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Nine Inch Nails Sells Out Of $300 Deluxe Edition In Under Two Days

from the that-was-fast dept

Yesterday we wrote about Trent Reznor launching his new Nine Inch Nails album online with a variety of interesting options that people could choose to buy. The top of the list, for $300, was a "Ultra-Deluxe Limited Edition Package" that included all the high quality downloads, two CDs, a data DVD, a Blu-ray high def DVD and assorted extras, all in a nice package signed by Reznor. This was only limited to the first 2,500 people. While some scoffed at the price of this package, it was clearly designed for NIN's biggest fans -- and they ate it up. Mike Linksvayer points out that this option is now sold out, meaning that Reznor grossed $750,000 in just a couple of days on that package alone, not taking into account any of the other packages that many more people likely bought into.

Now, before some people start complaining that this will only work for big name bands, there's an easy response to that: these days, the way to become a big band is to get your music out there. Newer bands can easily give away music as a promotion to get attention, build up a following, and throw in these types of options as they get bigger. Besides, smaller, less-well-known acts still have plenty of other offerings they can use to make money, even as a smaller band.

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  1. identicon
    Hellsvilla, 4 Mar 2008 @ 5:32pm

    Now I'm sad

    I would have bought one too, if it wasn't all instrumentals.

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

  2. identicon
    TSO, 4 Mar 2008 @ 5:53pm

    That's market segmentation for you -- trying to scoop the whole curve of supply and demand, not just a specific slice of it. Go go go NIN!

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

  3. identicon
    Chickenoodle, 4 Mar 2008 @ 5:53pm

    Good Instrumentals

    They're instrumentals - yes... but they're amazing with the variety. Like all of Trents work, it's an amazing set.

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

  4. identicon
    José Luis, 4 Mar 2008 @ 6:03pm

    Not a new idea....

    Good for Resnor, but this is something that a decade ago, music labels where already doing.
    In 1996, i bought from Griffin Music a numbered pack (15000 units) of David Bowie concert in Santa Monica (1972) that included a CD and a 7" two sided vinil single.

    I think that at some point, music labels decided to disregard this kind of packaging to focus on their main products, that would be CDs :-0


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

  5. identicon
    Mark Murphy, 4 Mar 2008 @ 6:05pm

    1,000 True Fans

    Along the same lines as your "become a big band" argument, Kevin Kelly's latest bit on the Technium blog is entitled 1,000 True Fans. His rationale is that you shouldn't be aiming for the big hit, but rather aiming to cultivate your 1,000 True Fans, the folk who will plunk down $300 for a NiN-style box set.

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

  6. identicon
    EvilMessiah, 4 Mar 2008 @ 6:07pm


    Anyone care to guess how many of these actually ended up in the hands of fans and not speculators? I already see at least 3 on ebay for $600+.

    $300 may seem a nice starting price, but it seems we'll find the true value of these soon enough ...

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

  7. identicon
    ehrichweiss, 4 Mar 2008 @ 6:13pm


    I don't care for NIN/Reznor's music(and I even have a story about where I was listening to some NIN with a friend and I said "hey, I think your CD is skipping" and he said it was only NIN; 10 minutes later he says "oh, I think my CD was skipping"; I have never gotten over that one) but I'm glad to hear that he's getting to see the egg on the faces of all those who told him that his plan wouldn't work.

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

  8. identicon
    pleg, 4 Mar 2008 @ 6:28pm

    Might combine well

    with his other project


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

  9. identicon
    Carlo Wolff, 4 Mar 2008 @ 7:18pm

    NIN deluxe

    Trent has always known how to make himself rare. This masterful offering affirms his command of marketing and branding and proves NIN is a strong enough brand it doesn't need conventional distribution. Like a hotel franchise company, Trent has "segmented" his latest, from free to tantalizingly scarce. Wish I'd bought the new NIN deluxe. Or is it invested?

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

  10. identicon
    spankz, 4 Mar 2008 @ 8:04pm

    NIN deluxe

    trent pwned the riaa hard!!!! the age of the fatass lazy bastart makeing money off the artist's is DEAD!!!! eat that biotches!!!!

