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Reznor Follows Radiohead, Offers Free Album

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the third-time-makes-it-real dept.


An anonymous reader writes "Convinced the current music business infrastructure (requiring artists to rely on labels) is broken, Nine Inch Nails front man, Trent Reznor, released his band's new album, Ghosts I — IV (Ghosts Volumes One though Four), on Sunday at 6 PM via his official site, marking yet another business experiment for this artist in the changing music market."

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Groan. (4, Funny)

Funkcikle (630170) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623170)

Ghosts I -- IV (Ghosts Volumes One though Four)

Gee, thanks for clearing that up. I thought it was some new direct injection content delivery method.

Re:Groan. (3, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623214)

Well, it is Trent Reznor after all..?

Piss off (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22624162)

He's been clean for years.

Not Typical NIN, Give It A Listen! (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623176)

From the site where this is hosted [] :

This music arrived unexpectedly as the result of an experiment. The rules were as follows: 10 weeks, no clear agenda, no overthinking, everything driven by impulse. Whatever happens during that time gets released as... something.

The team: Atticus Ross, Alan Moulder and myself with some help from Alessandro Cortini, Adrian Belew and Brian Viglione. Rob Sheridan collaborated with Artist in Residence (A+R) to create the accompanying visual and physical aesthetic.

We began improvising and let the music decide the direction. Eyes were closed, hands played instruments and it began. Within a matter of days it became clear we were on to something, and a lot of material began appearing. What we thought could be a five song EP became much more. I invited some friends over to join in and we all enjoyed the process of collaborating on this.

The end result is a wildly varied body of music that we're able to present to the world in ways the confines of a major record label would never have allowed - from a 100% DRM-free, high-quality download, to the most luxurious physical package we've ever created.

More volumes of Ghosts are likely to appear in the future.

- Trent Reznor, March 2, 2008
For those of you that don't like the same sounding music on an album or the yelling vocals, I heavily recommend downloading this and listening to it for free. I emphasized the "wildly varied" as some of this music is very cool calm and collected easy listening with very orchestral sounding builds.

I'm glad to see an artist as respected as Reznor do this. It kind of makes sense though, as you see this music only took him 10 weeks to do and doesn't have any vocals--lowering the number of takes and the difficulty of quality lyrics.

With the digital age and the ability to produce easily and quickly accessible DRM free music, we may see the beginning of a whole lot more material coming from artists with either an ad-based revenue or charging for particular tracks that required more studio time and refinement.

Alternative music.. alternative methods (1, Insightful)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623466)

Why, o why should the guys doing these kind of music the ones that embrace the new distribution methods? I ask this because I do not really like this kind of music. I was raised having to listen to bands like Nirvana (the only ones I liked), Pearl Jam, Silverchair, Thearpy?, NiN, Smashing Pumpkins and all that alternative/grunge (sorry if I do not know the *specific* genre) until I vomited because my older brother used to play it all day long. I myself prefer Metal of different sub-genres like heavy, speed, black, epic (gay Metal... if you count Rhapsody hehehe), and that kind of stuff... However so much for the "rebellious" nature of Metal... all the bands (the good bands at least) like getting screwed by the big corporations (not that they do not get anything back of course).

Oh well, I hope that this kind of actions serve as an example for other bands of other genres.

Re:Alternative music.. alternative methods (4, Informative)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623594)

You could check out Machinae Supremacy, Swedish band. []

Lots of free songs on their website, which is of course under reconstruction now when I checked it...

Re:Alternative music.. alternative methods (4, Interesting)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623742)

You could check out Machinae Supremacy, Swedish band. []

Thanks but, no thanks:
From wikipedia []
, the band's first commercial album was released in 2004 through MbD Records UK. The band is currently signed to Spinefarm Records
Also from wikipedia: []
Since 2002, Spinefarm has been part of Universal Music Group.

I am not looking for free music. I am looking for music distributed through non-RIAA channels (i.e., new distribution models).

