Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor had an interesting post on his website today.
Hello everyone. I’ve waited a LONG time to be able to make the
following announcement: as of right now Nine Inch Nails is a totally
free agent, free of any recording contract with any label. I have
been under recording contracts for 18 years and have watched the
business radically mutate from one thing to something inherently very
different and it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally have a
direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate.
Look for some announcements in the near future regarding 2008.
Exciting times, indeed.
First off, bravo Trent. You get a golf clap. In a bold move Trent Reznor has taken his band away from the influence of the malicious RIAA and his stifling record label. This separation was not unnexpected. For a long time now Reznor has been vocal about his fans having access to his music. By releasing the tracks online in a mix-ready format, by leaving USB drives at concerts loaded with tracks, and by encouraging fans to download his music Reznor has undercut everything the RIAA so desperately has been fighting by taking music lovers to court. Rather than persecute his fans Reznor has adapted to the new music distribution model.
The technology savvy Reznor has proven that he no longer needs the support of the label or the RIAA to be successful. Any user of a new computer has access to the same multimedia suites Reznor does. It is entirely possible for Johnny Noname to produce a studio quality album without the need for expensive equipment. Reznor also recognizes the implications of the more pervasive iPod and the views that current generation hold in regards to media. The costs of downloading untethered media for free are infinitely more attractive than paying for tracks that limit you to a certain device, number of times you can burn, etcetera. The key is to provide quality content that people will ultimately decide, “Hey, this song really rocks. I’m going to buy the album/DVD. Then I’m going to go buy tickets to the concert.”
I look forward to doing just that the next time you roll into Milwaukee or Madison Trent. The last time I saw you in concert led to an album and DVD sale. It is dichotomously infuriating and funny to encounter the effects the RIAA has had on the industry. They sue their fans and yet complain that physical CD sales are on a perpetual slump. They implement invasive DRM that makes media incompatible with players and then get lose the following lawsuit. Reznor has jumped ship and I can’t wait until the iPod generation is at the helm to deal a deathblow the RIAA’s dying business model.