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

  11. icon
    Wolferz (profile), 4 Mar 2008 @ 8:27pm

    The Future is Now

    The more I think about it the more I am convinced that the first thing that must happen for the shift from old music industry to new music industry to occur is for the artists to abandon the old ways. Not the big bands ether. It's the up and comers that will be the final nail in the coffin. The Nicklebacks and S.O.A.D.s of tomorrow.

    Like Mike said, for many bands the way to become big has been to put themselves out there on the internet. However I don't see that working (as is) for very long once it becomes a popular thing to do. Right now the idea is novel and the market is virgin. However, once every garage band and their brothers have their own website fans will find themselves confused and irritated at how hard it is to tell the good ones from the bad ones.

    This will necessitate the next step, websites and services that do for the artists exactly what the record labels promised to do for the artists in years gone by... marketing them, helping manage their needs, essentially running the business end of things while the artists do what they do best. I do not see these services totally taking over the management for the bands. That would just be the same as before. Instead, I see the bands hiring some one (or perhaps a small firm) to manage their presence on these sites, much like they do already with MySpace.

    But this to me raises a more interesting question... why wait till fans are confused to start such a service. Why not begin building it and do the ground work of getting the up and coming bands on board now. Heh... if only I had the money and time for something like that laying around...

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2008 @ 8:40pm

    I had never even heard of the Ghost stuff until I saw that it had been released to Amazon for $5, via an rss feed I saw. I instantly bought it (hey, it's $5). I heard about the $300 kit and while I'm not the *biggest* NIN fan, I still consider myself a pretty big Reznor fan, I had intended to buy it. But I figured it would be around for quiet awhile (also, I hadn't realized there were only a limited number of them). If I'd known that, I would have gone to the site and dropped the $300 with no problem.

    Anyway, I'm really glad Reznor is doing this. Expirementing with alternate distribution methods. True, he's a huge star with a lot of success, but I still think that what he and other big names are doing benefits the smaller guys by solidifying these options and methods. Good for him. And good for music!

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

  13. identicon
    jason, 4 Mar 2008 @ 9:06pm

    Re: Now I'm sad

    Are you kidding?! For years Trent has been ruining his music with his lyrics..living by this lame rule that pop acts must have vocals...it worked for awhile with his sex and violence themes...but it never REALLY worked..it was those melodies and sounds..the ambiance, the beats..Ghosts is by far his best work since the Fragile..easy. It's no Downward Spiral. At first i thought it was going to be just "dark Eno" or like Aphex ambient works..but there is a lot going on here..I'm certainly glad its paying off for Trent experimenting with different models of sales and promotion. Good for him and remember guys just cause some rock star is spewing ignorant lyrics over his music doesnt mean its bad work. Listen outside the box set geez..

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

  14. identicon
    jason, 4 Mar 2008 @ 9:07pm

    Re: Re: Now I'm sad


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

  15. identicon
    greentintedglasses, 5 Mar 2008 @ 12:28am

    An interesting NYT article talks about studies on "cumulative advantage". Online studies find that it doesn't matter how good you are, but how fast and widespread you manage to get your music onto the market.

    Once you manage to get the ball rolling, there's a snowball effect: if you are on the "Top Videos" in YouTube, chances are you will stay there and even distance yourself from the rest, by the very fact that you are in the top list. Free is the most obvious way of increasing your exposure and thus your social influence.

    Applying this concept onto musicians and authors, I believe that once the numbers of such people giving out their stuff for free hit a certain critical mass, the "social influence" - or peer pressure, so to speak - will be too great for others not to do the same, and the snowball effect can begin. Bestselling authors like Paulo Coelho and Neil Gaiman are already taking the lead, which is encouraging.

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

  16. identicon
    FUSE5K, 5 Mar 2008 @ 1:17am


    Hopefully when bands see that the music (certainly in this case) was secondary and the other stuff was pretty much worth nothing until it had a number on it, they will consider this...

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

  17. identicon
    Chris, 5 Mar 2008 @ 2:25am

    Dumb folks

    So how are those people going to feel when within 24 hrs the entire thing is on The Pirate Bay?

    I mean seriously, how dumb are people?

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

  18. identicon
    JC, 5 Mar 2008 @ 2:59am

    Re: Dumb folks

    The $300 set came with various things that you can't download off of TPB, such as 4 vinyl albums, high quality prints, amazing packaging, etc. And it's signed by Trent. People were paying $300 because they're huge fans and they were interested in those items and wanted a limited edition piece.