Re:Alternative music.. alternative methods (4, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623798)

I second the Machinae Supremacy recommendation.

If you want something a little different, try some post-industrial music -- e.g. Combichrist, Funker Vogt, ... in fact, find Industrial Legacy vol 1 on the Pirate Bay. I bought 12 CDs because I found that mix, I think all except one were on a small record label.

At the moment, I can buy CDs from Americans on Amazon Marketplace for about £6, the price of two drinks in a bar in London, and they arrive in about two weeks. In the mean time, I'll listen to the download.

Re:Alternative music.. alternative methods (3, Informative)

cyxxon (773198) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623906)

Uhm, I always find that there are really a lot of interesting metal bands that are NOT on any major label... try Nuclear Blast, or Century Media. Non-RIAA, and a wide range of metal bands from all styles.

Re:Not Typical NIN, Give It A Listen! (4, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623572)

Not Typical NIN

Is there such a thing as "typical NIN"? Quake players cheered when we heard Reznor was doing the sound for Quake II, and they said the same thing, "not typical NIN".

I think that's one of the best things about that band - there is no such thing as "typical" NIN.

Re:Not Typical NIN, Give It A Listen! (3, Insightful)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22624086)

From your quoted section, it sounds like Reznor and the rest had some major jam sessions recorded and produced it for release. Stuff like this is probably rarely recorded, and if so, even more rarely released. A lot of good music is lost like that, because it's not "polished" for the labels or it is only played in bars, clubs, etc.

There are a few groups out there, when they jam, it's better than most other's "polished" releases.

Microsoft follows Radiohead (-1, Offtopic)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623184)

Offers free Vista.

Re:Microsoft follows Radiohead (5, Funny)

StingRay02 (640085) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623514)

Offers free Vista.
Gets no downloads.

Re:Microsoft follows Radiohead (5, Funny)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623582)

Well if that happened, there would be no reason not to switch to Linux. People say they use Windows because it costs money and therefore has value, while Linux is given away and therefore is worthless.

..and lets the users set the price they want... (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623598)

..and sees income shrivel up and die as much as their reputation has with vista.

Re:Microsoft follows Radiohead (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623602)

The difference is, nobody WANTS vista!

Re:Microsoft follows Radiohead (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623932)

you're modding me down, but if you notice, the equivalent of what Radiohead and Reznor are doing has been further away from happening than it is today. It was a joke, yes, but still, there are some points worth comparing.

To clarify (5, Informative)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623188)

To clarify, only the first 9 songs are available for free. The rest are still available a price well below what you could get anywhere legal.

Re:To clarify (5, Funny)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623238)

It's about time somebody came up with a method to get free music off the internet!

Re:To clarify (2, Funny)

monkeyboythom (796957) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623376)

If we are speaking of clarifications...then it must be admitted that Trent is not using this as a marketing gimmick but is really just trying to get anyone to listen to his stuff

Re:To clarify (3, Informative)

Danathar (267989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623560)

Actually, I think the entire set is under the creative commons license. The first nine are free off of the site, but technically it's legal to get the whole set from somewhere else if you want (please somebody check this as I'm not sure as well)

Re:To clarify (5, Informative)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623818)

Pirate Bay is an official distribution channel. (Yes, really [] .)

Re:To clarify (3, Informative)

\\ (118555) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623998)

The music is released under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike [] license. Doesn't that mean it is free to distribute for non commercial purposes by anyone as long as credit is properly attributed?

Reciprocity (4, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623192)

I can see this becoming a trend. Every headline about a band making millions in a matter of days by distributing their music online, is going to attract the attention of the other musicians. Eventually, they will catch on.

So what do you think will happen when more prominent artists start dropping the labels, realizing that they could make more money if they don't give 95% of their revenue away? I predict that the RIAA will tighten its grip, and try to work with Clearchannel to eliminate non-RIAA affiliated artists get in mass media (radio/TV). I don't think they are going to just sit around and let their cash cows drop out one-by-one.

