BitTorrent 101 – Sharing Live Music

The general idea of BitTorrent is this:

  • Install the software that’s used to download and upload the files. See BitTorrent software, below.
  • Find a site that offers a community of other fans sharing live music. See Where to find torrents, below.
  • Start by downloading the small .torrent file for a show to your hard drive. (You can run into problems if you try to run the torrent just by clicking on the link – so use right-click, Save As on Windows; there’s something similar on Macs, maybe Apple-click or control-click.) This file doesn’t have music in it – it just has info about the files that will be shared once you connect to the group of other people sharing the show.
  • Open the .torrent file with special BitTorrent software, to start downloading the set of music files (audio or video). If you install the BitTorrent software, the torrent will normally start when you double click on a .torrent file.
  • The BitTorrent software will connect to a “tracker” which keeps track of the users on a torrent, and use that to connect to the group of other users are sharing the show.
  • At the same time you’re downloading pieces of the files, you’re also uploading to other users.
  • After you get 100% of the show, keep sharing until you’ve uploaded as much as you’ve download (or come back and share).
  • The files will usually be a compressed audio format, like flac; or video files you need to burn to DVD. See below for discussion.
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