BitTorrent has recently announced a program called the Discovery Fund, which will aid upcoming artists across multiple mediums in getting their work discovered. Artists will submit their work to the Discovery Fund, and if the work sufficiently impresses them, then they will provide the artist with cash grants in addition to marketing their work. The cash grants range from $2,500 to $100,000 in marketing and distribution. Over two dozen artists will be accepted into the Discovery Fund in a rolling application process. Describing this process on their blog, BitTorrent said,
“Over the next year, BitTorrent aims to partner with 25 creators by providing cash grants and global promotional support to build impactful releases and discover new fans.We are looking for artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers and other creators working on uncompromised projects representing a diverse, original perspective seeking world wide distribution. This open, international initiative has a rolling call (so you can apply when your project is ready) and provides $2,500- $100,000 in marketing and distribution funding to use at your discretion.”
Straith Schreder, VP of Creative Initiatives at BitTorrent, explained it more simply,
“The rules are simple. You make something awesome. You own it. We back it, and help you find a global audience for your big idea.”
Many famous artists have used BitTorrent in the past to distribute their music. In 2014, Thom Yorke released a surprise album on BitTorrent titled Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. Despite the unconventional release, the album was successful commercially and critically. Additionally, BitTorrent is trying to convince people that free file sharing is not just a means to piracy, but a viable business model. Artists such as DJ Shadow have already monetized the free downloading of their content through a program called BitTorrent Bundle, which has been recently renamed BitTorrent Now. Users still don’t have to pay anything for content, they just need to view ads in order to support the artists monetarily.