Re:Reciprocity (5, Insightful)

gsslay (807818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623274)

Every headline about a band making millions in a matter of days by distributing their music online, is going to attract the attention of the other musicians. Eventually, they will catch on.
Unfortunately what works for Radiohead and NIN isn't necessarily going to work for other musicians.

For a start, they're not going to get tons of free publicity. Plenty of musicians already release their music for free, without expecting any payment. They don't get articles in slashdot. If lots of other musicians "catch on" they'll find the whole "band releases album on net" story is long past stale, no-one cares, and hundreds, never mind millions, aren't going to be made.

Re:Reciprocity (2, Interesting)

Xzarakizraiia (751181) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623500)

And why isn't there a site devoted to aggregating and promoting these albums that are getting released for free but with no publicity? I can imagine a site where you can legally, freely download music with a little "donate" button to pay the artists being wildly popular. MySpace already does this to a degree, but the social networking aspects of it (and the crappy music player) make it extremely bloated and not worth visiting.

Re:Reciprocity (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623546)

let me introduce you to Besonic [] , it used to be great and full of loads of really good artists, then they lost a HDD and probably lost most of the people they promoted over to myspace.

Re:Reciprocity (1)

Machine9 (627913) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623722)

well, as the saying goes:

Build it and they will come

I'd do it myself if I was in any way competent enough to do so (I can make you snazzy graphics though!)

Re:Reciprocity (1)

Machine9 (627913) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623768)

Reading my own comment...

Maybe the esteemed Mr. Reznor might be interested in organising/funding just that:

A great site where artists can have their free music aggregated and promoted (with perhaps a wonderful review system)

Of course in order to prevent metric tons of shite being on the site a rating system and strictly divided categories may be neccesary.

Re:Reciprocity (2, Informative)

ichthyoboy (1167379) | more than 6 years ago | (#22624020)

You mean like Jamendo [] ?

Re:Reciprocity (2, Insightful)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623516)

Exactly, its so lame when people think of this as some kind of revolution. Unsigned bands have always been doing it like this, and it has always been an economical failure for them. And when fewer bands go through the standard music industry, less money will be there for signing deals with small bands. That, in turn, means the barrier a small band has to cross before going professional gets even larger.

Re:Reciprocity (5, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623552)

Lots of those musicians (some of which I know personally or I bought a cd of them) don't play commercially either. They go to school and/or work and in their free time they make some high quality (good) music. If you buy their CD's direct, usually they'll throw in another CD or some other merchandise for free.

That's the way (in my opinion) music and a lot of other art should be made. In their free time while they also have a job either in or out the artistic/music business. If they are successful enough to live off the revenue generated from concerts and other stuff they make (if they're very successful) all the better for them, but at least THEY made it and you know they are good quality unlike the crap that is pushed now, some poor chap thinks he can sing and with a few hundreds of thousands in corporate backing he/she is promoted to death.

As soon as independent music starts to catch on, the radio stations will have to follow. Who'll listen to a radio station that has only some RIAA-promoted garbage on it while there are other sources that play high(er) quality music? It'll take a time but my last CD purchase from a promoted label was in 1999 and I know quite some people that do the same so next generation might be better off than us.

Re:Reciprocity (2, Interesting)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623592)

This is true and not true.

Each band will of course need to market themselves as they see fit and in line with what sort of audience they think they can get. Amazing artists won't have to try too hard (just hard enough to build a decent grassroots following) as their music will speak for itself... OTOH artists that are just another music group or yet another boy band (YABB) are going to find it difficult to stand out from the crowd and may end up needing to sign with a promotions company (a music label or touring company - the new label these days).

Amazing artists will still need to do the leg work that has been traditionally necessary to get the word out, ie: touring a lot, playing small venues, giving away the first album, etc. and will probably have to work day jobs in the beginning. BUT if they can hold off on becoming celebrities for a year or two and just work their butts off to get out there, they WILL find success and lots of money.