    As for JUST the music, the first 9 songs are available for free and NIN even uploaded them to TPB. Not only that, but the notes have a comment that you'll be able to find the rest of the songs for free as well. Obviously, the songs would end up on TPB, et al and Trent acknowledges this... but taking it one step further, Trent released the music under a Creative Commons license that allows you to share the music. So these songs being on TPB is actually legal.

    The point was to provide value and options to people, and that's what he did... from free to fancy. $5 for 36 songs in up to lossless quality (the download is available in several formats, all DRM free, including MP3, FLAC, and M4A - options!) from a major artist, sans DRM, is pretty good value to me. For some, that sweet spot is free. And for some, the items provided in the $300 set is perceived as a good value because of their interest in the artist and those limited edition items.

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

  19. identicon
    Dan, 5 Mar 2008 @ 3:02am

    Re: Dumb folks

    Whats the difference between this album and any other when it comes to music piracy? Only one; Trent released Ghosts I to The Pirate Bay himself and if he follows suit as with his other albums, he'll release all the Ghosts there eventually.

    The old adage of buy the album because it's the right thing to do and supports the artist still applies; plain and simple. Trent is raising capital for his tour anyways. Buy the album and give him enough money to tour.

    In addition, you can't pirate the deluxe and ultra-deluxe editions because the physical media is the valuable part, not the music.

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

  20. identicon
    zombywoof, 5 Mar 2008 @ 3:18am

    Re: Dumb folks

    I must be dumb too

    when you like somebody art, you want to own it, the case etc, and you have respect for the creators.

    i'm a big fan of people like zappa, miles davis, crimson, and others not known at all by the public, and I own the records, i don't pirate them.

    luckily for the artists, all people are not just thiefs like you seems to think

    go go artists, control your distribution, and screw the producers !

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

  21. identicon
    jeff, 5 Mar 2008 @ 3:56am

    Re: Dumb folks

    How dumb are you, Chris? There's nothing wrong with them buying it if they like the band and want to support them. Finally a reasonable business model comes along, and you still insist on stealing music.

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

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2008 @ 4:42am

    Re: Dumb folks

    Actually, if they were only interested in the digital content (which comes with each purchace anyways), then they ALREADY overpaid by $295. They paid for the CDs, DVDs, artbook, signature, and packaging, none of which you can download on TPB.

    At that, I paid $10 for my copies, and you know what I think of it being available for free elsewhere? I don't care. Most of why I paid anything in the first place was because I wanted to support the band. If other people are out there enjoying the music without paying, no skin off my nose.

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

  23. identicon
    Adam, 5 Mar 2008 @ 5:07am

    Re: Not a new idea....

    The point of the article isn't "zomg collectors edition" but "Hey, Trent tried out a new way of selling his music and it worked. VERY well."

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

  24. identicon
    Paul, 5 Mar 2008 @ 5:09am

    Re: Dumb folks

    I'm surprised no one pointed out that the music was released under creative commons. its not pirating the music if its allowed to be shared as such. trent put the first volume on pirate bay himself and even said you'll be able to find the other volumes on there as well. he just said if you really are interested, go to his site to purchase it just to show support.

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

  25. identicon
    DYI, 5 Mar 2008 @ 5:21am

    Well the as for the indie or garage bands, the group I am with has put out it's music for free since 2003, and it has worked out for us in are favor. We release in mostly vinyl and then you can go download it for your mp3 player.

    Mors Ontologica

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

  26. identicon
    Cixelsid, 5 Mar 2008 @ 5:32am

    I tried to buy one

    but I was too late :'-(

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

  27. identicon
    Cixelsid, 5 Mar 2008 @ 5:39am

    Re: Dumb folks

    The whole thing was available on torrents within hours of it being released, numnuts. Trent himself put on the first 9 sets on PB.

    People still forked out the 5 bucks to download it from nin.com. I myself paid $75 for the deluxe edition. But downloaded the MP3's via torrent just because it was so much faster than nin.com - which was being pummeled by massive amounts of people throwing money at Trent.

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

  28. identicon
    Charming Charlie, 5 Mar 2008 @ 5:46am

    I question exactly how long the ethic of "showing support" if you're "really interested" lasts. Most music buyers of today remember the time before Napster and burnable drives when they had to buy everything. When today's fifth graders are 25 and have never paid for music I wonder who will be telling them it's cool to support the artist.

