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Reznor Follows Radiohead, Offers Free Album 327

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the third-time-makes-it-real dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Convinced the current music business infrastructure (requiring artists to rely on labels) is broken, Nine Inch Nails front man, Trent Reznor, released his band's new album, Ghosts I — IV (Ghosts Volumes One though Four), on Sunday at 6 PM via his official site, marking yet another business experiment for this artist in the changing music market."
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Reznor Follows Radiohead, Offers Free Album

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  • Groan. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Funkcikle (630170) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:42AM (#22623170)

    Ghosts I -- IV (Ghosts Volumes One though Four)

    Gee, thanks for clearing that up. I thought it was some new direct injection content delivery method.
    • Re:Groan. (Score:4, Funny)

      by somersault (912633) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:46AM (#22623214) Homepage Journal
      Well, it is Trent Reznor after all..?
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:42AM (#22623176) Journal
    From the site where this is hosted [nin.com]:

    This music arrived unexpectedly as the result of an experiment. The rules were as follows: 10 weeks, no clear agenda, no overthinking, everything driven by impulse. Whatever happens during that time gets released as... something.

    The team: Atticus Ross, Alan Moulder and myself with some help from Alessandro Cortini, Adrian Belew and Brian Viglione. Rob Sheridan collaborated with Artist in Residence (A+R) to create the accompanying visual and physical aesthetic.

    We began improvising and let the music decide the direction. Eyes were closed, hands played instruments and it began. Within a matter of days it became clear we were on to something, and a lot of material began appearing. What we thought could be a five song EP became much more. I invited some friends over to join in and we all enjoyed the process of collaborating on this.

    The end result is a wildly varied body of music that we're able to present to the world in ways the confines of a major record label would never have allowed - from a 100% DRM-free, high-quality download, to the most luxurious physical package we've ever created.

    More volumes of Ghosts are likely to appear in the future.

    - Trent Reznor, March 2, 2008
    For those of you that don't like the same sounding music on an album or the yelling vocals, I heavily recommend downloading this and listening to it for free. I emphasized the "wildly varied" as some of this music is very cool calm and collected easy listening with very orchestral sounding builds.

    I'm glad to see an artist as respected as Reznor do this. It kind of makes sense though, as you see this music only took him 10 weeks to do and doesn't have any vocals--lowering the number of takes and the difficulty of quality lyrics.

    With the digital age and the ability to produce easily and quickly accessible DRM free music, we may see the beginning of a whole lot more material coming from artists with either an ad-based revenue or charging for particular tracks that required more studio time and refinement.
  • To clarify (Score:5, Informative)

    by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918&gmail,com> on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:44AM (#22623188)
    To clarify, only the first 9 songs are available for free. The rest are still available a price well below what you could get anywhere legal.
  • Reciprocity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheMeuge (645043) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:44AM (#22623192)
    I can see this becoming a trend. Every headline about a band making millions in a matter of days by distributing their music online, is going to attract the attention of the other musicians. Eventually, they will catch on.

    So what do you think will happen when more prominent artists start dropping the labels, realizing that they could make more money if they don't give 95% of their revenue away? I predict that the RIAA will tighten its grip, and try to work with Clearchannel to eliminate non-RIAA affiliated artists get in mass media (radio/TV). I don't think they are going to just sit around and let their cash cows drop out one-by-one.
    • Re:Reciprocity (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gsslay (807818) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:53AM (#22623274)

      Every headline about a band making millions in a matter of days by distributing their music online, is going to attract the attention of the other musicians. Eventually, they will catch on.
      Unfortunately what works for Radiohead and NIN isn't necessarily going to work for other musicians.

