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NIN's Music Experiment Sells Big Numbers 452

Posted by Zonk
from the take-that-publishers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It looks like Trent Reznor's new Nine Inch Nails album experiment is a success. Among the various options he gave fans, the most expensive was the $300 Limited Edition Ultra Deluxe Package. It took just over a day for that package to completely sell out, earning Reznor $750,000 in revenue from just that option alone."
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NIN's Music Experiment Sells Big Numbers

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  • Awesome! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dancingmad (128588) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:12AM (#22647222)
    As big name artists like NIN and Radiohead pave they way, I fervently hope and pray we are seeing the end of the RIAA.

    I haven't bought an American CD in years because of how the RIAA strong armed colleges and effectively shut down web radio.

    This system is far fairer to the artists as well; they get a far bigger piece of the pie. There will be fallout for artists I am sure, but I think it will lead to a far richer music industry in the U.S.

    In short, I am just really happy that a few bands are beginning to pave the way to a world without an RIAA.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I would like to think positively in that regard. I do fear that success of this sort will only lead to backlash and a more intense milking of the failing biz plan that they are clinging to like the parasites they are. Ever scorch a set-in tick? They bite harder.
      • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pipatron (966506) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:37AM (#22647328) Homepage

        success of this sort will only lead to backlash and a more intense milking of the failing biz plan that they are clinging to

        Which will lead to even less CD sales, more public outcry, and even more artists doing the same thing as NIN. Eventually, RIAA won't have any funds left to abuse us with, either by the member companies leaving, or the member companies bleeding dry.

        • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Xest (935314) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @07:50AM (#22647812)
          I like the sentiment of your post, I really do.

          But whilst people keep buying products from the likes of Sony et al. such as the PS3, DVDs and so forth then the RIAA isn't going to go away anytime soon by way of financial drought.

          Unfortunately the RIAA isn't some isolated entity that can be vanquished, it's made up of a lot of major multi-nationals with massive amounts of resources that can be pooled from other business areas if need be.

          The best bet for destroying the RIAA is to ensure the current companies that make up the RIAA don't have control of the next generation of music distribution and that the companies involve in the next generation of music distribution aren't equally as evil as the current generation. Ideally we need to see companies like Sony pull out of their music business altogether in the long term, although that's a tall order and with the massive amount of resources and the massive footing these companies have in the music industry I'd be surprised if we can get them to withdraw altogether.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Unfortunately the RIAA isn't some isolated entity that can be vanquished, it's made up of a lot of major multi-nationals with massive amounts of resources that can be pooled from other business areas if need be.

            I can't see a (rational) manager of a multinational business taking money from a profitable area of business to piss it away on what is obviously a failed business model - I foresee the big labels shutting down, or at least not producing new content unless it's by established 'artists' in whom they

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by pipatron (966506)
              Unfortunately it's probably not that easy. Let's continue with Sony as an example. You could argue that they want to keep the media division in order to have content to play on their locked-in hardware like MiniDisc and Blu-ray. Thus, even if they actually lose money on it, it's still important for them in a marketing sense.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by MindStalker (22827)
                Sony is making tons of money off the licensing from blue-ray, Sony brand movies are few and far between. One could definately forsee in the near future Sony licensing some type of music version of blue-ray (where the disc are smaller and cheaper because even the FLAC versions of your songs probably won't need 40GB) that will play in blue-ray players as well as other high end equipment. Shrugs, maybe maybe not.
      • Re:Awesome! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ronocdh (906309) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @07:41AM (#22647754)

        Ever scorch a set-in tick? They bite harder.
        First off, you shouldn't be burning ticks out. Removing with tweezers runs the risk of breaking the tick and thus raises the odds of contracting Lyme disease (among other things, so this method is often used in conjugation with topical antibiotics on hand). A much safer, more reasonable method is to cover the entire area around the tick with petroleum jelly, thereby suffocating the tick.

        I bring this up because Trent et al. aren't burning their ticks out, they're suffocating them. They just smear on the Vaseline and forget all about it, going about their business while the tick tries to scramble through the mysterious ooze to get air.

        And raking in astounding profit while they're at it, I feel compelled to add.
    • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AGMW (594303) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @07:04AM (#22647636) Homepage
      In short, I am just really happy that a few bands are beginning to pave the way to a world without an RIAA.