Re:Reciprocity (2, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623762)

hundreds, never mind millions, aren't going to be made.

modded -1, inaccurate. I have friends in many bands, and all have CDs they they sell at their shows, and all give away MP3s on the internet.

Most are making a living at it, albeit a modest one. One fellow that used to be my neighbor made so much mooney singing in bars with his band he quit his day job as a union carpenter!

The RIAA is no longer needed to record and distribute music. I suspect that the reason this century's music mostly sucks is that the labels can't get decent bands any more. I know my friend Joe Frewe was approached by two different labels and he told both of them to fuck off.

Someone commented on a comment I made in the last /. RIAA story and he included a link that unfortunately wasn't modded up (he posted it too late I think). Here's that fellow's link [] again; it fits here perfectly.


Re:Reciprocity (4, Insightful)

routerl (976394) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623802)

The free publicity is a function of the band/musician's pre-existing popularity. As you point out, releasing music online and for free does not generate publicity for unknown acts.

If a lot of famous musicians catch on, every one of their online releases will generate publicity simply because every one of their offline releases generates publicity. Maybe not slashdot, but music publications will certainly make a big deal of, e.g., the new Sheryl Crow record (example chosen due to its low probability).

The publicity problem with releasing music online is the same problem facing any online release of anything; you can only count on your work being found by people who are already looking for it. As for generating revenue, I am not yet familiar with a business model that works well, but each new experiment (i.e. first Radiohead, then Trent Reznor) leads to new alternatives and, in the spirit of science, if we keep experimenting we're bound to find something that works.

Rise of Internet Radio. (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623292)

I am going to guess what you say will happen, and Internet radio will start to take off even more than it has already. Someone will need to find a way to get channels repeated over the airwaves so we can get this in our vehicles as well. I really don't care much for Trent anymore, and begun to dislike his music when Broken came out. But if he offers free albums, I'll gladly take a listen to see if he's making music I might like again and offer up some cash if I like it. If not, no loss for me or him.

Re:Rise of Internet Radio. (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623408)

I don't think we need broadcast radio anymore. Most new cars have Audio in Jacks, or iPod specific jacks. Or you could just use the old cassette deck with those snazzy adapters. Just download the podcast of your choice, and plug into your stereo system.

Re:Rise of Internet Radio. (1)

glavenoid (636808) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623826)

I mostly agree with the exception of "Talk Radio" and News/weather/etc. Music FM stations are soon to become a thing of the past. And I mean sooner rather than later. Like in 5 years.

So what do you think will happen when more prominent artists start dropping the labels, realizing that they could make more money if they don't give 95% of their revenue away? I predict that the RIAA will tighten its grip, and try to work with Clearchannel to eliminate non-RIAA affiliated artists get in mass media (radio/TV). I don't think they are going to just sit around and let their cash cows drop out one-by-one.
First of all, they already do just that, however... In the past a band would record records in order to promote their concerts. Then at some point, the record companies decided there's more money in the records than the concert, so the idea changed - concert tours were instead used to promote records. I predict very soon the internet distribution of music will *truly* level the playing field between the indies and the major labels. At this point the major labels will revert to something like the concert-promoters they basically started out as. It's really the only sensible option they have if they want to 1. Stay relevant and 2. Stay in business.

Re:Rise of Internet Radio. (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623852)

I don't think we need broadcast radio anymore. Most new cars have Audio in Jacks, or iPod specific jacks. Or you could just use the old cassette deck with those snazzy adapters.
I've been in several cars whose head unit has only an audio CD player and an AM/FM radio, and many of these don't take CD-RW. And a decade ago I've been on a school bus with an FM radio and a blanket ban on portable audio players and other electronic devices not authorized by faculty or staff.

Re:Rise of Internet Radio. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623968)

Well, if all you have is FM radio, you can still transmit from your iPod to your car stereo via the FM transmitters you can buy.