      For a start, they're not going to get tons of free publicity. Plenty of musicians already release their music for free, without expecting any payment. They don't get articles in slashdot. If lots of other musicians "catch on" they'll find the whole "band releases album on net" story is long past stale, no-one cares, and hundreds, never mind millions, aren't going to be made.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Xzarakizraiia (751181)
        And why isn't there a site devoted to aggregating and promoting these albums that are getting released for free but with no publicity? I can imagine a site where you can legally, freely download music with a little "donate" button to pay the artists being wildly popular. MySpace already does this to a degree, but the social networking aspects of it (and the crappy music player) make it extremely bloated and not worth visiting.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Loke the Dog (1054294)
        Exactly, its so lame when people think of this as some kind of revolution. Unsigned bands have always been doing it like this, and it has always been an economical failure for them. And when fewer bands go through the standard music industry, less money will be there for signing deals with small bands. That, in turn, means the barrier a small band has to cross before going professional gets even larger.
      • Re:Reciprocity (Score:5, Insightful)

        by guruevi (827432) <evi@@@smokingcube...be> on Monday March 03, 2008 @11:20AM (#22623552) Homepage
        Lots of those musicians (some of which I know personally or I bought a cd of them) don't play commercially either. They go to school and/or work and in their free time they make some high quality (good) music. If you buy their CD's direct, usually they'll throw in another CD or some other merchandise for free.

        That's the way (in my opinion) music and a lot of other art should be made. In their free time while they also have a job either in or out the artistic/music business. If they are successful enough to live off the revenue generated from concerts and other stuff they make (if they're very successful) all the better for them, but at least THEY made it and you know they are good quality unlike the crap that is pushed now, some poor chap thinks he can sing and with a few hundreds of thousands in corporate backing he/she is promoted to death.

        As soon as independent music starts to catch on, the radio stations will have to follow. Who'll listen to a radio station that has only some RIAA-promoted garbage on it while there are other sources that play high(er) quality music? It'll take a time but my last CD purchase from a promoted label was in 1999 and I know quite some people that do the same so next generation might be better off than us.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by foniksonik (573572)
        This is true and not true.

        Each band will of course need to market themselves as they see fit and in line with what sort of audience they think they can get. Amazing artists won't have to try too hard (just hard enough to build a decent grassroots following) as their music will speak for itself... OTOH artists that are just another music group or yet another boy band (YABB) are going to find it difficult to stand out from the crowd and may end up needing to sign with a promotions company (a music label or to
        • Re:Reciprocity (Score:5, Insightful)

          by element-o.p. (939033) on Monday March 03, 2008 @01:54PM (#22625470) Homepage
          Have you tried it? My wife's drum instructor spent years playing clubs like mad trying to catch his big break. Eventually, he dropped out and got a day job in IT. He's easily one of the best drummers I've ever heard. My cousins are in Nashville trying to get their big break, but after a couple of years there, they have realized that for every band that gets signed, there are hundreds more of equally -- if not more -- talented bands that never end up in the right place at the right time. My brother and some of my best friends are currently playing every gig they can line up trying to promote their band. All of them are incredibly talented (in fact, I played a gig with one of them and his wife this weekend, and it went incredibly well).

          IMHO, success in the music biz is more about luck and timing than talent. There are plenty of mediocre musicians who "knew somebody" and got lucky and plenty of very, very talented artists who are still unknown. Your music may speak for itself, but unless you can get it out there where the right person hears it, you'll never be "discovered", no matter how good you are.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sm62704 (957197)
        hundreds, never mind millions, aren't going to be made.

        modded -1, inaccurate. I have friends in many bands, and all have CDs they they sell at their shows, and all give away MP3s on the internet.

        Most are making a living at it, albeit a modest one. One fellow that used to be my neighbor made so much mooney singing in bars with his band he quit his day job as a union carpenter!

        The RIAA is no longer needed to record and distribute music. I suspect that the reason this century's music mostly sucks is that the l
      • Re:Reciprocity (Score:4, Insightful)

        by routerl (976394) on Monday March 03, 2008 @11:38AM (#22623802)
        The free publicity is a function of the band/musician's pre-existing popularity. As you point out, releasing music online and for free does not generate publicity for unknown acts.