      It's happening all over - about 18 months ago a new music site called Sellaband [sellaband.com] opened its doors to unsigned Artists around the world. The object is to pre-sell copies of your next album at $10 (US) a piece. Once you hit $50000 you are put into a top studio with top producers and for each $10 Part a Believer purchases they get one copy of the 5000 Limited Edition versions of the album. Regular editions are also made available for the Artist to sell at gigs etc, and now Amazon.co.uk [amazon.co.uk] have signed up to sell them, and even pre-order 100 copies by buying 100 Parts once each Artist reaches $30000.

      The Believers then get a share of the advertising revenues, and sales of the regular CD, plus anything they can make on selling any spare Limited Edition CDs, the Artist gets a third, Sellaband [sellaband.com] gets a third and the 5000 Believers share the last third. It's not going to make you a millionaire but its sort of fun!

      So far there are over 6000 Artists registered, with 17 having made the $50000, last night Kaitee Page became the latest, and 7 of them now have their albums available from the Sellaband shop [sellaband.com] where you can purchase the CDs or download the tracks - the first three tracks are free and the others are all on 50c (US) each

      • Re:Awesome! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by somersault (912633) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @07:48AM (#22647796) Homepage Journal
        Personally, I wouldn't pre-pay $10 for something I've never heard. I'd rather that a band recorded at a cheap-ish record studio and got a few songs recorded. If they then have something worth listening to then I would gladly pre-pay the $10, though I still think $30000 just to record an album is a bit much. I've preferred the recordings we made at £14 an hour to the time we spent £750 for a couple of days of recording and mixing - though the guy at that place obviously just sucked at mixing, it was far too bass heavy so that didn't help my opinion of fancy equipment and recording rates..
        • Re:Awesome! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @10:02AM (#22648650) Journal
          Personally, I wouldn't pre-pay $10 for something I've never heard

          Me either; but then again I work for a living, like you probably do. Ten bucks is a half case of beer, or a CD (or two) from a local band, or a DVD. I guess it's hard to understand the value of something you have in limitless supply, even if it's something everyone is short of. I think those commercials for Donald Trump's "how to get rich" book are hilarious. WTF does someone born into wealth know about GETTING rich?

          I still think $30000 just to record an album is a bit much

          I'm afraid the fellow's not going to get much business. Guys I know are recording in professional studios, and even with cover art, commercial duplication, etc it's only costing them a few thousand. Thirty grand is insanely high. Three grand would garner business, thirty is insane.
      • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Informative)

        by zotz (3951) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @08:27AM (#22647976) Homepage Journal
        We are looking for ways to earn some money from our music now. I just re-looked at Sellaband yesterday. The thing is, from what I can tell, we can't do business with them as we want our work to be licensed CC BY-SA and they do not offer us that option. I will probably be contacting them directly to make sure though. Magnatune seems to suffer from the same problem. Jamendo looks like they may work for us.

        all the best,

        drew
        • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @10:45AM (#22649208) Homepage

          I'm fairly sure the reason Magnatune et al. only offer the CC "no commercial use" license is that they derive a significant portion of their revenue from their 50% cut of any commercial licensing fees. BY-SA licensing would offer them very little as no one would need to pay extra for commercial licenses.

  • I guess people still do value high-quality (as in encoded) music.

    Sure hope they didn't artificially compress the range and fk it up.
    • Re:BLU (Score:5, Insightful)

      by splutty (43475) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:15AM (#22647240)
      Obviously you've never heard Nine Inch Nails live, or on CD for that matter. Trent doesn't need to artificially 'noise himself', really. He does that well enough on his own (with the help of his ever changing band, of course)

      I'd say go and download his music, and you'll see what I mean.
      • by Trogre (513942)
        I haven't heard him for a while, but does he still sound like he needs a cocoa and a blankie?

  • by Bryan Ischo (893) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:16AM (#22647244) Homepage
    That is good news for artists who want to publish their own music. Clearly such a business model can be successful for the artist.

    However, is this success likely to be duplicated? Is it just because this concept is so novel that so many people were willing to pay so much for the special edition? Would that many people line up to buy the special edition of his next album? Are other artists as likely to experience this success once such things become more mainstream and less unique?