Re:Reciprocity (3, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623644)

You still need promotion, experience, and funding. To a fresh-faced band that is just breaking out of their home town, the prospect of someone coordinating and fronting the money for a 500k dollar video + a 40 city tour is very attractive, especially if they can get said band into rotation on MTV and Clearchannel. They're hitmakers, and everyone wants to be a hit.

Labels will probably continue to have a place for a long, long time.

Re:Reciprocity (1)

jeffbax (905041) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623872)

Pennywise is also releasing their next album for free (via MySpace - shudder) later this month [] . Still, free nonetheless.

Community work (4, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623210)

In one community I hang out in (one full of musicians), a bunch of them get together each week and write a song on the spot, sometimes in an hour or so. They all work individually, and judge who came up with the best music. Looks like this fellow stumbled onto the same idea.

Re:Community work (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623738)

Probably the most amusing thing about this article is seeing Trent Reznor anonymously described as "this fellow".

Re:Community work (2, Interesting)

glavenoid (636808) | more than 6 years ago | (#22624004)

Reminds me of a story, er, legend really:

JS Bach and one of his contemporaries made a friendly wager (of a cask of very fine wine) one night over who could create the best music in the course of an evening. Since they were familiar with each other's music, they would know if the other was cheating, thus forfeiting the prize. After several new tunes, the inspiration was running a bit thin, and as no clear winner was apparent, they decided to drink a little of the wine. The improvisation challenge re-commenced, and continued on through the night, into the next morning composing fresh solo pieces, duets and arias until finally exhausted they decided that each other's compositions were equally good.
It was about then that they discovered the cask was empty, but agreed that a good time was had by all.

And, just to keep this on topic, Suck it, RIAA

Radiohead not the first (5, Informative)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623228)

Radiohead didn't come up with this idea. Harvey Danger did it back in 2005 and they probably aren't the first. Here's the Slashdot article: []

Anyway, this NIN album is very good. If you're anxious for it and the NIN servers are still too slow, Amazon's MP3 service has it for $5. Amazon finally released a Linux version of the downloader, btw.

Bad Summary - only part is free (2, Insightful)

ClarifyAmbiguity (683603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623232)

The summary's a bit off - I haven't read this article, but something I read earlier today said that there are several releases.
If I remember correctly:
1. The first part of the album (not the whole thing) is available as a free download.
2. The whole thing is available for download for $5.
3. A CD set is available (10-15ish?).
4. A deluxe, signed, and limited CD set is available ($75?).

So, yes, there is some music for free here, but it isn't the whole album, and this isn't exactly the same as Radiohead's release.

Re:Bad Summary - only part is free (3, Interesting)

Galaga88 (148206) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623290)

I'm not going to check the pirate bay from work, but I seem to recall that he posted that he expects that parts II-IV will be available for download from the same bittorrent network from which you get part I. I get the feeling that he doesn't really mind, and the stuff for sale is just for people who want to support him or get tangible goods in some way.

Re:Bad Summary - only part is free (2, Informative)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623312)

The summary's a bit off - I haven't read this article, but something I read earlier today said that there are several releases.
If I remember correctly:
1. The first part of the album (not the whole thing) is available as a free download.
2. The whole thing is available for download for $5.
3. A CD set is available (10-15ish?).
The 2CD set is $10, but when you check out it shows the shipping price: $6.99. That's a bit high...

4. A deluxe, signed, and limited CD set is available ($75?).
The signed one is $300. [] .

Trent has certaily changed (0, Offtopic)

Centurix (249778) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623252)

He's finally transformed into Henry Rollins, I always thought he was a skinny guy until I saw a recent photo.

You just did what?! (5, Funny)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623262)

Nine Inch Nails front man, Trent Reznor, released his band's new album

You should have seen the faces of the band!

Hey, that's my idea! (5, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623264)

Funny that Trent should do it, he was a regular at a nightclub in Chicago over a decade ago that I was a part owner in, and used to scream about the record label monopoly even back then. Wonder if he ever remembers it...

