Tag Archives: piracy

Opinion – Nine Inch Nails: Whores or Scores?

I’ve always kind of struggled to see what’s so incredible about Nine Inch Nails. I mean, I don’t find Trent Reznor‘s music painful to listen to, but I’ve never really seen what so many people seem to find in it. And then when I do like something he comes out with, like the relatively anthem heavy ‘With Teeth‘ in 2005, it would seem that what I like is his poorest work to date.

But recently I’ve been giving the band a lot more of my time, encouraged by Reznor‘s selfless devotion to pleasing his fans and testing the mettle of the music industry since NIN and Interscope reached the end of their contractual obligations. He did it again this week, releasing another new album, The Slip’, out of nowhere completely free. It’s a brilliantly brave idea and one that at the moment I am struggling to get my head around.

The Slip Album Art

The free download of The Slip comes with a .pdf with album artwork.

Despite Radiohead’s internet release that even today still has people shouting a slew of compliments about them, it really has been Reznor who has taken the fight to the labels and is really pushing the boundaries to see just what happens when you go full out on experiements like these. A little earlier this year Reznor released Ghosts’ as both a free download (for only the first nine tracks) and offered alternate versions which involved payment, but saw you getting in excess of forty tracks of music.

Now, I think it’s bloody brilliant that someone like Reznor is doing something as groundbreaking as this. But I do have just one problem with it all, and that’s the question of whether what he is releasing is actually worth anything. To the die hard NIN fan, anything Reznor touches (including the Trent produced Saul Williams album, Niggy Tardust) is gold in their eyes, but to the average music fan is he proving that such proliference is beneficial or just a matter of throwing out half baked ideas that dilute the overall quality of an artist’s discography.

Nine Inch Nails in the studio recording The Slip

Reznor is a master of the internet, using it to entice and tease his fans. He also understands the usefullness of distribution methods such as .torrents.

It’s really an issue that has me in two minds. Personally I’ve found the new stuff Reznor has put out to be quite enjoyable so far, despite the sparseness of the ‘Ghosts’ soundscapes album. But I’m left wondering if all this is set to be as groundbreaking as Reznor believes it should be, or if people are just going to begin ignoring his output due to it’s consistency and risk of similarity.

I think at the moment, Reznor is just reaching the peak of the idea. The novelty is still there, and people are still intrigued to hear what he has on offer. Whether he is set to prove that this method of releasing albums is a viable way for the future is yet to be seen, but as it stands at the moment I hope that the experiment continues, and Reznore shows the record companies whom he despises so much where to shove it.

Opinion: Money.

What to begin with? Well, there’s always the popular topic of Radiohead, who after releasing In Rainbows to the world have been in the public eye more than the government, which I guess for them must be some small victory, but I think at this point the majority of people have grown fed up with the bombardement, so I’m going to avoid that metaphorical elephant.

Instead, I’m going to take a look at another musical giant, Pink Floyd, a band that have been in my ears for a very long time. Having a father who’s Pink Floyd collection consists of every studio album and every bootleg, every live show and released single, often multiple times over, there’s a certain inevitability that I have a great deal of respect for these now aging rockers (that and no decent christmas presents for years because the old man spends all his money on rare Japanese versions of the ‘Dark Side of the Moon’). However, having been disbanded so long, I can’t help but laugh when I found out yet another box is about to be released by publisher EMI. As if the overelaborate opulence of ‘Shine On’ wasn’t quite extravagant enough (or perhaps didn’t rake in enough money) or the re-release of the first album ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn‘ to coincide with the much publicised death of original vocalist Syd Barret didn’t sell quite well enough, the cash cow is being raped once again for evey last penny out of its worn, tired udders. So, for around a mere £149.99 you too can be the owner of every Pink Floyd album. Probably again.

Oh, you also get an awesome couple of posters. That’s totally worth the money. They’re collectable!

It baffles me. It really does. Here we are, just about near the end of 2007, where the music industry is fighting a war against music piracy and rapidly declining record sales and here, the big wigs at EMI, such as Guy Hands (who was absolutely lambasted by Thom Yorke in this months interview with the Observer Music Monthly) have decided the best way to combat these problems is to re-release the same old shit, with a different packet for a quick buck.

Time will tell when the recording industries wake up and smell the ashes of a failing market tactic. Downloads are (unfortunately) getting more and more popular among casual music listeners and piracy will never be stopped. It’s been no secret that Radiohead’s recent experiment has proven that there is another way of thinking within the industry. Next year is sure to be the year we see massive changes in how the business works. I look forward to seeing it crumble.