    Part of the criteria that people use in deciding the value of something is how rare and unusual it is, and since this is one of the first such instances of an artist-produced album, I wonder if the profits that Trent Reznor has enjoyed here will be sustainable for other artists.

    Consider: all of the people who paid $300 for his special edition release, probably listen to many other artists as well. Would they spend $300, or anything close to it, for special edition releases of albums from all the other artists they like? Probably not; most almost certainly couldn't afford to pay $300 x N artists x M albums; Trent was savvy enough to do it first, so he gets to enjoy what is likely an unsustainable pricing model.

    I'm not trying to belittle his accomplishment, which is awesome (although I personally wouldn't know a Trent Reznor song from a Barry Manilow song, I'm glad that someone is pushing the boundaries for music distribution and trying to fix the music publishing system), I'm just trying to point out that anyone who thinks that all artists can be this successful, need to realize that this is unlikely to be duplicated, based on purely economic considerations.
    • by Orlando (12257) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:24AM (#22647272) Homepage
      although I personally wouldn't know a Trent Reznor song from a Barry Manilow song

      I guarentee that if I played you one of each you would know the difference :)

    • by MaineCoon (12585) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:27AM (#22647294) Homepage
      The other prices are astounding:

      Free download of 9 songs, with 40-page PDF.
      $5 for a one-time-download in one of 3 DRM-free formats, including PDF and many digital extras (wallpapers, etc)
      $10 for songs on 2 CDs, PLUS the download
      $75 for songs on CDs, plus DVD with all tracks in all digital formats, plus BluRay disc with HD audio and slideshow, plus download

      The $5/$10 price points set new precedents... especially considering this is 36 tracks. That's far cheaper than iTunes or normal CDs.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kethinov (636034)
        What I don't understand is why he didn't offer the whole thing on bit torrent as opposed to 1/4 of it. The whole album is licensed under creative commons, so all the piratebay torrents are totally legal. Why isn't he running his own tracker with a few ads here and there to make a few extra bucks off the freeloaders instead of letting piratebay get the ad revenue?

        It's not that he needs the money, but it would set a better example than the admittedly spectacular one he's already setting. Speaking of setting e
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ePhil_One (634771)
          What I don't understand is why he didn't offer the whole thing on bit torrent as opposed to 1/4 of it. The whole album is licensed under creative commons, so all the piratebay torrents are totally legal. Why isn't he running his own tracker with a few ads here and there to make a few extra bucks off the freeloaders instead of letting piratebay get the ad revenue?

          Because he'd rather endorse the $5 version of it than the "free" version? How many ad impressions (for other artists, mortgage companies, or oth

      • by stephend (1735) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @07:27AM (#22647708) Homepage
        Yet, as The Register notes, despite the low price "Pirate Bay has eight thousand concurrent downloads at time of writing [theregister.co.uk]." Even if you ignore the RIAA-style maths in calculating lost earnings it's not a good sign that people are not prepared to pay even $5 for 4 CDs worth of music in a DRM-free format.
        • by LRayZor (872596) * on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @07:49AM (#22647800)
          Well as someone who paid the $5, but had the download fail every time after about the first 100 or so kilobytes, the torrent seemed to be the best way to solve the problem.
        • by JasonEngel (757582) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @08:29AM (#22647988)
          I wonder: how many of those 8k concurrent connections are from people who paid the money but couldn't download their digital purchase from NIN.com because of how incapable the servers were of handling the demand? I for one bought the $10+$6.99S&H CD set, then spent the next 6 hours repeatedly trying and failing to download the Apple Lossless files for which I paid. Once those files appeared on The Pirate Bay, I jumped on that torrent and downloaded from there in a matter of minutes. I'm messing with the statistics by doing that, and I would argue that many other people did likewise.
        • by Dire Bonobo (812883) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @10:06AM (#22648722)

          it's not a good sign that people are not prepared to pay even $5 for 4 CDs worth of music in a DRM-free format.

          Why? There's a lot of music I wouldn't pay $5 for; most of that I wouldn't bother downloading even if it was free.

          Most.

          There does indeed exist some music that I wouldn't pay $5 to get access to, but that I'm sufficiently interested in to give a listen to. Having acquired that music, I'd get a chance to listen to it, and decide whether (a) I wanted to buy it, and (b) whether I was interested in acquiring or buying other music from the same artist(s).