    Probably the artists.

    And if the artists are trying to persuade you support them, they won't have the veneer of innocence, victimization, and magic they currently have, which urges the 25ers of today to "support the artist" while sticking it to the evil record labels, the ones who embody all that is annoying and souless.

    Artists, potentially the evil big business figure for today's fifth graders?

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

  29. identicon
    Faber, 5 Mar 2008 @ 5:55am

    Guess I should have bought more than one

    I was thinking about buying two. Now Im stuck with the decision of keeping my copy or selling it. :(

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

  30. identicon
    Mike, 5 Mar 2008 @ 6:21am

    As it should be

    Trends on popular torrent sites and p2p networks have always shown NIN to be a constant popular download in all aspects: discographies, videos even art. The fact these high priced products have sold so quickly to me represents the testament to such a freedom of material. I'm sure trent knows well that his material gets ripped like it was the first coming of a saviour but in all honesty he'll always reap the benefits. I think the only question is when he decides the pull the plug because there's way too much caring is sharing from this man.

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

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2008 @ 6:23am

    $300? Really? Maybe that is why I have a hard time with free, because I am just not aware of the segment of the market that is willing to pay this type of money for a set like this.

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

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2008 @ 7:02am


    Hey, I bought the 10$ version and HAD to download it from
    piratebay because my download link stopped everytime after 20 seconds. For distribution, pb is gold!

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

  33. identicon
    Big Fan since Pretty Hate Machine, 5 Mar 2008 @ 7:53am


    I first learned about NIN from a friend giving me a copy of their cassette tape "Pretty Hate Machine."

    If it weren't for him giving me a copy (that he made of his original) it would have been many more years before I would've sent my money to Trent, err RIAA. Now I know my money is going to the person that really deserves it.

    I thank my friend and I thank Trent.

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

  34. identicon
    Jeremy, 5 Mar 2008 @ 8:11am

    Re: Dumb folks

    Well seeing that Reznor released the album under a Creative Commons Share-Alike Non-Commercial License, they should expect it. Not to mention that Reznor released Ghost I, all 9 tracks to the Pirate Bay himself.

    This is more about supporting the band you love or owning a part of history depending on the package you buy or how you feel about it. Not to mention I don't think you can get Records with Reznors signature off of Pirate Bay yet. Doubt I will see that in the future either.

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

  35. identicon
    4-80-sicks, 5 Mar 2008 @ 9:04am


    $300? Really? Maybe that is why I have a hard time with free, because I am just not aware of the segment of the market that is willing to pay this type of money for a set like this.

    You should be aware of it, after reading this article. It's obviously there.

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

  36. identicon
    jef, 5 Mar 2008 @ 9:35am

    Re: Not a new idea....

    I don't think the point is that it's a new idea, but that he did it without a label, and in combination with free music.

    before the internet, there was no inexpensive channel to market and distribute music, which is why musicians had to use a label to do this.

    Now the internet is making the value of the label diminish, which will eliminate a middleman, and when that happens consumers and content creators win.

    I think that's the point, and is new to the music industry/market

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

  37. identicon
    Johnny 'cap' Anthropocene, 5 Mar 2008 @ 10:16am


    $300 - hahahah.
    Trent Reznor is fast food.
    Get Aphex Twin - Drukqs for some real cool shit.

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

  38. identicon
    ZeTron, 5 Mar 2008 @ 10:28am

    $300 bucks is a drop in the bucket for what you ge

    Honestly $300 is not very much for what the package included. AND with only 2500 sets it's an obvious investment. If I were even a small fan of NIN I would have known about this release and bought one simply to resell. Too bad I'm too late. There is no doubt in my mind that a signed vinyl set of only 2500 copies would be worth way more than $300 to a die hard fan.

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

  39. identicon
    James, 5 Mar 2008 @ 12:22pm

    nine inch nails and music evolution

    The battles with the music overlords are about to be
    over. The Free Artist Network.com allows the artists to maximize the
    revenue from their work. It is the evolution of the music and art industries. Artists can up-load and sell their work to fans.
    The Free Artist Network is Free. No commission. We have created facilities for digital recordings with unlimited bandwith.
    From Mp3s,albums to music videos. They are Free. We keep nothing. Fans benefit, artists benefit and control their profits. Vinyl and CD's are old school.