        If a lot of famous musicians catch on, every one of their online releases will generate publicity simply because every one of their offline releases generates publicity. Maybe not slashdot, but music publications will certainly make a big deal of, e.g., the new Sheryl Crow record (example chosen due to its low probability).

        The publicity problem with releasing music online is the same problem facing any online release of anything; you can only count on your work being found by people who are already looking for it. As for generating revenue, I am not yet familiar with a business model that works well, but each new experiment (i.e. first Radiohead, then Trent Reznor) leads to new alternatives and, in the spirit of science, if we keep experimenting we're bound to find something that works.
      • by evilviper (135110)

        Plenty of musicians already release their music for free, without expecting any payment.

        All the ones I've come across (after lots, and lots of looking) release either partial songs, one hit song from any album, or absolutely positively can't play worth a damn...

        And those options aren't mutually exclusive, either... The vast majority that release a couple song sound like 4 people just bought their instruments, can't come up with lyrics that aren't completely banal, can't hold a tune, and often may be making

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by element-o.p. (939033)

          and often may be making up music and/or lyrics on the spot.

          What's wrong with that? I've gotten together with other musicians just to jam, and we've come up with some really good stuff like that. When you get into a groove with other musicians, it's magical, and if you can capture it on tape (or whatever), then why not release it? There's a mood, an energy, to live music that you often just can't recreate in the studio (think "Cocaine" by Eric Clapton for a good example).

          There's this dude I know named Dennis who is a very talented, very passionate

      • Re:Reciprocity (Score:4, Interesting)

        by h4ter (717700) on Monday March 03, 2008 @12:28PM (#22624404) Homepage

        Unfortunately what works for Radiohead and NIN isn't necessarily going to work for other musicians.

        But that's the same for major label deals. They work okay-ish if you're Radiohead or NIN, but not further down the line. In fact, musicians are (as this Steve Albini essay [arancidamoeba.com] implies) better off not signing to a major label, and following this new route instead.

      • Unfortunately what works for Radiohead isn't necessarily going to work for other musicians.

        This was an often heard comment after Radiohead did it.

        You update it to:

        Unfortunately what works for Radiohead and NIN isn't necessarily going to work for other musicians.

        Next band:

        Unfortunately what works for Radiohead and NIN and Band X isn't necessarily going to work for other musicians.

        Give it a couple of years and your comment will be marked informative for being the definitive list of every musician sti

      • For a start, they're not going to get tons of free publicity. Plenty of musicians already release their music for free, without expecting any payment. They don't get articles in slashdot. If lots of other musicians "catch on" they'll find the whole "band releases album on net" story is long past stale, no-one cares, and hundreds, never mind millions, aren't going to be made.

        If enough artists release for free, services like http://www.pandora.com/ [pandora.com] and http://www.last.fm/ [www.last.fm] will be built to make use of it.

        Then you don't even have go looking to find those new artists. You'll just assemble a musical profile, and whenever some artist anywhere in the world release his music - it will get tagged and matched with your peers and slowly work its way into your personal radio channel.

        That is what the music industry is fearing, and what will indeed kill them. Very soon, artists will just pl

    • I am going to guess what you say will happen, and Internet radio will start to take off even more than it has already. Someone will need to find a way to get channels repeated over the airwaves so we can get this in our vehicles as well. I really don't care much for Trent anymore, and begun to dislike his music when Broken came out. But if he offers free albums, I'll gladly take a listen to see if he's making music I might like again and offer up some cash if I like it. If not, no loss for me or him.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        I don't think we need broadcast radio anymore. Most new cars have Audio in Jacks, or iPod specific jacks. Or you could just use the old cassette deck with those snazzy adapters. Just download the podcast of your choice, and plug into your stereo system.
        • by tepples (727027)