          $5 is cheap, but not cheap enough to remove all music from the "I'll need to try before buying" category.

          Do I think that's what all of those 8,000 concurrent downloads are? Of course not. I do think, though, that the vast majority of those downloads never would have been sales in the first place, and that the number would not be drastically lower even if the official download was free. At a guess, Pirate Bay is simply the default content provider for some people, and it never even occurs to them to look for an "official" provider, regardless of price.

          That, and some people are hoarders; I'll bet a fair chunk of those Pirate Bay downloads never get listened to.
      • by Jugalator (259273)
        I agree, I guess these are the prices we will start to see when the middle men are being cut.

        It really gives you an idea of how much revenue is lost before it finally trickles down to the hands of the artist!
    • by pipatron (966506) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:33AM (#22647314) Homepage

      Consider: all of the people who paid $300 for his special edition release, probably listen to many other artists as well. Would they spend $300, or anything close to it, for special edition releases of albums from all the other artists they like?

      No, but all of those that didn't spend $300, but only bought the cheap $5 version, are also listening to a lot of other bands, and would probably buy the $300 collectors edition from some other artist that they love. As you say, people don't have the money to spend $300 on every artist they want to hear, no matter what RIAA claims. Most people do want to spend some amount of money on culture though, and things like this shows that they will do that, even if they can get the content for free by other means.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RSA7474 (1163263)
      His success is highly supported by the fan base he already had, which was in turn partly because of his prior label and manager.

      The internet makes it easier for people to find music, but still not at the scale radio play will get them. If an artist signs onto a big label such as Universal, and the label buys them radio time, they will become popular.

      To get to my point, this model may be innovative and inspiring, but it isn't going to work for Joe band that records in their basement and tries to market thei
      • by badpauly (1158327) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {yluapdab}> on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @06:04AM (#22647428)
        The fan-base may be due to the label, but the 'anti-label' mentality that Trent/NIN has is also due to the label. TR/NIN has been pushed by the labels, as most bands have, for his entire career. His second release almost never made it, with the label blocking all attempts at recording, and resulted in him recording in secret, at his expense, in order to complete. That release won him a Grammy. His label attempted to block him appearing on an EP, resulting in the releasing artist distorting his vocals and claiming it was someone else. These are just two of many instances where the label tried to block the artist, while complaining the artist doesn't do enough for them. And they then wonder why the bands fight back? TR/NIN now have almost everything they have released available for free download, are now releasing music in a non-traditional manner, and making a damn good show of it. A few more releases from a few more bands like this, and we will hopefully see the death of the old-school mentality in record labels, and a shift towards a fairer industry that will benefit all parties - and not just the suits on the top-floors of the labels.
        • by Coryoth (254751) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @09:24AM (#22648296) Homepage Journal
          I think that raises another point about Ghosts that has been largely missed: this isn't an otherwise terribly marketable album, at least not from a label perspective. It's 36 varied purely instrumental tracks with no catchy singles, no hooks, and nothing ideal for radio play. If Trent had handed this to a major label they would probably have just quietly buried it. Yes, there are niche labels for this kind of material out there (Warp being the most prominent that comes to mind), but they don't exactly have major marketing budgets. I suspect Ghosts will get far more listeners who weren't already fans going this route.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by rjcarr (1002407)
      I liked your comment but you're making a bad assumption:

      "Would they spend $300, or anything close to it, for special edition releases of albums from all the other artists they like?"

      Sure, many people listen to dozens if not hundreds of different artists, but when asked, they'd say they only have 1 or 2 or a few favorites. It seems NIN are favorites to 750,000 / 300 fans, but there might be just as many Barry Manilow fans willing to pay just as much and sell just as many copies.

      The intersection of this fan
    • by Stuart Gibson (544632) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @06:01AM (#22647420) Homepage
      I think that those of us who paid $300+ dollars ($383 to get it to the UK and I expect I'll have import duty to pay on top of that) are the die hard NIN fans. There are maybe two or three other bands that I'd drop that kind of cash on for a single release and I don't think it has anything to do with the business model. NIN are a band that have a lot of very rabid fans and then a lot of others who like their stuff and will happily pay for the $5 or $10 package. Then there are those who will spend the $5 just an a screw you to the RIAA and to show support for the model.

