Internet Archive Distributing Free Music, Movies & Books Via BitTorrent

Live-music-archive-logoThe Internet Archive is a nonprofit digital library that permanently stores a great deal of content. In particular their Live Music Archive includes a wide range of freely downloadable recording of live concerts by artists that have allowed their work to be included. Recently a partnership between The Internet Archive and BitTorrent was announced that allows for distribution of these files as torrents.

As BitTorrent’s Matt Mason noted when we discussed DJ Shadow’s BitTorrent bundle, this use of BitTorrent to distribute Internet Archive files offers a demonstraton of yet another use case for BitTorrent’s technology.

Internet Archive: Free Music Widget

The Internet Archive is a rather sprawling site with a great deal of archived goodies. Now they’re offering over 1 million torrents of archive music concerts, movies, ebooks, old time radio and related content:

“BitTorrent is the now fastest way to download items from the Archive, because the BitTorrent client downloads simultaneously from two different Archive servers located in two different datacenters, and from other Archive users who have downloaded these Torrents already.”

“The distributed nature of BitTorrent swarms and their ability to retrieve Torrents from local peers may be of particular value to patrons with slower access to the Archive, for example those outside the United States or inside institutions with slow connections.”

You can search Archive torrents or check out specific sub-collections for books, movies or music and audio.

Another option is to focus on the Live Music Archive featuring recordings of music concerts by “trade-friendly bands. Such bands typically allow fan recordings of live concerts and non-commercial trading of those recordings however each band sets their own policy. The Archive has a list of bands who have agreed to have their music archived or who have opted out of archiving.

The list gives one a sense of the range of music and includes such bands as:

The Grateful Dead has its own extensive archive as part of the collection.

You can also check out the Archive’s BitTorrent stats to see what content is attracting attention.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) maintains a business writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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