Trent Reznor Explains Why OiNK Was Cool

from the filling-a-void dept

Trent Reznor has certainly been doing some interesting things lately in trying to embrace file sharing and free music in a way that still makes business sense. It sounds like he’s open to plenty of new ideas as well. A few people wrote in last week when it was announced that in collaborating with musician Saul Williams, the two decided to follow Radiohead’s path and offer a new album with a “name your own price” system. They admitted that they had been toying with the idea, but once Radiohead did it, they figured why not do the same thing (how long until someone who is confused about how this all works accuses them of “stealing” the idea?).

However, what’s much more interesting is that in a NY Mag interview with Reznor and Williams, Reznor admits that he was an active member of OiNK, the file sharing site that was recently shut down, and then gives an eloquent explanation for why OiNK exists and why iTunes sucks. It’s not about “stealing,” even though Reznor does refer to it as stealing. It’s about people who love music:

“I’ll admit I had an account there and frequented it quite often. At the end of the day, what made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world’s greatest record store. Pretty much anything you could ever imagine, it was there, and it was there in the format you wanted. If OiNK cost anything, I would certainly have paid, but there isn’t the equivalent of that in the retail space right now. iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don’t feel cool when I go there. I’m tired of seeing John Mayer’s face pop up. I feel like I’m being hustled when I visit there, and I don’t think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc. Amazon has potential, but none of them get around the issue of pre-release leaks. And that’s what’s such a difficult puzzle at the moment. If your favorite band in the world has a leaked record out, do you listen to it or do you not listen to it? People on those boards, they’re grateful for the person that uploaded it — they’re the hero. They’re not stealing it because they’re going to make money off of it; they’re stealing it because they love the band. I’m not saying that I think OiNK is morally correct, but I do know that it existed because it filled a void of what people want.”

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Comments on “Trent Reznor Explains Why OiNK Was Cool”

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4-80-sicks says:

The music industry, and quite a few commentors here who argue against the Techdirt stance on this issue, would do well to listen to Mr Reznor:

I’m truly saddened because I think music has been devalued, so that it’s just a file on your computer, and it’s usually free. But we can’t change that. What we can do is try to offer people the best experience that we can provide them.

This is the only way to fix things. Lawsuits and other scare tactics are not going to get people interested in paying money again, and cannot be used to recoup all the “losses” that the industry has incurred. They dug themselves into their own hole. Of course, they completely separate “creative” from “business” and probably just write off such insight as the ramblings of an artist who should take direction from them and not the other way around.
It makes me sad too, that music has been devalued so. I like cover art and liner notes and all of that. I like my shelves of hundreds of CDs, tapes, and a few records. But I’m a packrat, a collector. Most people do not feel the same way. The “Big Five” seriously need to wake up already.

Jon says:

Re: Re:

I think you do.

Filesharing gets gets painted as a back-alley underground crime ring. It’s worth explaining why filesharing is “cool”.

You type in what you’re looking for and you can find anything. ANYTHING. Old, new, doesn’t matter. It’s not infected with any sort of DRM virus, it plays on any player, and you can get higher bitrates than you can elsewhere. If you use Bittorrent, you’ll usually find complete high bitrate albums – and you can unselect the songs you don’t want from the album. It’s everything you want in the easiest to use format.

“Legit” services haven’t found a way to offer all those services. Your favorite online music store doesn’t offer every artist under the sun, and good luck finding “classic” stuff. You don’t get the best quality songs, and it might not play on every device you have. Also, while trying to stay legit, you may not be allowed to actually copy the song to play it on your MP3 player, use it as a ring tone, burn it to a CD to play in your car and have it handy on your computer. Until the “legit” services figure out how to offer all that, filesharing will stay where it is. But instead, they think the only way to make money is to devalue the product in some way.

Max Powers at (user link) says:

Long for the Old Days

Again showing my age, the days of going to Tower Records and spending a couple hours checking out the music that was available was a fun event that me and my friends all enjoyed.

Now you sit on your ass and go through a database on your computer like a robot and download what you like. The recording industry blew it by not thinking ahead.

We still got copies of albums to copy and bootleg but it never got so big to bring the eyes of the recording industry upon us.

I miss the good old days.

Matt says:

Re: Long for the Old Days

I think those days still exist, they’ve simply changed. I myself am 28 and remember walking down to the music store to get some new tunes, it was fun, it was exciting, and everyone else wanted to hear it too.

In todays world, it’s not all that different. My friends come to my house rather than the music store. They bring CDs, I get my CD’s, mp3 players, laptops, whatever you have that has music and start to listen and share. Maybe a certain track comes on and I say “Oh, this is a good song!” one of my friends has a cd released by the lead singer of the first band – 10 years ago.. I’ve never heard of them, they never “made it” – but now he throws me the cd, I put it in and rip it down and now I’ve got new tunes.

Now – just for you people who insist on that being theft and me being an evil doer, I’ll point out that if after listening to that CD, and I do like it, I will pay money. My first choice is to simply find the artists site and donate with PayPal or something (which hardly any band offers). If that’s not an option, and I can think of another friend or relative that I think would like it. I buy them the CD. I really do try to reward artists for their creations, so long as I enjoy them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Long for the Old Days

I’ve never really understood how that could be fun. I mean, all you have to go on is the album name, the band name and the album artwork.

I guess some record stores have someone working who knows every album and how to describe it to someone, regardless of genre.

That’s what I liked about oink. For the rare stuff, people would post short reviews or links to reviews or how the album makes them feel. Way more info than you’d get on an Amazon page or a blurb from the band or its label.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Long for the Old Days

Hey guy exploring digital music can still be quite an interactive social experience. Use your imagination.

How many days have I spent with my friends in the living room cruising through easynews or my own XXXGB local music repository? Or just uploading stuff you find that you want to share with your friends.

The online music stores right now do a minimal job catering to the adventurous exploration aspect of music. But at least you can see them trying. Unfortunately their idea of exploration is guiding you to buy what they want you to. Still, you can do a bit of poking around.

Filesharing communities just do a better job of that.

BillGod says:

a long time ago

I met Trent in a bar in down town cleveland. Well I really can’t say I met him. He was sitting on one side of the corner and I was in the chair next to him on the other side of the corner. I was really into NIN and was excited to talk to him. He was in the middle of a conversation with another person and I didn’t want to interrupt him. I sat there for 10 minutes listening to him talk. After that I had no need to talk to him. I thought he was a self righteous prick and wanted nothing to do with him. Being from the cleveland area and about the same age. I know many people that know him personally and agreed with my feelings. I am not sure if times have just changed him or if everyone just got the wrong vibe. I kinda like the guy now. Maybe one day I will run into him again and actually decide to talk to him.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Trent & Saul

“A few people wrote in last week when it was announced that in collaborating with musician Saul Williams”

So I wasn’t the only one to write in about that. Very glad to know. Very glad indeed.

And if memory serves me correctly, for Sauls disc, you either pay nothing, and get the CD, or you can donate 5$. It isn’t really a donate whatever you want. That might be set up elsewhere on the site, but on the page for the disc, you get the two options. If you pay you get access to higher quality files. No matter what though, they are DRM free.
A pay whatever you want option probably would have been a better choice than the static 5$, but that would be I think exactly what Radiohead did? I STILL haven’t gone and downloaded the disc to see what its all about. Yet another disc on the “check out” list. Aish.

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