      All cult music acts could produce something in this price range and the hardcore will buy it, but I suspect that 2500 was the right number to produce for this. I'm sure they could have sold 5000 copies, but at that point you're probably pushing the market limit of people willing to spend $300 on one album.
    • by EdIII (1114411) * on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @06:24AM (#22647498)

      I'm just trying to point out that anyone who thinks that all artists can be this successful, need to realize that this is unlikely to be duplicated, based on purely economic considerations.
      There are few things I think you should consider. First FTA:

      Each Limited Edition is numbered and personally signed by Trent Reznor. Strictly Limited to 2500 pieces. Limit one per customer.
      You question whether this is a sustainable business model for the rest of the artists, since you postulate that this is a one time reaction to a novel idea.

      I would ask this question instead. Is it reasonable to assume that there are 2,500 "hardcore" Nine Inch Nails fans?

      The answer, IMO, is yes. I am just like you, and I am not a Nine Inch Nails fan to the point that I can identify their songs on the radio. However, I do know there are plenty of people that love their music. I would be surprised if 5,000 people did not buy the limited edition.

      Now I am a big fan of some other bands. Their names are not important. What is important, is that I would consider spending $75 or even $300 on a limited edition album they produce. Especially, since I know that it is direct to the artist, no godless fucking burn-in-the-fiery-pits-of-hell middleman media exec scum (insert more rage against the big media machine here). I would not do it for many, that is sure, but people like me are the reason why I say the limited edition price point will be sustainable. It is just statistics. If a band is popular enough, they will have a small percentage of people willing to pay the higher price points for whatever reason you want to postulate as to why.

      So I believe that you are wrong in your assessment that this is unlikely to be repeated. I think that you are correct, in that most fans listen to many artists and have only so much money to spend, and that there are economic considerations here. However, we have not heard what the numbers are for the 5$ and 10$ price points yet. It may turn out to be that it is entirely possible for popular artists to sell competitive price points with iTunes, Amazon, etc. and yet also sell a few thousand die hard fans the much higher price points.

      Trent Reznor is also not the first to offer it for free either. Rainbow Whatamacallit band (no offense, i just have no idea which band did it) did something like that awhile ago too. Trent is just adding some price points to it that people can choose right off the bat with different levels of the product being available. Whether or not the next artist is the 2nd to do this, or the 22nd will probably not affect the people that will buy it just to make a statement against DRM either. Point in fact, I am ONE OF THEM.

      I can also see a huge appeal to bypass Big Entertainment, and deal with Artists directly. To say that the RIAA and the MPAA (MAFIAA) have done a lot of damage with public relations, is a whopper of an understatement. There is a backlash against them right now and the whole paradigm they shove down our throats that we "don't own our music" and cannot do what we want with it. So there may be a huge number of people, that although not paying for music now, will rush to the Internet to support the "cause" and their favorite Artists. Combine those people, with the people that make up the sales on Amazon and iTunes alone, and that represents a huge amount of potential business.

      Your question is certainly insightful, however I think you are wrong in your assessment.
    • by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @06:28AM (#22647516)

      Are other artists as likely to experience this success once such things become more mainstream and less unique?

      Part of the criteria that people use in deciding the value of something is how rare and unusual it is, and since this is one of the first such instances of an artist-produced album, I wonder if the profits that Trent Reznor has enjoyed here will be sustainable for other artists.

      Of course other artists won't be as successful. Of course these types of profits aren't sustainable. Is that a bad thing?

      These guys are entertainers, and yet a lot of people seem to think that they automatically deserve to be multi-millionaires. That's insane. They don't build houses for people to live in. They don't grow food for people to eat. They don't advance our understanding of the world. They are modern day jesters, a distraction when you have nothing better to do.

      I like music as much as the next person, but please let us have some perspective here. If musicians don't make a lot of money, that's absolutely fine. A million bucks is something a musician should work a lifetime to achieve, not something they can pick up from a year's work with one album. And it's sure as hell not society's job to subsidise them with copyrights until they are filthy rich.

    • by jrumney (197329)

      It will be difficult to sustain sales of special editions of whole albums at this pricing, but there will probably be a sustainable market for single songs at equivalent pricing levels. Perhaps even a market for selling individual tracks separately for remixxing.

