Spotify killer? BitTorrent to offer artists 90% cut in new legitimate service

BitTorrent is continuing to reinvent itself as a legitimate service for sharing content by extending its paygate-business model to all artists wishing to use the platform.

Although peer-to-peer networks are often associated with online piracy, BitTorrent believes it can offer content creators more favourable terms than services such as Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud or Amazon.

Read more: Taylor Swift’s record label blasts Spotify over revenue claims

The file distribution site is willing to pay artists 90 per cent of all sales generated from its flexible business model. This could involve distributing some content for free, placing some behind a paywall or moving content behind the paywall after a specified number of views.

Matt Mason, chief content officer at BitTorrent believes that his service enables artists to decide the value of their work.

“The value of art shouldn’t be up for debate. It should be up to artists,” he said. “Our goal with BitTorrent Bundle is to restore control to creators. We’re opening up applications for paygates to all publishers: allowing artists to sell content direct to fans, on their terms, while keeping 90 per cent of sales revenue.”

Back in September, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke made his solo album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes available via BitTorrent and the network has now announced a partnership with electronic musician Diplo to reissue his debut album Florida with unreleased content.

BitTorrent has announced that anyone wishing to use the paygate service can apply to do so now online, but bundles will be approved in stages to ensure the service is running smoothly.

In addition to the 10 per cent claimed by BitTorrent, artists will also be charged payment processing fees, usually in the region of five per cent.

Director of content strategy at the firm, Straith Schreder, believes the new service is a “much better deal for artists.”

Read more: Thom Yorke’s BitTorrent album reaches a million downloads

“For one, it’s transparent,” she says. “Other sales and streaming platforms have come under attack for failing to disclose the deals they’ve made with labels. While Spotify has claimed to pay 70 per cent of their revenue to rightsholders, public statements by artists, including Taylor Swift, indicate that little of that money is actually making it back to the people making the songs.”