Amazing What You Can Do When You Don't Sue Your Fans

from the you-can-get-data! dept

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 as well).
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!


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 8:06am

    And I picture the RIAA slowly burning in the back ground.

    It is were their greed has brought them.

    The phrase "Burn baby Burn" comes to mind

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 8:32am

    Trent has always been a genius. I'm not all that into his music and probably listened to his albums a couple time and moved on to something else rather quickly and many of his mp3s and cds are collecting dust on the bottom of piles... But the man is a genius.

     

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  3.  
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    Mike, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 8:43am

    I took that survey, and Trent wrote a short intro letter for it that was really good. It humanized him greatly and really made me happy to take the survey. I'm 37 and not really a HUGE fan of NIN, but this really made me gain that much more respect for him and the band/brand.

    Love to see it, and want to see more of it. Let the old men with their old business models crash and burn!
    m.

     

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  4.  
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    Joe, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 8:44am

    History Books

    One day the history books will read...

    Trent Reznor - Pioneer of Digital Media
    Metallica - Douche Bags
    RIAA - (see dinosaurs)

     

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  5.  
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    Chaz, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 8:45am

    The Google comparison is true. When I am searching for a product, I look at the Google Ad's first. I may go with a different site altogether, but I do give their advertisers first crack at my money. Simply to help payback Google.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 8:53am

    Re:

    Then you are tool. That is not letting the market decide that is google telling you what to buy.

     

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  7.  
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    Ragaboo, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 9:02am

    Spot on

    The analysis here about respecting your fans is very true. I had no interest in the video he was offering to take the survey, and I knew my chances of winning something in the POSSIBLE eventual giveaway were probably very low ... but I took the survey anyway, because I like Trent a lot, I like how willing he is to connect and give to his fans, and I very much like his music.

    I have bought his CDs when he was on a label, I have downloaded his stuff from P2P sites for free (sometimes converting into a purchase of the actual CD, sometimes not), and I've bought the digital versions of his works that he has offered (including his collaboration with Saul Williams, for which he tried the "Radiohead Model"), twice paying more to get the actual CD (Ghosts, The Slip). So, essentially, I'm a fan that has run the gamut of his distribution methods.

    I used to just like his music and respect the fact that he played all of his own instruments for the albums. Then, one day I found out that he had released "Only" as a file for fans to edit on Sony Acid Pro or GarageBand. It gave you all of the individual tracks for the song, every single layer. You could hear every imperfection in every vocal and background vocal. You could even hear the soft sound of the song playing in Trent's headphones when he was recording a vocal track. If that isn't humanizing, I don't know what is. I don't know many other artists who would let you see their works laid bare from the ground up and give you the ultimate control over remixing or recreating songs. So, that sold me, and I signed up for an account on NIN.com, and I've read every e-mail (and bought every digital whatever that he's offered) ever since.

    So...that's what just a LITTLE respect will get ya.

     

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  8.  
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    Overcast, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 9:10am

    I took that survey, and Trent wrote a short intro letter for it that was really good. It humanized him greatly and really made me happy to take the survey. I'm 37 and not really a HUGE fan of NIN, but this really made me gain that much more respect for him and the band/brand.

    Love to see it, and want to see more of it. Let the old men with their old business models crash and burn!


    Yep, same thing here.

     

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  9.  
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    James, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re:

    Trust in a company that provides you will superior service does not make one a tool. Looking for opportunities to call someone a tool however...

     

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  10.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 26th, 2008 @ 9:17am

    Re:

    "When I am searching for a product, I look at the Google Ad's first."

    Interesting that other people do this. I actually only use the google ad when I'm pretty sure I'm going to buy something (with the intention of raising the effectiveness of click-throughs.)

     

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  11.  
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    Djin, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 9:41am

    Give the Fans a little and they will give back

    Kid Rock has the same feeling about downloading. And i remember a long time a go an interview with a great band that use to go by the name of metallica said something along the lines, we don't care about people copying our tapes, whats going to happen is someone is going to copy the tape for a friend and then they will copy it for someone else, but this will just get our music out there. Fast foward and they are sueing fans for nickles.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2008/06/18/kid-rock-lashes-out-against-itunes-en dorses-illegal-downloading/

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Djin, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 9:41am

    Give the Fans a little and they will give back

    Kid Rock has the same feeling about downloading. And i remember a long time a go an interview with a great band that use to go by the name of metallica said something along the lines, we don't care about people copying our tapes, whats going to happen is someone is going to copy the tape for a friend and then they will copy it for someone else, but this will just get our music out there. Fast foward and they are sueing fans for nickles.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2008/06/18/kid-rock-lashes-out-against-itunes-en dorses-illegal-downloading/

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Djin, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 9:41am

    Give the Fans a little and they will give back

    Kid Rock has the same feeling about downloading. And i remember a long time a go an interview with a great band that use to go by the name of metallica said something along the lines, we don't care about people copying our tapes, whats going to happen is someone is going to copy the tape for a friend and then they will copy it for someone else, but this will just get our music out there. Fast foward and they are sueing fans for nickles.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2008/06/18/kid-rock-lashes-out-against-itunes-en dorses-illegal-downloading/

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Djin, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 9:41am

    Give the Fans a little and they will give back

    Kid Rock has the same feeling about downloading. And i remember a long time a go an interview with a great band that use to go by the name of metallica said something along the lines, we don't care about people copying our tapes, whats going to happen is someone is going to copy the tape for a friend and then they will copy it for someone else, but this will just get our music out there. Fast foward and they are sueing fans for nickles.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2008/06/18/kid-rock-lashes-out-against-itunes-en dorses-illegal-downloading/

     

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

  15.  
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    Fushta, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 9:58am

    Re: Spot on

    I enjoyed filling out the survey simply because I sensed that he really wanted to know what I think, and that he would actually take my suggestions into consideration (whether he does or not, it doesn't matter).