      When NIN released this, I thought it would be a great development for bedroom DJs and aspiring producers who live in small towns, too far removed from the music scene in-crowd to get access to this sort of thing normally. I'm disappointed that it h

    • by jimicus (737525)
      Consider: all of the people who paid $300 for his special edition release, probably listen to many other artists as well. Would they spend $300, or anything close to it, for special edition releases of albums from all the other artists they like? Probably not; most almost certainly couldn't afford to pay $300 x N artists x M albums; Trent was savvy enough to do it first, so he gets to enjoy what is likely an unsustainable pricing model.

      Probably not. By definition, the special edition is only really going t
    • by SailorSpork (1080153) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @07:50AM (#22647808) Homepage

      Would they spend $300, or anything close to it, for special edition releases of albums from all the other artists they like? Probably not
      No, maybe not them, but maybe 750 of the biggest fans of that other band that didn't like NIN would. In fact, maybe some of the NIN 750 would too, you'd be surprised.

      The point is, with all these different pricing schemes, NIN is doing what marketers would call segmenting the market to attain better pricing discrimination [wikipedia.org], getting the most out of consumers by getting them to pay more for the album if they value it more. Bigger fans will pay more, while most people are more price sensitive, etc. This means that NIN is getting more money overall than if they had released the album at just $10.

      While doing something like this at a retail store is very hard logistically because brick-and-mortar store would need to keep multiple SKU's in stock for each item (and the rare few $750 fans would be few and far between, so the package might sit for a very long time before being discounted or sent back), in a central online retail store this is a lot more practical. Not only is NIN cutting out the RIAA middleman, they're also cutting out the retail middleman, while setting up different price points so that they get the most value out of each customer. Clever, Trent.
  • by gazbo (517111) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:17AM (#22647246)
    In order to make huge amounts of money, artists should charge huge amounts for their music.
    • by raehl (609729) <raehl311 AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:33AM (#22647312) Homepage
      *ESTABLISHED* artists should charge large amounts for their music.

      The problem with all these experiments is they involve artists who at some point had the backing of a record company.

      We've yet to see any artist make big bucks without, at some point, the benefit of the record company marketing machine.
      • by FatMullet (1086469) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:59AM (#22647416)
        I think the Arctic Monkeys fit the description of unknown band coming to prominence via the internet


        ahref=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_monkeysrel=url2html-10233 [slashdot.org]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_monkeys>

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          who?
      • by owlnation (858981)

        We've yet to see any artist make big bucks without, at some point, the benefit of the record company marketing machine.

        Yes. This is still the glaring hole in the plan. It's true for indie filmmakers too -- and actually, any individual creative enterprise on the web, blogs even.

        Marketing needs to break free from the dinosaurs. I'm not sure that anyone in advertising or marketing has really, truly understood the Internet yet. They all seem to be thinking in old media models. It's curious that some young

        • by chthon (580889)

          My brother has a band, and is able to make himself known via YouTube. I am sure that if he plays it smart he can sell his music for additional income.

          I think it is much easier now, with something like YouTube, to become known. Exploiting this fact will still take some work, to organise and play performances. But at least, with this way of working, you already know that there are people who like your music and you can choose the spots to perform with a higher rate of success upfront.

  • by zappepcs (820751) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:19AM (#22647250) Journal
    At least the ones in California. I'm absolutely certain that several doctors will be getting emergency visits in the coming days from **AA executives.

    The smile on Trent's face should be worth a few pictures. ZOMG!! if you give consumers a choice and don't try to screw them over, they really do pay for stuff... WTF?

    This was an experiment for Trent, but it cost the **AA more than he could have ever imagined. Yes, I did say **AA. Believe me when I say they are watching what happens to the RIAA with great interest.

    Now, all of the **AA pretty much has to admit they got it wrong. They won't admit it of course, but you know how that conversation is going to go in the board room. 'I told you so' is the magic phrase that attracts flying chairs... or something like that
    • by snl2587 (1177409) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:35AM (#22647324)

      This was an experiment for Trent, but it cost the **AA more than he could have ever imagined. Yes, I did say **AA. Believe me when I say they are watching what happens to the RIAA with great interest.

      And the real kicker? This was also experimental music. Imagine the profit margin if he had used his normal material.