I've helped a few bands over the years break free from relying on the distributor monopoly by providing their easily-copied material for free, while providing hard to copy material at great cost (or higher cost). Bands should make their big money by providing the hardest to mimic items at the higher cost, and the easy to mimic items at a lower cost.

The hardest to mimic? Playing live. This is where bands should make their money -- performing for fans. Those of us who are not musicians make our money, generally, by ongoing work. We don't get paid for previous work (often), we get paid for current and future work. Bands should be no different.

Trent has a unique set of prices on his site: $5 for a download, $10 for a CD+download, $300 for a CD, 180gram LPs, a DVD with 36 tracks of each song (to remix), and a giclee printbook. Great idea. The multitrack DVD idea I came up with many years ago for bands to release to fans to remix. David Crowder Band is one band that did this to great acclaim (and even released a few of his fans' remixes).

Trent is ahead of the game. I'm prebuying the $300 kit because I want to support Trent's ideas, music, and astounding insight into why the RIAA and other monopolists have no place in the new digital world. If it can be copied easily, the price should fall to near zero. If it can't be copied easily, the limited supply should dictate the price based on whatever the demand level is. Supply and demand, the most important aspect of a market economy.

This is NO experiment for Trent, this is his step into the correct version of the current music market. He doesn't need monopolized distribution from the RIAA, he has distribution. Even small bands are doing just fine distributing their music via iTunes, and touring, touring, touring. Selling t-shirts (which can be copied, but are a hassle to do a dozen cheaply), giving away hundreds of stickers for fans' cars (cheap), selling albums (LPs, impossibly expensive to duplicate), signing posters, and other options are a great way to provide a consistent income. Touring just 8 months a year, a few bands I've consulted with are already pushing nearly $50k per year per member in profit. Yes, it is hard work. Isn't what you're doing hard work, too?

Re:Hey, that's my idea! (1)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623358)

I know guys who'd go nuts for the remixing bundle. Former manager of mine loved remixing, came in 2nd place in a madonna remix contest a few years back. Heck, I'm plotting on buying the vinyl, my preferred medium.

Re:Hey, that's my idea! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623850)

The remixing thing isn't new for NIN either. There was a /. article about them releasing a GarageBand project file of one of their tracks a while ago for people to remix. The license was fairly restrictive, as I recall, but did allow you to play a bit.

Re:Hey, that's my idea! (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623484)

Funny that Trent should do it, he was a regular at a nightclub in Chicago over a decade ago that I was a part owner in, and used to scream about the record label monopoly even back then. Wonder if he ever remembers it...

Out of curiousity, which club was that?

Re:Hey, that's my idea! (2)

dada21 (163177) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623864)

We ran the Nexus at Aftermath over on Evergreen. Long gone, now, but those were the good days when Industrial was "fresh" and artists were everywhere unemployed. Wonder who has that domain name now... I can't even remember what it was. The club's first site was at, scary.

Re:Hey, that's my idea! (1)

Pirulo (621010) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623854)

I agree, free mp3s, and lets get back to LPs as paying for something that sounds better.

Re:Hey, that's my idea! (3, Interesting)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623868)

The hardest to mimic? Playing live. This is where bands should make their money -- performing for fans.

Why? What about the Beatles? Their best music was made after they were able to stop performing live and concentrate on making albums. Dvorák didn't get up and wow the crowds with his latest number. Selling music has dominated the industry for centuries, it seems to have done a pretty good job of it.

Anyway, concerts come out after albums for a reason - nobody would want to pay $80 to see big-time rockers in a stadium if it wasn't for the promotional powers of the RIAA labels, and their ability to manufacture successful singles. Saying the music should be free and then the concerts would be the source of revenue ignores that indie musicians often give their music away freely, often have concerts that are cheaper and more interesting than big-rock-stadium concerts, and yet don't make very much money at it. Most of their money comes from selling CDs and other merchandise at the concerts.

