Trent Reznor Gives Away New Album As A Completely Free Download

from the plans-to-charge-for-scarce-goods dept

Trent Reznor continues to show that he has a good understanding of the economics of free content. Two months after releasing a new album online, and quickly selling scarce goods that earned him a pretty penny, he's back offering another new Nine Inch Nails album as a completely free download in a variety of high quality formats. However, it's not just that. He's also planning to then sell (scarce) versions of the product as well, in CD and vinyl format for those who want it. And, given his past experiments, it seems likely that he'll figure out a way to make it worth buying. While Radiohead has basically shown that they just got lucky in picking a random publicity stunt, Trent Reznor has shown that he's actually really interested in the economics and business models that will work in the online world.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    shanoboy (profile), May 5th, 2008 @ 10:13am

    good business

    It's too bad that the record companies don't start doing this. Fact of the matter is, most people are going to download the album as opposed to buying a physical copy of it.

    They could make more money by selling a value added package instead of just losing all their money to piracy or losing most of their money to Itunes.

     

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  2.  
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    Liam, May 5th, 2008 @ 10:13am

    too bad

    It's just too bad Trent isn't a massive celebrity (well, he is, but not exactly mainstream is he) because this won't be so public like the radiohead stunt.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2008 @ 10:21am

    Re: too bad

    In fact, this free stunt might actually be bossting his sales, as NIN's isnt as popular really as it once was, and certinally not as popular as a lot of the top 40 bands. funny, free music once again makes someone richer. take that RIAA

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2008 @ 10:30am

    Amusingly, I just got an email with tour dates and was considering going; this seals the deal.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2008 @ 10:30am

    And with all the heavy-weight files on torrents, his site is less likely to crash this time.

     

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  6.  
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    TheDock22, May 5th, 2008 @ 10:41am

    Re: too bad

    Radiohead is more popular than Trent Reznor? Since when?

     

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  7.  
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    Overcast, May 5th, 2008 @ 10:43am

    Amusingly, I just got an email with tour dates and was considering going; this seals the deal.

    Yeah, my daughter's been wanting to go to a concert - I think I'll go download and check this out.

     

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  8.  
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    Brian Walsh, May 5th, 2008 @ 10:43am

    And followed with more scarcity

    In addition, they emailed anyone who had purchased the first experiment with an email alerting of not only the free download, but their newly announced tour schedule. In fact, they are "rewarding" fans by opening up the sales 3 days early and limiting the number of tickets, printing the name of the fan on the ticket, and requiring photo id. I wonder if NIN staff reads Techdirt...

    Email:

    Nine Inch Nails is touring the US and Canada this summer. Premium tickets for all NIN headline dates will be made available to registered nin.com members in advance of public on sales. Pre sale tickets are personalized with the members legal name printed on the face of the ticket and ID will be required for pickup and entry into the venue on night of show. Pre sale ticket supplies are limited and available on a first come, first serve basis. Our goal is to put the best tickets in the hands of the fans and not in the hands of scalpers and/or brokers. Register at nin.com and check the performance page for additional tour updates.
    2008 Summer Tour

    ... list of all the tour dates ...

    9/5/08 Oakland, CA [Oracle Arena]
    Pre Sale: 6/12 (5:00PM)
    On Sale: 6/15 (10AM)

     

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  9.  
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    Le Blue Dude, May 5th, 2008 @ 10:52am

    Re: too bad

    Thanks to Quake, almost EVERY gamer's heard of Nine Inch Nails

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2008 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: too bad

    Well Radiohead have 96 million scrobbles at last.fm and NIN have 46 million.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2008 @ 11:10am

    NIN is my favorite band, period. They are awesome for many reasons.

     

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  12.  
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    barren waste, May 5th, 2008 @ 11:12am

    re: post 10

    What is a scrobble and how does it relate to the bands popularity?

    As for my friends and I, we'll take NIN over Radiohead anyday.