          I don't think we need broadcast radio anymore. Most new cars have Audio in Jacks, or iPod specific jacks. Or you could just use the old cassette deck with those snazzy adapters.
          I've been in several cars whose head unit has only an audio CD player and an AM/FM radio, and many of these don't take CD-RW. And a decade ago I've been on a school bus with an FM radio and a blanket ban on portable audio players and other electronic devices not authorized by faculty or staff.
          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            Well, if all you have is FM radio, you can still transmit from your iPod to your car stereo via the FM transmitters you can buy.
    • Re:Reciprocity (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cgenman (325138) on Monday March 03, 2008 @11:27AM (#22623644) Homepage
      You still need promotion, experience, and funding. To a fresh-faced band that is just breaking out of their home town, the prospect of someone coordinating and fronting the money for a 500k dollar video + a 40 city tour is very attractive, especially if they can get said band into rotation on MTV and Clearchannel. They're hitmakers, and everyone wants to be a hit.

      Labels will probably continue to have a place for a long, long time.

  • Community work (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:46AM (#22623210) Journal
    In one community I hang out in (one full of musicians), a bunch of them get together each week and write a song on the spot, sometimes in an hour or so. They all work individually, and judge who came up with the best music. Looks like this fellow stumbled onto the same idea.
    • by Hatta (162192)
      Probably the most amusing thing about this article is seeing Trent Reznor anonymously described as "this fellow".
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by glavenoid (636808)
      Reminds me of a story, er, legend really:

      JS Bach and one of his contemporaries made a friendly wager (of a cask of very fine wine) one night over who could create the best music in the course of an evening. Since they were familiar with each other's music, they would know if the other was cheating, thus forfeiting the prize. After several new tunes, the inspiration was running a bit thin, and as no clear winner was apparent, they decided to drink a little of the wine. The improvisation challenge re-commen

  • by Shawn is an Asshole (845769) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:47AM (#22623228)
    Radiohead didn't come up with this idea. Harvey Danger did it back in 2005 and they probably aren't the first. Here's the Slashdot article:

    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/10/02/2056210 [slashdot.org]

    Anyway, this NIN album is very good. If you're anxious for it and the NIN servers are still too slow, Amazon's MP3 service has it for $5. Amazon finally released a Linux version of the downloader, btw.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by op12 (830015)
      Also, this form of distribution isn't a first for Trent either...he released an album he produced for Saul Williams back in November [symbii.com] of last year, with the option to get it free as 192kbps MP3s, or for $5 in lossless formats or those same MP3s.
    • Not only that (Score:3, Informative)

      But this isn't even the first time Trent Reznor did this; he worked with Saul Williams on the Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust [niggytardust.com], and they gave it away for free in 192 kbps format with a $5 download for 320 or FLAC. It's a great record too, download it yourself and see! They sold over 150,000 downloads at $5 a pop and then Trent took down the freebie link and posted to his blog whining that it wasn't enough, but they recently put it back up. The Ghosts announcement is good news alongside thi
  • The summary's a bit off - I haven't read this article, but something I read earlier today said that there are several releases.
    If I remember correctly:
    1. The first part of the album (not the whole thing) is available as a free download.
    2. The whole thing is available for download for $5.
    3. A CD set is available (10-15ish?).
    4. A deluxe, signed, and limited CD set is available ($75?).

    So, yes, there is some music for free here, but it isn't the whole album, and this isn't exactly the same as Radiohead's re
    • by Galaga88 (148206) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:54AM (#22623290)
      I'm not going to check the pirate bay from work, but I seem to recall that he posted that he expects that parts II-IV will be available for download from the same bittorrent network from which you get part I. I get the feeling that he doesn't really mind, and the stuff for sale is just for people who want to support him or get tangible goods in some way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The summary's a bit off - I haven't read this article, but something I read earlier today said that there are several releases.
      If I remember correctly:
      1. The first part of the album (not the whole thing) is available as a free download.
      2. The whole thing is available for download for $5.
      3. A CD set is available (10-15ish?).

      The 2CD set is $10, but when you check out it shows the shipping price: $6.99. That's a bit high...

