I've been thinking about this for a long time and just never gotten around to posting it, so here goes.
So, a few months ago, I was looking on Lukas's LivePhish (not the official site, but a message board) that one of the recent shows was at bt.etree.org. I looked at this site and was amazed. People were posting all sorts of show from jam bands (and some others) up on the Internet. I always knew there was a trading community in the area of concert taping, but didn't really realize it had moved to the Internet as much as it had. Especially with high quality recordings being so huge, I would think it would be very hard to move the data around. This is the first piece where BitTorrent comes in.
BitTorrent allows a person to upload the data to a couple of users. As the peers get the data, they then are able to upload data to other users. It basically begins to weave a web of peer to peer data that can quickly disperse the load on one person's Internet connection to many people. This can expand quickly and have lots of people able to get the data quickly. This makes sending out shows much easier for the initial taper of the show.
So, why would I call this the ultimate hippie application? Well, it's based on the same principles a lot of hippies tend to follow. It's all about sharing and helping out. People are getting something from the one taper, but then are trying to help out everyone else by allowing people to download pieces from them. You could almost call it digital karma. You help people out and the next time around, if they get to the show before you, they will help you out. It all comes back in the end. I know this from experience, I actually had a show that I had yet to finish downloading and a quick message to the board and someone opened up a window and I was able to finish downloading the show. In turn, I always leave windows open after I finish downloading so others can continue to get good music from me.
Some of the site I like to visit on a normal basis are Sharing The Groove Message Board, bt.etree.org and recently Live Music Archive at the Internet Archive. If you are a fan of live music, these are definitely some places you should check out and as one of the sites is named, Share the Groove!