    The evolution of music is here.

    James McPeak,
    Co-Founder & CEO

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

  40. identicon
    Brian, 5 Mar 2008 @ 2:37pm

    Thats right!

    Amazing music!
    I'm sure it will lose some fans who want to hear lyrics and "proper song structure", but this is the album that gear lusters and knob twisters dream of, just music no programmed emotions to sing to.
    I pat NIN on the back for releasing the music the way they did and making it available instantly with the unique physical package options to choose from as well.
    People need more packaging options in their CD's, a lot of labels wont fork out for the extra packaging options unless the band has made them X amount....
    This whole thing reminds me of The Melvins track " Laughing With Lucifer At Satan's Sideshow" with all the label staff samples.

    NIN has made more in a week(probly) than they did on a labels yearly salary.(probly)
    Cut the middle man out and keep giving us package options,
    that is the future.

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

  41. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2008 @ 4:53pm


    shame the article doesn't even bother to mention the real reason folks plunked down $300 for the "Ultra-Deluxe Limited Edition Package": ghost on 4 records. thank god some artists still get it. long live vinyl

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

  42. identicon
    Asmo, 5 Mar 2008 @ 8:15pm

    I think the style of music or the cost for the exclusive package are largely irrelevant.

    This guy is doing what the RIAA seem to think is impossible. Making money utilising P2P as advertising as opposed to paying them or an agent for promotion.

    Sure, the promotion is a lot bigger now because this is still an emerging way of distributing products, but I don't think you can ever come to a point where there are too many bands going online and promoting their stuff.


    Cos it's the INTERNET. The place where an entire generation of sad b@stards (myself included ; ) want to go to have their opinion heard.

    Hell, this comment post is a great example. Who knows if anyone is ever going to read this, but I'll still type it =)

    All it takes is one person to say "if you liked *your favourite band*, you'll love *new band you haven't heard of*" to get you interested enough. Go, download the released EP over torrents (rather than buying a single for 5 bucks or w/e), decide you love/hate whatever and go from there.

    Sure, there will still be piracy, but the cost of piracy will be the cost of the free advertising you get from word of mouth and viral sources.

    They needed a big band to do this first to give it legitimacy. All the small artists already doing this are fighting a RIAA propaganda machine saying they are cutting their own throats. I think NIN/Trent might just be a turning point, to say "you can make money if you make some of your wares available for free sampling".

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

  43. identicon
    Jasmine, 10 Mar 2008 @ 10:29pm

    Not too much

    I knew they'd sell out right away with the $300 price tag... When the "Absolut Nothing" posters sell on ebay for around $200... This is a hell of a deal to a fan.

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

  44. identicon
    biohazard, 13 Mar 2008 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Re: Now I'm sad

    Not to rain on Jasons comment from march 4th, but Reznor actually commented how much he disliked the Fragile set, and was worried it would fail miserably. I can't remember the full interview but he basically said, after everything was said and done, he put both discs on play and wanted to give the album a full listen through, after about 2 songs he totally forgot about what he was doing, and walked off into another room. came back at the last song and was like "shit, i forgot" and was disappointed that he was able to space out while listening to the album. but I do think Ghosts is completely amazing. I've ordered the $75 version, since I missed out on the $300 one :(

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

  45. identicon
    Juan, 23 Mar 2008 @ 11:15pm

    Re: Not a new idea....

    The point that is being made here is not that they sold the limited ediition box sets, it's that they made over $750k already without the help of a record label, and it helps the statement he is trying to make against big record labels and the RIAA.

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

  46. identicon
    nikki, 3 Apr 2008 @ 5:53am

    i bought a copyfor myself
    gawd i love that band

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

  47. identicon
    D'anconia57, 24 Apr 2008 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Not a new idea.... Yeah but he did it.

    Maybe record companies put out a special edition like this before but the most revolutionary factor about this is the fact that he is no longer on a Label. He is using the New Media/The Internet to distribute it and he gets to take all the profits. Go Trent, Go Free Market!

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

  48. identicon
    terry, 22 Oct 2008 @ 1:17pm

    new file engine search!

    I have seen this information and lots more at http://newfileengine.com/

    It is one of the best searches of the internet! very useful!

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

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