      4. A deluxe, signed, and limited CD set is available ($75?).

      The signed one is $300.

      http://ghosts.nin.com/main/order_options [nin.com].

  • by Bromskloss (750445) <auxiliary,address,for,privacy&gmail,com> on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:50AM (#22623262)

    Nine Inch Nails front man, Trent Reznor, released his band's new album

    You should have seen the faces of the band!

  • Hey, that's my idea! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:50AM (#22623264) Homepage Journal
    Funny that Trent should do it, he was a regular at a nightclub in Chicago over a decade ago that I was a part owner in, and used to scream about the record label monopoly even back then. Wonder if he ever remembers it...

    I've helped a few bands over the years break free from relying on the distributor monopoly by providing their easily-copied material for free, while providing hard to copy material at great cost (or higher cost). Bands should make their big money by providing the hardest to mimic items at the higher cost, and the easy to mimic items at a lower cost.

    The hardest to mimic? Playing live. This is where bands should make their money -- performing for fans. Those of us who are not musicians make our money, generally, by ongoing work. We don't get paid for previous work (often), we get paid for current and future work. Bands should be no different.

    Trent has a unique set of prices on his site: $5 for a download, $10 for a CD+download, $300 for a CD, 180gram LPs, a DVD with 36 tracks of each song (to remix), and a giclee printbook. Great idea. The multitrack DVD idea I came up with many years ago for bands to release to fans to remix. David Crowder Band is one band that did this to great acclaim (and even released a few of his fans' remixes).

    Trent is ahead of the game. I'm prebuying the $300 kit because I want to support Trent's ideas, music, and astounding insight into why the RIAA and other monopolists have no place in the new digital world. If it can be copied easily, the price should fall to near zero. If it can't be copied easily, the limited supply should dictate the price based on whatever the demand level is. Supply and demand, the most important aspect of a market economy.

    This is NO experiment for Trent, this is his step into the correct version of the current music market. He doesn't need monopolized distribution from the RIAA, he has distribution. Even small bands are doing just fine distributing their music via iTunes, and touring, touring, touring. Selling t-shirts (which can be copied, but are a hassle to do a dozen cheaply), giving away hundreds of stickers for fans' cars (cheap), selling albums (LPs, impossibly expensive to duplicate), signing posters, and other options are a great way to provide a consistent income. Touring just 8 months a year, a few bands I've consulted with are already pushing nearly $50k per year per member in profit. Yes, it is hard work. Isn't what you're doing hard work, too?
    • Funny that Trent should do it, he was a regular at a nightclub in Chicago over a decade ago that I was a part owner in, and used to scream about the record label monopoly even back then. Wonder if he ever remembers it...

      Out of curiousity, which club was that?
      • by dada21 (163177)
        We ran the Nexus at Aftermath over on Evergreen. Long gone, now, but those were the good days when Industrial was "fresh" and artists were everywhere unemployed. Wonder who has that domain name now... I can't even remember what it was. The club's first site was at mcs.net, scary.
    • by kamapuaa (555446) on Monday March 03, 2008 @11:44AM (#22623868) Homepage
      The hardest to mimic? Playing live. This is where bands should make their money -- performing for fans.

      Why? What about the Beatles? Their best music was made after they were able to stop performing live and concentrate on making albums. Dvorák didn't get up and wow the crowds with his latest number. Selling music has dominated the industry for centuries, it seems to have done a pretty good job of it.

      Anyway, concerts come out after albums for a reason - nobody would want to pay $80 to see big-time rockers in a stadium if it wasn't for the promotional powers of the RIAA labels, and their ability to manufacture successful singles. Saying the music should be free and then the concerts would be the source of revenue ignores that indie musicians often give their music away freely, often have concerts that are cheaper and more interesting than big-rock-stadium concerts, and yet don't make very much money at it. Most of their money comes from selling CDs and other merchandise at the concerts.

