iTorrent – will Apple come to the BitTorrent party?

by Andy Polaine on December 20, 2004

Now that BitTorrents account for around 35% of all net traffic (40%, shockingly, is spam) will Apple create iTorrent or implement it in iTunes eventually? It seems too big an opportunity to miss.

I was chatting with Mark Pesce last night who has several insightful views on the whole personal media space and new technologies in general and he was bemoaning the ugly nature of most BitTorrent clients. It’s true and here’s the thing: I consider myself reasonably geeky. On a scale of 1 to 10 with my grandma at 1 and a Grateful Dead fan at 10, I’m about a 5 or 6. I have RSS readers running and a BitTorrent client, but basically it’s all too much like hard work sometimes.

Mark’s point about personal media, or F*ck Big Media, is that P2P networks, RSS, blogs, etc. are successfully eroding broadcast media, which is gradually becoming more and more stale and onerous. Fair point, but sometimes the apathy sets in for me, I just can’t be bothered to sift through all the potential media feeds, nor set up complex automated systems and so I’ll turn on the telly.

What Apple did with iTunes was make the whole MP3 scene easy and legal. I’d probably download, legally, a DVD if it cost a couple of dollars. That’s about what the studio would probably get or need to reimburse the cost of making the film/show. The rest of the cost goes into marketing, duplication, retail, markup, etc.

$2-3 seems reasonable, after all I’m paying for the distribution via my bandwidth (in both directions with BitTorrents), I pay for the media (DVD, HD, etc.). It costs the studio next to nothing to upload it and I’m more than happy for my money to be spent on creating new, quality content. But it needs to be easy, otherwise it will fail.

So, when you can carry around your movies on your iPod (forget watching them on a crap little screen – it should plug into the TV like the photo version) and it’s as easy to download as music is on iTMS, then we’ll be truly broadcatching. It won’t be called iTorrent either – Torrent is a dreadful name, it sounds like a bad case of diarrhea.

1 Knotty December 31, 2004 at 3:29 am

Have you seen what Valve software http://www.valvesoftware.com have done with the launch of HalfLife2? Their ‘steam’ distribution system (www.steampowered.com) works really well…

A

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