Posts Tagged ‘nine inch nails’


Trent Reznor on the future of music

April 15, 2009


Trent Reznor, always a man to call it like he sees it, gives great interview to the Guardian. The NIN iPhone app went live last night, and Reznor uses the occasion of its release to share his thoughts:

People are going to steal your music whether you like it or not; it’s out there, it’s free… You’re never going to make a lot of money selling records like you used to, that’s a fact. It’s over… Record labels do not know how to deal with the new media environment that they’re confronted with. They’ve made their fortunes selling plastic discs and now no one wants to buy plastic discs – they’re just trying to get their fingers in every other pie, but they’re so greedy and ignorant they’re not prepared to do what they have to do… All we’re trying to do is make something cool. Something that as a fan you’d say, ‘Hey, I want to have that’. If we can monetise it, then that’s fine, no problem.

You can read the full Guardian article on iPhone apps here, and the Wired Underwire blog has a great article on what  Reznor has done since leaving his label 18 months ago, including releasing music under Creative Commons licenses to encourage sharing and remixing, as well as harnessing social networking to create a fan community. It’s well worth the read.

MP3: Nine Inch Nails – Discipline [download/buy]


Musicians to follow on Twitter

April 2, 2009


Following musicians on Twitter is a fun way to get a peek into the life and minds of some of my favorite artists. If you haven’t seen it  yet, there is a gigantic spreadsheet of musicians on Twitter. But it’s (increasingly) hard to find artists who are interesting to follow.

In general, my criteria for who to follow are: i) it’s an artist that I like and respect, ii) their Twitter postings do not come via a PR firm, iii) they are more than just lists of upcoming gigs, iv) their posts are reasonably literate and grammatical, and (most importantly, and also most subjectively), they have interesting things to say.

Here are my three favourite artists that I’m following on Twitter:

@tedleo (Ted Leo, he of the Pharmacists): Not surprisingly, the hyper-articulate songwriter writes interesting Twitter posts, mostly a mix of the musical, political and the quotidian.

@trentreznor (Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails): I think one of my favorite tweets ever is Trent Reznor’s plaintive and clueless (and entirely leg-pulling) query about his screen going blue and freezing up, which I imagine elicited much sympathy and helpful advice.

@senatorcain (Chris Cain of We Are Scientists): Chris Cain’s Twitter postings are exactly as random as you would expect from him. They add a dash of surrealism to my day.

And the top three people I’d love to see on Twitter:

David Bowie. The real one, not the fake one with one update and nearly 12,000 followers.

John Darnielle, of the Mountain Goats. Although I’m not sure that the notably verbose Darnielle could say anything in less than 140 characters.

John K. Samson, of the Weakerthans. An excellent contender for the laurel of Canada’s Poet-Laureate, once Leonard Cohen decides he no longer wants the job.

Your turn – who do you follow, and why? And who would you like to see on Twitter?

MP3: Ted Leo – Since U Been Gone (Kelly Clarkson cover) [buy]


Tiered pricing for music

March 2, 2009

wkapWhy should all your fans pay the same amount and get the same thing? We’ve talked about name-your-own-price merchandise in the context of establishing and maintaining a relationship with your fans. Here’s the other side of it: tiered pricing for music and merchandise.

I’m a huge fan of The National. I own all their CDs and bought their DVD. In the last few years, I’ve seen them in concert in Montreal, Boston (two nights in a row), and New York, and I brought people with me to all the concerts. I just bought the benefit CD Dark Was the Night, largely because it was curated by Aaron and Bryce Dessner. And, well, that’s kind of the best I can do for them.

In contrast, Amanda Palmer and Nine Inch Nails both released albums that came with a wide range of extras and a corresponding range of prices. And Josh Freese is taking tiered pricing to its logical extreme, ranging from $7 for a digital download of his album to a $75,000 package that includes him joining your band (or being your personal assistant) for a month, a five-song EP written and recorded just for you, one of his drumsets, and more.  For all of these artists, what you choose to pay is therefore a combination of what you can afford, how appealing each package is to you, and how much you want to support the artist. In the days of distribution via physical outlets, this wouldn’t have been an option—there would simply be no way to make sure that the right mix of regular and premium versions would go to any given record store. With direct distribution, however, matching up a fan, a pricepoint, and a package is no problem.

While it’s not a very romantic image, it’s not dissimilar to what airlines do: they maximize their revenue by selling economy-class seats  at wide range of prices (ranging from full-price, walk-up seats to ultra-discounted seats sold through consolidators), which reflects what the purchaser is willing to pay. There are a couple of crucial differences, of course: one is that all of the seats are basically the same – once you’re on the plane, no one cares how much you paid for your seat, and the people who paid full price for their tickets don’t get anything extra. More importantly, in the context of art and artists, is that paying more money is not really reflective of a relationship. Much as I prefer JetBlue to its competitors, I’m not going to volunteer to pay extra for my seat to help support the airline. I would, however, pay for extra goodies to support an artist that I really like. And apparently, I’m not alone – the Who Killed Amanda Palmer? package that I wanted sold out while I was in a meeting that coincided with the preorder page going live (argh!), and Nine Inch Nail’s $300 Ultra-Deluxe Limited Edition of Ghosts I-IV sold out in 72 hours.

MP3: Amanda Palmer – Leeds United [buy]