      It's hypocritical to bring up NIN or Radiohead. These are two bands who got big and made millions of dollars in the studio system, and now that their deals have expired, are able to cash in even more. Good for them, but more than anything this validates the studio system, it doesn't show any sort of new alternative.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Wildclaw (15718)

        Why?

        Because basing your money flow on reproducing and distributing an easily reproducable and distributable product is simply a bad idea.

        It may have worked decently in the past because the reproduction and distribution wasn't as easy and protected by a goverment monopoly that most thought was a good idea.

        However, with today's easy of distribution and reproduction even by private citizens the goverment monopoly is losing its morale stature. Every day more people begin understand how harmful the laws are and wh

  • Encryption (Score:5, Funny)

    by digitalderbs (718388) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:53AM (#22623278)
    Users couldn't figure out how to decrypt it until they figured out that the music was suppose to sound like that.

    ok, bad joke. I've got a bad case of the Mondays.
  • by Bored MPA (1202335) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:56AM (#22623314)
    Offers multiple formats, and multi packages, and a free sampler (the free one which includes 9 tracks) so he can get a better idea of what's going on and also make money (the full download is 5 dollars).

    A lot of people downloaded In Rainbows without paying because they didn't know or actually like radiohead, not just because they were free riders. Trent set the price low enough and provided enough options that he'll have a better idea of who likes his music and what they want -- people not familiar with him will sample and move on, but those that like the work will have to choose between waiting for bittorrent or paying a cheap 5$.
  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:56AM (#22623316) Homepage
    Finally, these bands are starting to figure it out. No, not the whole online distribution thing, but the how to do it well thing. I think this is the first offer I've seen like this where you can actually listen to it and sample without opting for the free download. Also, the pricing seems right. $5 for the download album is pretty respectible. However, $10 for the 2CD set makes it really tempting to get the actual CD.
  • thanks a lot slashdot.

    I've been trying to download the flac version of this album all night, and the servers are already struggling to keep up. now that the sites been slashdotted, im sure my download experience will be even better!

    actually, i'm impressed, this website succumbed to the slashtod effect 5 hours before it even made the front page. this year zero style time displacement stuff hurts my brain!
    • by Helmholtz (2715)
      That's because it's not just the slashdot effect ... the story landed on digg last night, and shortly after the order site buckled.
  • Just in case anyone hasn't noticed, this album is just an instrumental album. No lyrics... I'm happy to see the ability to listen to some of the tracks before I decide to buy, but I don't think I'll be buying this one.
  • For quite some time, I have been asserting that when fans really like the product, they want to buy it in hard form so that they can look at it, read it and hold it in their hands.

    I'm going to predict that while the "product sales" will not quite match the historical model's returns, the artists themselves will see a HUGE difference in their profits from this.

    I'm hopeful that this represents a shift back to the way things SHOULD be where the copyright holders are the artists themselves and the promotions an
  • This volume follows the shareware model, absolutely.

    I wonder if Reznor looked at the model for Doom / Quake and realized how fast it spread. I wonder if him and Carmack ever bounced the idea back and forth way back in the Quake days.

    Anyhow, good show.

  • NIN Official torrent (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bored MPA (1202335) on Monday March 03, 2008 @11:12AM (#22623472)
    He actually did torrent the free as in beer sampler (9 tracks). Please don't slashdot the site if you just want to check the sampler out.

    http://thepiratebay.org/tor/4059158/Nine_Inch_Nails_-_Ghosts_I_(2008) [thepiratebay.org]

    The full 36 tracks are 5$. And are licensed under creativecommons for non-commercial copy/share/perform.

    • by Joce640k (829181)
      He could have put that on the first page.

      But noooooooo, you have to click through a dozen pages, figure out that you need to click on "order" the get the free,/b>stuff, enter an email address, pass a captcha, go check your inbox, go back to the site again to get the download....

