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Public Enemy + BitTorrent Team Up To Revolutionize Online Music

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.

Public Enemy, hip-hop's original revolutionaries, are about to kick over the barriers once again. Specifically the rap legends have decided to release "Get Up Stand Up"--their fist-raising collaboration with rhymesayer Brother Ali--as a BitTorrent bundle today. That might not sound like a shot heard round the world at first gloss but what it means is that the group is letting their song's DNA go viral in the most explosive way possible by letting fans not only download the song but also access its 37 multitrack stems (plus additional video content) simply by entering an email.

That's when things really get out of hand--fans will have an opportunity to create their own song using the multitracks and share those with Public Enemy using another BitTorrent product SoShare. PE will then choose the winners with the top pick getting produced and released by Public Enemy. In short, its about as close as Chuck D could come to make the lyrics of the song:

"This song don't give a damn / you can't dance or romance to it / This song ain't arrogant / if you don't try, buy it / if your radio denies it.."

...come to life. Since using technology to take hip-hop direct to the masses is pretty much the heart of what Okayplayer has been about since 1.0, we are understandably a little amped about this whole thing--not to mention extremely proud to have BitTorrent as our official sponsor and partner in content-capture at Roots Picnic 2013.

PE & Ali's power move is just the first volley of a whole new format for music and other culture that the BitTorrent bundle represents, so in the spirit of empowering music-makers and spreading knowledge we asked Chuck D's manager Gary “G-Wiz” Rinaldo and BitTorrent's Matt Mason to break it all down for us. Hit the links below to get the "Get Up Stand Up" bundle and--ESPECIALLY if you make music, scroll down to get the full science on how BitTorrent is about to rewrite the basic code of the Internet.

 >>>Download Public Enemy's BitTorrent Bundle

>>>Get Remix Contest Details

 >>>More Info

Gary “G-Wiz” Rinaldo On Public Enemy x BitTorrent:

OKP: Why did PE choose to partner with BitTorrent on this?

G-Wiz: Because if you're going to make very large files available, who better to make sure everyone can actually get it than BitTorrent technology? Couple that with the options available in the bundle and it makes complete sense. Streaming is great but we believe in retaining files too. As more and more fans are herded into accessing media but never retaining it, it is important in many cases for fans to have access to the files they have gotten the right to download.

OKP: Why was it important to give fans the multitracks? What do you hope to get back from this other than an awesome remix?

GW: It is the best case scenario when doing a remix. Having an acapella is good, have the ability to access more of the music is great, the full multitrack is usually not an option, we wanted to make it an option for this remix. [BitTorrent also has] a large music community with the best technology for transferring large files seemed like the perfect fit for what we wanted to do.

OKP: What has been the impact on technology on the relationship between artists and fans?

GW: We've supported it from the beginning, we believe in it, direct connecting, faster access to music, making things available. For many established people in the music business there is a fear that comes along with it. We don't have that fear. The process of technology affecting how music is made and sold is almost complete. Its now in everyone's hands and its more about what you can do rather than gaining access to a facility to do it in. Motion pictures are well into that cycle now. Fairly soon, the idea and creativity behind it will be the only limitation.

Matt Mason on PE x BitTorrent:

OKP: First off, what is BitTorrent and why do people need to know about it?

BT:That’s a great question. There’s a lot of confusion about what BitTorrent is, and what it does. So here it is in plain language: BitTorrent is an Internet protocol; a way of doing things online that makes the web more efficient. It was invented in 2001 by our founder and chief scientist, Bram Cohen as a replacement for HTTP; the protocol that moves Internet traffic. When the Internet was created, no one envisioned the size and volume of the data that would travel across it each day. In the past few years alone creating HD video and hi-resolution photos on your smartphone has become possible. And if you take photos and vids as often as I do, then multiply that by the millions of people with such a smartphone - that’s a hell of alot data clogging up the Internet. And they haven’t even started to roll out 4K video, but it’s coming. BitTorrent is what makes these files move smoothly over the Internet without creating traffic jams.