    It is certainly uplifting to see music stars making money off from the new business model Mike has been talking about. Hopefully this will lead to a new "Gold Rush" and the old record companies will die out. That in turn would lead to less financial backing of the copyright laws and we might just be able to get some progress there as well....

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2008 @ 11:21am

    Re:

    Seconded-ed.

     

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  14.  
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    JS Beckerist (profile), May 5th, 2008 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: too bad

    I've been downloading NIN since I learned what Napster was. Now I don't feel so guilty about it, and I can also send all my friends the link so they can hear it...

    Still haven't purchased an album but I would definitely buy tickets to see him live, or maybe a live DVD.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2008 @ 11:31am

    Re: Re: Re: too bad

    I really recommend NIN CDs; quality stuff, and not just because of the music they contain. Collecting all the Halos may be a bit much to go chasing after, but it's definitely quality.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2008 @ 11:47am

    Re: downloading vs buying

    I know most people are expected to leech this music, but I will probably buy it on hard-copy -- but only if it's good. Otherwise it's streaming radio or nothing.

     

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  17.  
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    Kevin, May 5th, 2008 @ 11:57am

    Scrobble

    Scrobbling refers to uploading listening statistics to Last.Fm. As they put it, "Last.fm is the flagship product from the team that designed the Audioscrobbler music engine. More than ten million times a day, Last.fm users "scrobble" their tracks to our servers, helping to collectively build the world's largest social music platform."

    as they say, "The Audioscrobbler system is a massive database that tracks listening habits and calculates relationships and recommendations based on the music people listen to.

    After installing an Audioscrobbler plugin for your media player (eg iTunes, Winamp, Amarok) the name of every song you listen to is sent to the Audioscrobbler server and added to your music profile. The Audioscrobbler system powers our main site, Last.fm, as well as exposing data via webservices so other projects can make interesting things from the data and recommendations we provide."

    When Radiohead released In Rainbows, all ten tracks were the top of Last.fm's charts for seven or 8 weeks - impressive, but it must be taken with a grain of salt. The average person doesn't use audioscrobbler, and those who do may be predisposed to already like Radiohead.

     

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  18.  
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    Kevin, May 5th, 2008 @ 12:06pm

    Update to that last bit

    Even now, out of the top 20 tracks scrobbled last week, 9 of the ten songs from In Rainbows are part of the list.

     

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  19.  
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    Liam, May 5th, 2008 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: Too Bad

    Radiohead are much more mainstream then NIN are, myself, I prefer NIN but more people know of radiohead.

     

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  20.  
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    Syn-Ack, May 5th, 2008 @ 1:03pm

    Sharing License Too

    Funny it wasn't mentioned. It's more than a give away, apparently there is a non-commerical sharing license with it.

    we encourage you to
    remix it
    share it with your friends,
    post it on your blog,
    play it on your podcast,
    give it to strangers

     

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  21.  
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    JD13, May 5th, 2008 @ 1:58pm

    Good work Trent

    It's so nice to see an artist really taking care of their fans. My hats off to you...

     

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  22.  
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    Adam, May 5th, 2008 @ 2:11pm

    i gave away my last album completely free too...

    and although im not NEARLY where trent is, I had around 10,000 downloads

    pretty neat idea and has been a great move to get more people into my music

    works for independent artists too

    way to go trent!

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2008 @ 4:02pm

    I hate to break it to everyone, but Radiohead LOST money on the "pay what you want" deal. THey expected way more people to be honest and at least send them SOMETHING. Most people did not, and this business model is FAIL as far as I can see.

    As far as someone's comment on Radiohead being more popular than NIN, well... get out much?

     

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  24.  
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    Kiba, May 5th, 2008 @ 4:59pm

    Re:

    Please explain the mathematics behind your claim and your source.

    You seem to offers a dissenting opinion contrary to popular consensus and something that can be backed up as well. let hear your presumably correct analysis.

     

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  25.  
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    Mike (profile), May 6th, 2008 @ 12:02am

    Re:

    I hate to break it to everyone, but Radiohead LOST money on the "pay what you want" deal. THey expected way more people to be honest and at least send them SOMETHING. Most people did not, and this business model is FAIL as far as I can see.