      So no, don't download the torrent, go to the site and slashdot it. Let's see if these morons will ever learn what "free download" means.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bored MPA (1202335)
        He didn't upload it till after he got Digged I think. Definitely should have planned for that in the first place and offered a torrent, but I suspect he was trying to collect data on who came back for the full album. i'd certainly be curious...
  • Trent Reznor already has some experience with this sort of delivery method. Saul Williams's The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! [niggytardust.com] was a semi-collaboration with Reznor.
  • by Tiger (9272)
    All I can say is... thank god for "wget -c". Their server room must be filling with smoke as I speak.
  • One of the primary complaints I had about online music sales (outside of the DRM limitations) was that they only offer a facility to sell the actual tracks; there's no way to bundle extras with the purchase (besides maybe a video, which the store also offers). The iTunes Music Store is especially guilty of this in that they are forcing the labels and artists to play by their rules. I really wish there was an online music store that not only offered DRM-free tracks, but also bundled artwork with them and off
  • I'd like to see what happens when some business minded individual (such as Trent) decides to create a corporation and offer it up for an IPO to the public.

    Basically the idea is to fund the production of each album using other people's money and then of course investors get to share it the proceeds.

    The labels do this, why not the artists? Certainly there is a lot of legal overhead and a new set of laws and fiduciary duties to the shareholders, etc etc but that's a real business for you....
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday March 03, 2008 @11:43AM (#22623848)
    Does he not realize that there are business models at stake here? Listen here, you little cockstain: you're our dancing monkey. You dance when we tell you to how we tell you to. We're not paying you peanuts, we're paying you peanut shells and you're going to yum them up, smack your lips and say "Please, sir, may I have some more!" You're going to do this or we'll fuck and chuck your sorry ass out the door and bring in some new wide-eyed innocent ten years younger and dumber than you and build them up to be the new you. You hear that, you shit, you worm, you groveling clown? You are a commodity, a consumable, something that is used up and replaced by an interchangeable part. You stand up to us and we'll pound your ass until you're shitting blood. This is our industry, our money, and you are nothing, nothing!!!

    This message brought to you by the RIAA. Go out and buy something, you mindless sheep.
  • by chainLynx (939076) on Monday March 03, 2008 @11:52AM (#22623938) Homepage
    TFSummary (and TFA) leaves out the most important part about this news: that the album is free as in freedom, not just free as in beer. It's released under a creative commons license, which means that he (or the **AA) can't go after you if you share the album online. AFAIK, this is the first high-profile album release under a CC license (I don't believe Radiohead's was under a CC license).
    • by Piata (927858) on Monday March 03, 2008 @12:16PM (#22624248)

      Someone mod this up. This is nothing like Radiohead's release. Reznor is providing high quality tracks under a non-commercial CC license in addition to a bunch of buying options. Radiohead was just dicking around, this is exactly how it should be done. Reznor himself put it on the Pirate Bay, preempting and silencing the whole piracy debate in one fell swoop.

      The man is a genius. This more than anything signifies the end of the known music industry and it's about time.

      • by Cytlid (95255) on Monday March 03, 2008 @12:26PM (#22624374)
        Yup, think about it. This changes everything. When the RIAA goes after someone, they'll have to consider what type of license the music is released under. They can't have a blanket statement, "we distribute all music so therefor any and all copying is illegal." Now, some copying(/distribution) is illegal, guess who decides what will be successful, when the consumer has a choice?
  • Direct Link (Score:3, Informative)

    by dlim (928138) on Monday March 03, 2008 @12:08PM (#22624142) Journal
    It's a little late, but here's the official site [nin.com]. I clicked the link to the article, and most of my browser window was an ad. I had to scroll down to even scan (not read) TFA. Lame.
  • can't download (Score:5, Informative)

    by lophophore (4087) on Monday March 03, 2008 @12:29PM (#22624408) Homepage
    I am a bit of a NIN fan...