BitTorrent is used by the Internet’s leading platforms to move data, everyone from Facebook to Wikipedia to Twitter to the Human Geonome Project and the Large Hadron Collider uses BitTorrent to do so. With over 170 million users and more than 30% of all Internet traffic, BitTorrent is hugely important resource for content creators and consumers.

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.

OKP:  What is the "BitTorrent Is Not A Crime" campaign all about?

BT: It was a statement we wanted to make about our place in the world. We get blamed for things like piracy which having nothing to do with us, and which we can’t control. We decided it was time to set the record straight. The BitTorrent is Not a Crime campaign is play on the old Skateboarding is Not a Crime sticker from the 1980s. We wanted to equate BitTorrent to skateboarding because it’s a technology that parents and security guards misunderstand--but if you get it, you get that it’s rad and it can be used for all kinds of amazing stuff.

There’s a common misconception out there that BitTorrent is responsible for copyright infringement. That we are Napster 2.0. That’s not us. That’s the Pirate Bay. The more accurate analogy is that torrents are the successor to an advanced version of an MP3 file. When the MP3 was first introduced there was a period of chaos. Once the industry figured out how to use the MP3, it became valuable. And for music, it became the standard delivery format. We are seeing the same thing start to happen with torrents. Our goal is to get the word out; to start educating people about BitTorrent. For the industry this means understanding the technology is something to harness and for fans it means that we want to dispel the notion that BitTorrent is something harmful or illegal.

OKP: Tell us about new Bundle program, and any other programs you are doing to support the arts?

BT: The BitTorrent Bundle is one of the most exciting ways we’ve done with the technology. The big idea is that we’ve always tried to put content into stores on the Internet; the Bundle is about putting the store into the piece of content. It’s currently in Alpha, meaning we’re just getting started. But the mission is to build something for artists and fans alike that goes with the grain of the Internet, while still providing value to both sides.

There has been nothing like this before in history. To make it simple, think of a torrent as a container that can hold any file type, any number of files of any size and which can be distributed instantly to an audience of millions. The Bundle is a container that is designed to be shared and travel anywhere on the Internet. The twist is, the container will have a gate. As an example, say you’re releasing a new 10-track album. The BitTorrent Bundle will allow the artist to put the first 3 tracks in front of the gate for fans to have for free. This is the promotional piece, a reward for downloading the Bundle. Then behind the gate is the additional 7 tracks. To unlock the gate, an interaction takes place. That could be entering your email or it could be a pay gate, or a pay-what-you-want-gate. Or it could be a fan collaboration gate: ask 1 million fans to do a certain action and the gate will unlock. What we’ve learned is that there is a different business model for every piece of content and we don’t want to impose that business model on creators. We want them to decide for themselves and just create the tools. What we are creating with the BitTorrent Bundle is a way for an artist to build something insane. This is the new “Social Object” between artists and fans - a CD box set on steroids built for the Internet age.

OKP: How can the average person take advantage of BitTorrent's awesome technology?

BT: For straight-up fans, we encourage them to come check out the Bundles we’ve released to date at and to share them with their friends, that’s what they’re made to do. They can come follow us on our blog, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see what we’re up to week by week.

For artists, they will be able to take advantage by publishing. Every day, we hear from independent artists on the value of using BitTorrent: it’s free advertising, on a global scale. Publishing aside, we have a number of projects that push forward the BitTorrent technology: Sync is an server-less tool for unlimited file synchronization and collaboration. SoShare is a sending platform based on BitTorrent that lets you move terabytes of data. BitTorrent Live enables anyone with an Internet connection to live stream to massive audiences.

OKP: What's next for BitTorrent?

BT: It’s probably the most exciting time in the company’s history. The Bundle partners we have lined up for the next few months are going to be really exciting and creative. Watch this space. And let us know what you want to see next...

To the readers of Okayplayer: We want to hear from you guys! The future of entertainment is ours to make. Come help us build something sick.