    Radiohead admitted they made more money off of the "experiment" than on any previous album.

    So... er... no. It was not a failure. They most certainly did not lose money.

     

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  26.  
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    PaulT (profile), May 6th, 2008 @ 12:58am

    Re:

    Ah, FUD. Don't you love it.

    I'll repeat what Mike's said - Radiohead confirmed they made MORE money, not less (although they were cagey for a long time with actual figures).

    What was actually stated was that they were disappointed by the fact that a lower than expected *percentage* of people paid for the album. Big difference. The fact that they still made so much money proves that the experiment did work - many more people obtained In Rainbows than any other Radiohead album, and they still made a decent profit.

     

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  27.  
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    cram, May 6th, 2008 @ 2:21am

    The Trent Reznor Community

    Hi Mike

    Must be one helluva self-congratulatory day for you, what with Trent Reznor going down the free music road once again, and this time with a vengeance. An entire album! Goodness! Maybe it's a supreme arrogance on Trent's part, to decide he doesn't need any label/company/association/marketing arm between him and his fans.

    I'm sure he's going to make a pretty packet from physical media sales as well, especially if it has a lot to offer apart from the music. Though I'm still not convinced this model could work for everyone, or even a sizeable number of bands/performers, it's a start, and a good one as the middlemen are being cut out. Let's see how it pans out.

    Perhaps Trent could become the center of gravity for all those who want to follow his and (Mike's) lead. Social networking for the freemusicians.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2008 @ 2:28am

    @ Mike:

    "Radiohead admitted they made more money off of the "experiment" than on any previous album."

    BULLSHIT

     

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  29.  
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    Mike (profile), May 6th, 2008 @ 4:59am

    Re:

    @ Mike:

    "Radiohead admitted they made more money off of the "experiment" than on any previous album."

    BULLSHIT


    I quote: "In terms of digital income, we've made more money out of this record than out of all the other Radiohead albums put together, forever."

    http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/magazine/16-01/ff_yorke?currentPage=all

     

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  30.  
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    SomeGuy, May 6th, 2008 @ 5:44am

    Re:

    Well, uhm, what business model would 'this one' be? If you think, "I'll give away my music and hope people, uhm, buy my music," then yeah, that'll probably fail for the most part (as notedm, though, In Rainbows made more money than typical, even if Radiohead had expected a greater percentage to pay for it).

    But that's not what Reznor is doing. Based on Ghosts and the curious timing of The Slip in regards to NIN's release of tour dates and "premium sales to NIN.com members", whay Trent is doing is, "I'll give away my music and sell CDs, art books, vinyl, DVDs, show tickets..." I think he's got a good thing going here.

     

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  31.  
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    Overcast, May 6th, 2008 @ 8:52am

    Thanks to Quake, almost EVERY gamer's heard of Nine Inch Nails

    Yep - and I downloaded the CD for free. Managed to find my way to their online store too ;)

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2008 @ 11:31am

    Re: Re:

    That's "digital income" not overall income. If you don't take that sentence out of context, it's obvious:

    "In terms of digital income, we've made more money out of this record than out of all the other Radiohead albums put together, forever -- in terms of anything on the Net. And that's nuts. It's partly due to the fact that EMI wasn't giving us any money for digital sales. All the contracts signed in a certain era have none of that stuff."

     

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  33.  
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    Kevin, May 14th, 2008 @ 8:13pm

    Another note about scrobbling

    For those who thought NIN was too not-mainstream to do well, the 10 songs from The Slip are all top 10 in listening and plays on Last.fm. Radiohead only has 7 in the top 20 now.

     

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  34.  
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    Sal, Jul 25th, 2008 @ 8:46pm

    Good Quality

    I figured it was a free download so I might as well, but I was surprised at how high the quality of the files were. From high quality mp3 to 24/96 wave.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 11:59am

    fuk u

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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