I was a bit surprised at how many people sent in the news that Trent Reznor had sent around a survey to fans who are on the Nine Inch Nails mailing list. After all, what's so surprising about a survey? There was some cool stuff, where Reznor suggested that as an incentive for filling out the survey he'd consider offering some sort of one-time prize such as flying the fan to a gig somewhere in the world, but overall, what's the big deal about a survey? But it appears Bob Lefsetz has put his finger on it. It's a big deal because it's exactly the sort of thing that the traditional labels simply can't do any more, because you can't ask your fans for a favor when you're suing a bunch of them
. While the RIAA still seems to think that its battle against file sharers is some sort of epic necessity, Reznor is out actually connecting
with fans and giving them a reason to feel happy about sharing information with him (not to mention paying him money
Sounds like Trent's a real person. Like if you bumped into him at the mall, you could have a conversation. The Net has burned down the wall between artists and fans. You have to be accessible and human. You can't talk down to your fans, you must respect them. They'll do ANYTHING for you if you treat them right, if they think you're really listening.
If it's all about money, and the major labels believe this, telling us they want 360 deals and ringtone fees, then an artist like Trent has got the big boys beat. Because his fans won't buy only the single, but the album, the t-shirt, the concert ticket, the coffee table book, just about anything Trent can cook up! And the profit margin? ASTRONOMICAL! Not that Trent's afraid of giving away his music for free. Kind of like Google. Search is free, click on ads if you'd like. You feel GOOD when you click on Google ads. You want to pay the search company BACK!