BitTorrent Prepares Artist Self-Publishing Platform

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BitTorrent Inc., the flagship organization for the broader file-sharing technology, is now planning a self-publishing platform on bittorrent.com.

The plan, shared exclusively with Digital Music News by BitTorrent executives on Monday, opens a fresh distribution opportunity for unsigned and independent artists.  The move follows music-focused deals involving BitTorrent, Inc., IODA, and the Orchard, as well as a number of independent label tie-ups.  The self-publishing initiative will allow any artist to upload their content into the BitTorrent distribution and ecommerce platform, a mechanism best suited for larger bundles like albums and compilations.  The platform is slated for release in late July, according to the executives.

The do-it-yourself concept is part of a broadening music initiative, though majors are mostly on the sidelines.  The reason, according to company vice president and general manager Eric Patterson, is that tricky DRM requirements are causing deal-making delays.  “We’d rather wait until DRM issues are out of the way,” Patterson said, a sentiment shared by other content distribution companies.  Elsewhere, BitTorrent has jumped headlong into other arenas like film, evidenced by deals involving 20th Century Fox, Comedy Central, and Paramount.  That is part of an attempt to transform ravenous BitTorrent swapping activity in revenue, though critics wonder if media consumers will pay for content so readily available for free.  Perhaps the most obvious example of this threat lies in the flagship BitTorrent client itself, which easily handles torrents from destinations like the Pirate Bay. A broad number of other BitTorrent applications are equally adept at the task, and competitive variants continue to gain steam.