    • That limited editions sell? That is NOTHING NEW. They ALWAYS SOLD, which is why you can't move for special editions. The RIAA KNOWS that limited box sets sell, all this does is confirm it.

      The limited box set being available for 300 dollars is NOT the news item, neither is him making lots of money by selling directly to the consumer, the RIAA knows this as well. They KNOW you make the most money if you are the one doingthe selling, that is why they want to continue doing the selling.

      The new bit was the rat

  • What a shock (Score:5, Interesting)

    by damburger (981828) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:24AM (#22647270)
    When people are given choices, they are often through their own free will kind to other human beings. There is no need for guns pointing at peoples heads to make us play nice and share - we will do it naturally if left alone.
    • Re:What a shock (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pipatron (966506) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:48AM (#22647392) Homepage

      This is a very interesting point, especially if you take into consideration that the people who don't play nice in this setting, won't disrupt the nice people's experience, and thus there's no need for any punishment or law against it.

      In the real world were the people who don't believe in imaginary property lives, anyone that doesn't play nice can cause a lot of harm to us that do, so sometimes we need to write laws preventing people from harming others.

  • I believe in a future without a need for labels. I believe that ever developing distribution channels will make it possible for all artists to sell their own works directly. I believe in a future without DRM. Will you believe? If enough will we'll end up with a self fulfilling prophecy on our hands...
  • This is great (Score:3, Informative)

    by spandex_panda (1168381) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:29AM (#22647300)
    I guess we all noticed that NiN have an official http://thepiratebay.org/tor/4059158/Nine_Inch_Nails_-_Ghosts_I_(2008)/ [thepiratebay.org] account, on which they host the free part I of the new album, in there they admit that

    Undoubtedly you'll be able to find the complete collection on the same torrent network you found this file

    This is the new wave of music and I am very soon going to order their $10 hard copy! The people who use this modern kind distribution need to be encouraged! Let us all at least pay $5 to support them, you know encourage more folks to use this kind of business model and embrace the future.

    • This is the new wave of music and I am very soon going to order their $10 hard copy!

      I did, even though it was actually $23 or $24 with shipping (to Sweden) and even though I never listen to the actual audio CDs (just rip from them).

      I figured it'd be nice to have on the shelf anyways, and I felt like giving more than the $5. Don't know how much of the CD that is profit, but I hope there is some, at least.

      Not even that great a NiN fan, though I like it well enough. But I felt this needed to be supported! I gu

  • The artist's choice:

    Option 1) A tiny percentage of your publisher's profits for life - if you live long enough for their 'costs' to be recouped.

    Option 2) 100% of your self-publishing profit this year, maybe next.

    Not only is the share of profits better, the costs are better (despite smaller sales). The costs in option 1 are colossal, whereas in 2 they are miniscule, especially given unconstrained promotion and reproduction to (hopefully virally) foster a far bigger market next year and a consequently bigger
  • by Rufus211 (221883) <rufus-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @05:42AM (#22647366) Homepage
    I think this shows the future of where, IMHO, the music industry, or at least individual artists, should be going: convenience and patronage. People are realizing that the inherent value of a CD, and especially of a downloaded mp3, is pretty close to $0. The main reason to spend money on an inherently worthless mp3 is for convenience: $1 and 1 minute to itunes, or $0 and searching the pirate bay / mucking with bittorrent. The other reason is because you genuinely like the music and want to support the band, so give them money for the sake of giving them money.

    This NIN experiment shows it clearly: there's $0 of inherent value in the songs themselves, as they are CC licensed and can legally be copied. For the convenience factor $5 or $10 gets you the mp3s or 4 CDs - pretty hard to beat (ignoring NIN's site being hammered the last few days). The $75 set is clearly patronage; you get the shiny book and some extra CDs with it, but you're really spending the money because you want to give NiN the money. The $300 level is an odd one, as it's a combination of patronage and market speculation for resale.
  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @06:09AM (#22647456)
    I don't buy modern music, but just because I don't hear it. However, I do hope that musicians finally manage to remove the middle man and start distributing their own music and receiving the full payment.

    The main reason of this hope is not for my love for musicians but for the effect this can have in every other business based in mass distribution of copies of a data item.

