file-sharing service BitTorrent has been associated with piracy, as millions of people streamed creative content—movies, or music—for free.
Now, BitTorrent—with 170 million users—says it wants to empower artists, musicians and filmmakers.
While this is a bit ironic for some, the plan is to become a platform where musicians and others sell songs, albums and merchandise.
The company’s Director of Content Strategy Straith Schreder says you can think of it a bit like Etsy.
“It’s built to kind of bring people together over the content and creativity that they keep in common. That’s very much our mission here,” she says.
The hope is BitTorrent's so-called ‘bundles’ —what the company calls content in this new model—will slow the piracy that’s plagued the entertainment industry; the piracy that some associate with BitTorrent.
Complete Music Update editor Chris Cooke says while it’s not clear yet how to protect artists, direct to consumer models offer some hope.
“Artists now can know pretty precisely who their core fan base are, what sort of people they are, where they live, what they like to spend money on. And then provide products and services that excite those fans,” he says.
Cooke says the music industry is just learning how to capitalize on this new model.
He says the best thing about internet is that’s its putting artists in direct relationship with their fans.