It's hypocritical to bring up NIN or Radiohead. These are two bands who got big and made millions of dollars in the studio system, and now that their deals have expired, are able to cash in even more. Good for them, but more than anything this validates the studio system, it doesn't show any sort of new alternative.

Encryption (5, Funny)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623278)

Users couldn't figure out how to decrypt it until they figured out that the music was suppose to sound like that.

ok, bad joke. I've got a bad case of the Mondays.

Buy to support (1)

devilsandy (556014) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623284)

I will definitely buy it just to support the cause. I am not a big fan of NIN but liked a couple of songs from their previous albums. Just my two cents

A synopsis of TFA (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623298)

Free: First 9 tracks $5: Download of 36 instrumental tracks, MP3 (320kbps), FLAC (CD Quality), and AAC for the fanbois (Choice of one only) $10: 2 CD boxed set, 16 page booklet (Available 8th APril) $75: Hard cover slipcase with 2 x CD's, 1 x DVD with $5 package, all formats, and Blu-Ray disc with all tracks in high-def audio with accompanying slideshow of album art. $300: NIN fanboi package. $75 package + (2500 only) 4 x Vinyl discs, 2 limited run posters, signed by Trent.

excellent design, except for slashdotting (4, Interesting)

Bored MPA (1202335) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623314)

Offers multiple formats, and multi packages, and a free sampler (the free one which includes 9 tracks) so he can get a better idea of what's going on and also make money (the full download is 5 dollars).

A lot of people downloaded In Rainbows without paying because they didn't know or actually like radiohead, not just because they were free riders. Trent set the price low enough and provided enough options that he'll have a better idea of who likes his music and what they want -- people not familiar with him will sample and move on, but those that like the work will have to choose between waiting for bittorrent or paying a cheap 5$.

addendum (1)

Bored MPA (1202335) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623882)

unfortunately the economics of this (user time vs cash) is currently that it's more cost efficient AND less frustrating to grab the torrent because the distribution infrastructure /store isn't robust enough yet.

This is actually his second attempt at this process (did it with saul williams in Nov)

Starting to figure it out. (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623316)

Finally, these bands are starting to figure it out. No, not the whole online distribution thing, but the how to do it well thing. I think this is the first offer I've seen like this where you can actually listen to it and sample without opting for the free download. Also, the pricing seems right. $5 for the download album is pretty respectible. However, $10 for the 2CD set makes it really tempting to get the actual CD.

thanks (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623334)

thanks a lot slashdot.

I've been trying to download the flac version of this album all night, and the servers are already struggling to keep up. now that the sites been slashdotted, im sure my download experience will be even better!

actually, i'm impressed, this website succumbed to the slashtod effect 5 hours before it even made the front page. this year zero style time displacement stuff hurts my brain!

Re:thanks (1)

Helmholtz (2715) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623398)

That's because it's not just the slashdot effect ... the story landed on digg last night, and shortly after the order site buckled.

why didn't he (1)

Bored MPA (1202335) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623404)

torrent the free sampler?

Re:why didn't he (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623834)

he did. []

Now that we're no longer constrained by a record label, we've decided to personally upload Ghosts I, the first of the four volumes, to various torrent sites, because we believe BitTorrent is a revolutionary digital distribution method, and we believe in finding ways to utilize new technologies instead of fighting them.

We encourage you to share the music of Ghosts I with your friends, post it on your website, play it on your podcast, use it for video projects, etc. It's licensed for all non-commercial use under Creative Commons.

Re:why didn't he (1)

lazy_playboy (236084) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623860)

Why not torrent for the whole lot? It's all been released under a creative-commons license after all.
Go back and pay your $5 when the site is back up if you like it.

Re:why didn't he (1)

lsolano (398432) | more than 6 years ago | (#22624048)


After around 10 attempts of wget -c, I have only downloaded 2Mbytes.

