BitTorrent dives into Spotify’s world with on-demand streaming app BitTorrent Now

Even now, some may still associate the BitTorrent name with the shady activities its namesake protocol can be used for, but when the company first launched its Bundle platform in 2013, that was pretty much all it was associated with. When the Bundle platform became available to all artists in 2014 to help them distribute and be paid for their work, whether that work was music, video, or anything else, it was clear that the company’s technology could indeed be used for good.

Now BitTorrent (the company, not the protocol) is ready to take the Bundle platform even further, and it’s starting by renaming the platform BitTorrent Now and adding both audio and video streaming in addition to the downloads the service already offered. The platform is now available in more places thanks to new apps and, perhaps most interesting, ad-supported streaming in the vein of Spotify and other services is now supported in addition to paid downloads.

BitTorrent Now will also be much more widely available than the Bundle platform thanks to the addition of mobile apps. In addition to being accessible via the web, BitTorrent Now apps are now available for iOS, Apple TV, and Android. No apps for other smart TV platforms like Roku or Amazon Fire TV have been announced so far. The Android app will be available today, with iOS and Apple TV following shortly.

As part of the platform refresh, a number of artists are releasing new content via BitTorrent Now starting today. Rapper and digital artist Yung Jake, Nashville folk singer Caleb Groh, and Brooklyn-based alternative band Caveman are among those releasing new music, while a number of new series including documentary web series We Are San Marino and Back on Track are premiering today as well. If none of those names sound familiar, that’s sort of the point: the goal is to help users find new and exciting music, films, and other media

The Bundle platform first kicked off what BitTorrent refers to as paygates in 2014 with Thom Yorke’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. The album, sold as a $6 downloadable Bundle, may have made Yorke over $20 million in a year. Even so, streaming — especially free streaming — is more popular than ever, so the addition of ad-supported free streaming was almost a necessity.

BitTorrent claims that the Bundle platform was created “to give artists options. Not rules.” As part of continuing that ideal, BitTorrent Now aims to give filmmakers, musicians, and other artists more data about their fans, and to help fans know more about their favorite artists, with the ability to follow specific artists in a manner similar to platforms like Spotify.

BitTorrent Now is far from the only way BitTorrent is aiming to make content easier to share. Last month the company unveiled its BitTorrent Live streaming-video platform, while earlier this week a job listing pointed toward the company preparing its own live news channel for the platform.

Download for Android

Updated on 06-23-2016 by Kristofer Wouk: Edited to clarify that video streaming is also available

Home Theater

Amazon’s free Spotify competitor is here. Just ask Alexa

Just ask Alexa to play your favorite song. Amazon has launched a free, ad-based music streaming service to compete with Spotify's free tier on its popular Echo devices, aiming to bolster subscriptions to Amazon Music Unlimited.

YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. What's changed, and should you subscribe?

Thanks to Google, YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. We explain what exactly a YouTube Premium subscription gets you, how much it costs, and break down if it's a good choice for you.
Movies & TV

Two Toy Story spinoffs schedule playdates with the Disney Plus streaming service

Disney's direct-to-consumer streaming video service Disney Plus will launch with an impressive catalog of classic content, new projects, and original shows and movies. Here is everything confirmed and rumored to be coming to the platform.

Microsoft says hackers were able to view Outlook.com emails

Microsoft's Outlook.com email platform saw a massive breach that caused confidential data to be accessed by hackers for months. It now appears the problem might have been much worse than initially thought, and worse than Microsoft admitted.
Social Media

Facebook’s tributes section serves as an online memorial for deceased users

Death doesn't stop Facebook users from sharing memories, and now those memorialized posts have a dedicated spot on the network. Facebook Tribute is a section on memorialized profiles for users to write posts and share memories.
Social Media

How to protect yourself from GoFundMe scams before donating

Can you spot a GoFundMe scam? While the fundraising platform says scams make up less than a tenth of one percent of campaigns, some do try to take advantages of others' charity -- like a case last year that made national news.

House votes to restore net neutrality rules, but effort faces long odds

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved the Save the Internet Act, a measure intended to restore net neutrality rules that were repealed in 2017 by the Federal Communications Commission.

Search all of Craigslist at once with these great tools on web and mobile

Not finding what you need in your local area? Craigslist can be great for finding goods and services from further afield too. All you need do is learn these tips for how to search all of Craigslist at once.

The FCC and White House want to bring high-speed internet to rural areas

The FCC and the White House unveiled new initiatives to bring high-speed internet to rural areas, including $20.4 billion in incentives to companies to build infrastructure. The FCC also announced ways to speed up the rollout of 5G.

Internet Explorer zero-day exploit makes files vulnerable to hacks on Windows PCs

Evidence of an Internet Explorer zero-day exploit capable of letting hackers steal files from Windows PCs was published online by a security researcher who also claims Microsoft knew of the vulnerability and opted not to patch it.

Buying airline tickets too early is no longer a costly mistake, study suggests

When you book can play a big role in the cost of airline tickets -- so when is the best time to book flights? Earlier than you'd think, a new study suggests. Data from CheapAir.com suggests the window of time to buy at the best prices is…

Report says 20% of all 2018 web traffic came from bad bots

Distil Networks published its annual Bad Bot Report this week and announced that 20% of all web traffic in 2018 came from bad bots. The report had other similarly surprising findings regarding the state of bots as well.

Google Chrome will get a Reader Mode for distraction-free desktop browsing

If Google's testing of Reader Mode on the Chrome Canary desktop browser is successful, soon all Chrome users will gain access to this feature. Reader Mode strips away irrelevant content on a webpage for distraction-free browsing.

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.