    I can get Trent's music anywhere for free, but what I cannot get for free is HIM. Trent in the flesh. Singing in person to all of his adoring fans. That's why I recently laid down $100+ for two tix to his current tour. This will be my fifth time seeing him in person/concert.

    Also, the first time I heard NIN was from "SHARING." A buddy of mine had Pretty Hate Machine on cassette, so he gave me a copy. Terrible Lie is still my favorite song to this day, since it was the first NIN track I heard.

     

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  16.  
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    WarOtter (profile), Sep 26th, 2008 @ 10:24am

    Re: Give the Fans a little and they will give back

    Lay off the submit button buddy. Stop, drop, and roll on broken glass.

    Anyway Trent's whole philosophy about the music business has only served to embolden my love of his music, to which I have dedicated two sections of my skin for NIN tattoos.

     

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  17.  
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    ChrisB (profile), Sep 26th, 2008 @ 11:12am

    Re: Spot on

    I also took this survey, not because I love his music, but more because I like what he is doing with his music. Hopefully what Trent is doing will help transform the music industry.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re:

    uh... That's not google telling you what to buy - that's google connecting you to people who are willing to pay to bring you their service. That's like saying:
    "If someone sees a billboard for a movie and goes to see it, then that's billboards telling you what to buy" or "If someone sees an ad on the television, it's the cable company telling you what to buy" or "If you buy something that someone had in the classifieds, it's the newspaper telling you what to buy".

    Are you serious?

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 11:18am

    Holy geez - Djin must have tremors.

     

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  20.  
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    Needless Piling On, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 1:03pm

    Man crush, music-style

    Ok, to add to the pseudo-sexual loving going on here, I love the man and his music. I dug it from the start, when in the liner notes on Pretty Hate Machine it flat out said "Nine Inch Nails is Trent Reznor", or the other way around, whatever. I wandered away around the time he released "The Fragile" and "With Teeth", then came back strong when he went ARG with the Year Zero promotions, partially against his label's wishes. That whole construction was for the fans, was virtually free of cost compared to some of the more ridiculous marketing campaigns that surround a lot of bands' offerings, and ensured that I was waiting eagerly for the album to drop. Hell, when low-quality versions of the album were leaked prior to release, he streamed the whole album through his website for weeks prior to release to ensure you listened to a good copy. Since then, he's continued to make music, and money, hand over fist by embracing an ever-opening distribution system. You can download The Slip in 5 different formats, all 100%DRM free, most with better-than CD quality for audio freaks. That shows respect for your fan base, and the level to which the man encourages remixing and toying with his work is admirable.

    Trent understands that, while the music is valuable in and of itself, it's useless to try and wring those pennies out of the public, instead focusing on giving additional value with limited editions, bundled DVDs, vinyl, etc, at a premium. The man IS a brand at this point, and should serve as a model for independent musicians from this point on.

    Buying only from Google ads is foolish, by the way, like asking your neighbor the car salesman for auto buying advice and working solely off his recommendations. Loyalty is one thing, voluntarily limiting your choice is another. Best product, best service, best deal, wins.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 1:18pm

    Re: History Books

    Good God another stupid ass Metallica comment.

     

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  22.  
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    JT, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Re:

    If I'm in information search mode, I blow by ads typically. If I'm on a site I'm a member of I'll take a look at the ads every few visits and may click through to help support the site.

     

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

  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Give the Fans a little and they will give back

    Why not compare apples and apples next time. You don't have a clue about Metallica.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Give the Fans a little and they will give back

    Are you really that big of a dumbass that you don't know how to click a submit button once?

     

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  25.  
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    dennis parrott, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 1:36pm

    Epic Necessity...

    for those who actually *own* much of the music that has been produced, porking those who "buy" (it is more of a rental these days in the eyes of the labels) of as much cash as many times as possible is CRITICAL. (does anybody think that the "music business" wouldn't love to get you to pay everytime you hear something? even if it was just in passing? and charge the owner of the boombox twice for PUBLIC PERFORMANCE????)

    the suits at the labels cannot make music any of us would listen to so the music they've stolen from the artists who make it has to be milked to death to feed their ugly machine. seriously, who else will pay their bonuses and pay for their parties and buy the time on radio stations to try to cram that crap down the public's throat? (yes, stolen. go look around at how many artists DO NOT OWN the copyright interest in their OWN MUSIC! read and get educated. many BIG artists were treated like slave labor by their oh-so-benevolent "masters", er, labels.)

    the RIAA isn't about partnering with fans in some mutual celebration of art. it is all about commerce, art be damned, and grabbing as much cash as possible from the "customer" with no regard to how sustainable that process is or will likely become...

    artists like Reznor KNOW the labels are basically dead. they're just struggling to get out from under the mess and attempt to have a career making a living from their art. more power to him...

     

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  26.  
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    Nathanael Matthias Weiss, Oct 1st, 2008 @ 12:32pm

    Re: History Books

    LOL. ;/

     

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


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