    I went to the site, paid $16.99 for an immediate download of all 36 tracks and the promise of the 2-disc CD set mailed to me in April. The download site is totally swamped. I tried to download the music, my downloads would just die before I even got a few percent of the archive. I tried again, then again, and now it hates me: "download limit exceeded." Hopefully, they'll get their shit together, unblock my access, and I'll be able to get the music I paid for.

    The moral of this story is: "You might want to wait a couple days before trying to download."
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ZenHarbinger (541888)
      Everyone is hitting the servers, here's an update from the NIN fan news site [theninhotline.net].

      If you've used up your three downloads, contact support@help.nin.com, although you'll likely get this response: Dear Customer,

      Due to overwhelming response, you probably have experienced technical difficulties purchasing or downloading your copy of Ghosts I-IV. We are currently working diligently to address these issues, and will do everything in our power in ensure that your download will be successfully completed. If you have hit

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by babbling (952366)
      From http://nin.com/ [nin.com] :

      Update: The response to this album has been overwhelming, causing our
      website to slow to a crawl. We THOUGHT we were ready, but...
      We've been adding more servers to accommodate the unexpected demand and we expect to be running smoothly in the next few hours. In the meantime, if you've had any problems with downloads from the Ghosts site, don't worry - you'll be able to use your download link again when the site is more stable. Thanks everyone for making this such an
      immediate success.
  • I've tried downloading this several times and the server keeps giving up before the download completes. So far, I have some wallpaper. Can everyone else please stop trying to download so I can finish this, then I'll let you all know when I'm done so you can resume? Thanks!
  • by mrscorpio (265337) <twoheadedboy@NoSpaM.stonepool.com> on Monday March 03, 2008 @03:05PM (#22626454)
    The problem with the music industry is cost and profit margin expectation. Unlike professional sports, in music there are "amateurs" that put out a product every bit as good or better than that of the major labels. There will always be a handful of performers that transcend the rest from each generation and become rich, and that won't change, but for everybody else...record your album for $10,000 (or less) instead of $100,000 (or more), stay in cheaper hotels when you tour (or maybe a bus is cheaper, I don't know). Make sure your first contract is good, which might mean you don't get quite the signing bonus or promotional weight you might expect, but carries less risk for financial ruin if you don't make it.

    Money and rewarding experiences are still out there for musicians to obtain. But the days of easy money by signing a deal and selling 2 million CD's are over. You're going to have to work harder, operate more efficiently, and be better, with a more innovative business model. In other words, the music industry has caught up with the rest of the business world.
  • Not since Pretty Hate Machine have I been so enthusiastic with Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails. I find his latest release an interesting, meandering, sometimes beautiful and occassionally grooving body of work. It's made me a fan again.

    However...

    there are two significant problems I see with this (and Radiohead's In Rainbows) otherwise brilliant execution of the freemium business model:

    1. Radiohead's internet release of "In Rainbows" could've been a lot more lucrative for the band if their servers dolled out the files and accepted all the payments instead of quickly crawling into fetal position. The reality is many eager fans tried to pay Radiohead for their music (and symbolically give the bloated corpse of the traditional music market a bootheel in the ribs) but couldn't, because the website was felled by the massive demand. We're seeing the same tragic error perpetuated again with Ghost's, as fans attempt to pay via Paypal or some other mechanism and are rejected as if by the house of Mutombo. Whatever the cash intake for Ghosts ends up being (and I'm sure they will be amazing), it could've and should've been much more.

    2. Ghosts(I) is good, but it's not great, and it's too short. More promising tracks reveal themselves when you listen to all four volumes (there are 36 tracks in all), but many people won't be able to make payment and download the complete Ghosts I-IV from the official website until tommorrow at the earliest. And if people forecast how good II through IV is based on what they heard on Ghosts I, they may not think it's worth downloading at all. My suggestion is arrange more listener-accessible tracks in volume one, and the more esoteric stuff as the premier content hardcore fans would pay for anyway.

    Don't get me wrong. I think Trent scored bigtime with this internet launch/release, but I see these relatively easy problems throttling the possible revenue stream.

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