    Photography, novels, software, all may find ways of receiving direct payment from the consumer.
  • by Aaron Isotton (958761) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @06:22AM (#22647492)
    I really hope that this trend continues. I'd love to see something like this:

    An online music store with all kinds of music (like the iTunes store), but:

    - No DRM *at all*.
    - Previews as MP3. Say, the first 30 secs of every track. The first 50% would be better. Should be "kind of good quality", say >= 128kbit.
    - All tracks in at least the following formats:
        - MP3 "good quality", say >= 256 kbit
        - Lossless in a free, open format. Flac in other words.
    - The ability to use the store from the web.
    - The ability to put multiple tracks in a "cart" and download the whole cart as a zip would be a big plus.
    - An open API for different clients would be a huge plus.
    - And, last but not least, the ability to have some sort of "account" and to re-download tracks I already purchased, whenever, wherever and how many times I want to.

    It would be ok if the tracks are somehow watermarked, i.e. if they can tell from a file which user downloaded a track and block his or her account if they are redistributing the tracks.

    I would also appreciate formats "better than CD", e.g. Flac tracks in DVD Audio quality (24 bit, 96 kHz if I'm not mistaken). I'd also appreciate album covers and similar stuff.

    I am prepared to pay for a quality product I can use for years to come. I am not prepared to pay for some badly encoded track I can use on few specific players, and I do *not* want to re-buy everything if I switch players/want higher quality etc.

    Just had to say that.
    • I consider thepiratebay the preview site and full length mp3s the previews.

      It's just that noone has been supplying me with the full FLAC quality for a reasonable price, until now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by spinkham (56603)
      It's called magnatune.
      http://www.magnatune.com/ [magnatune.com]

      All popular formats are available: MP3, WAV, OGG, FLAC and AAC. Play your music on any platform: Windows, Mac and Linux. No copy protection (DRM), ever.

      You can listen to all the music for free in high or low quality mp3 format with commercial type announcements of what you are listening to.
      Redownloading is allowed if you provided your email address on purpose.
      Of course, they don't have "boy-band-of-the-month", but to me that's a feature.
      If you are into hard rock/metal, electronica, new age, or classical it's definitely worth a look.
      For pop, not so much, but I'm not really into most of that anyway.
      For live mu

  • I would have liked to buy the 2-CD set. Unfortunately, the shipping was more than $13, to Europe. Well, guess I will have to wait until it is in the shops here. The last couple of years, Reznor seems to bring out his albums around my birthday, which is nice of course :).

  • I wonder how the **AA will blame this on digital piracy and those pesky college kids...?

    This, coupled with the fact that some major studios have pulled some **AA funding, and the fact that they have attempted to make money buy pissing off their user base (hopefully) spells the end for the **AA.

    In the words of Monty Python "and there was much rejoicing!"
  • by clickety6 (141178) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @08:22AM (#22647946)
    ...doing well by selling like this, then I'll believe a change is coming. So far the only bands making a killing this way are those that have been over-hyped and shoved down our throats for years by the record labels so they are already (in)famous.

    If Mr Razor was an unknown releasing his first album this way, their would be far fewer people willing to pay $300 for a limited edition set and far fewer people even paying $5 for the normal set... assuming we even knew it was available.

  • by Chonine (840828) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @10:54AM (#22649326)

    I think an important thing to mention to those that are not NIN fans is how this release was announced.

    It wasn't.

    Two hours before this album was released online, there was an ominous "Two hours..." message posted at nin.com

    Then, BAM, new album. Even the most die-hard NIN fan had no clue it was coming. Where as before the marketing procedure took months, and there were many slow leaks in the process, this time Trent was in control.

    Make an album, make artwork, set up servers, release online. Its a good setup. Do you have any idea about the kind of label BS that you have to go through with an album? The promotion, the radio samplers, the flyers, posters, it is a lot of time and effort - there is like a 3 month window for it all. Here, Trent took his 10 weeks to make it, and then pretty much put it on his website.

    You can bet the next album has an even shorter window, and again he is in control of its secrecy. I've never before seen someone announce *and* release an album on the same day, and with Trent's history, he was the last person I expected it from.

  • by JustNiz (692889) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @12:52PM (#22651234)
    All the talk about individuals spreading torrents of the paid-for tracks is missing the point.

    Anyone care to bet that the RIAA and/or labels themselves aren't putting non-label artists tracks on the Pirate Bay just to undermine artists attempts to try and find an alternative business model?

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