Instrumental (1)

jj00 (599158) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623354)

Just in case anyone hasn't noticed, this album is just an instrumental album. No lyrics... I'm happy to see the ability to listen to some of the tracks before I decide to buy, but I don't think I'll be buying this one.

This experiement shall prove my assertions I hope. (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623428)

For quite some time, I have been asserting that when fans really like the product, they want to buy it in hard form so that they can look at it, read it and hold it in their hands.

I'm going to predict that while the "product sales" will not quite match the historical model's returns, the artists themselves will see a HUGE difference in their profits from this.

I'm hopeful that this represents a shift back to the way things SHOULD be where the copyright holders are the artists themselves and the promotions and marketing people are essentially just contractors.

Shareware (1)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623432)

This volume follows the shareware model, absolutely.

I wonder if Reznor looked at the model for Doom / Quake and realized how fast it spread. I wonder if him and Carmack ever bounced the idea back and forth way back in the Quake days.

Anyhow, good show.

FLAC (1)

TheRealZeus (1172755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623458)

its great to see an open format becoming the audio format of the future

Re:FLAC (0, Offtopic)

CrashNBrn (1143981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623706)

Perhaps, but in all my tests Wavepack beats FLAC hands down. * Slightly smaller file sizes, and * Encodes from wav in mere seconds... Compared to the agonizingly long time FLAC takes to process. WAVPACK Hybrid Lossless Audio Compressor Win32 Version 4.41.0 Copyright (c) 1998 - 2007 Conifer Software. All Rights Reserved. creating Joss Stone_2004_Mind Body & Soul_01_Right to Be Wrong_R&B.wv, 0% done created Joss Stone_2004_Mind Body & Soul_01_Right to Be Wrong_R&B.wv in 5.69 sec s (lossless, 40.57%) Press any key to continue . . .

NIN Official torrent (4, Informative)

Bored MPA (1202335) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623472)

He actually did torrent the free as in beer sampler (9 tracks). Please don't slashdot the site if you just want to check the sampler out. []

The full 36 tracks are 5$. And are licensed under creativecommons for non-commercial copy/share/perform.

Re:NIN Official torrent (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623966)

He could have put that on the first page.

But noooooooo, you have to click through a dozen pages, figure out that you need to click on "order" the get the free,/b>stuff, enter an email address, pass a captcha, go check your inbox, go back to the site again to get the download....

So no, don't download the torrent, go to the site and slashdot it. Let's see if these morons will ever learn what "free download" means.

Creative common (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22623532)

The album is in creative common so you can legally download the all albun on bittorrent website

Trent Reznor and Saul Williams (2, Informative)

Bipedal Shark (1210600) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623556)

Trent Reznor already has some experience with this sort of delivery method. Saul Williams's The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! [] was a semi-collaboration with Reznor.

mod parent up (2, Informative)

Bored MPA (1202335) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623704)

they tested this out last year with a free/5$ setup

interesting that they moved to sample/5$

Server (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623586)

Let's just hope Trent's servers are better than Radiohead's.

Re:Server (1)

urbanriot (924981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623752)

Doesn't look that way... server's are unavailable and I've been unable to download this album since the original post was made. times out.

DON'T *TRY* TO BUY ... at least right now! (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623588)

Here's the story : I like NIN, I love the idea, I like the tracks I was able to listen to, so I actually bought the album (downloadable 5US$). First hickup (apart from an abysmaly slow server)was when their site rejected my credit card due to an "invalid expiration date". I then tried, which also offers the tracks for the same price ... sadly I'm not a US resident, so wasn't allowed to buy. Then I went the Paypal way ... same credit card as before, and mysteriously they didn't have anything against the expiration date.
"cool" I thought to myself, followed the promptly mailed download link, selected FLAC as format, kind of grunted when I saw the "one time download" notice, pressed the "OK" button ... and ended up on a blank page.
Reloading brought me promptly (as in : this is apparently the only page that isn't slashdotted) to a page stating that I had exceeded my download limit and was not entitled to download the files ~again~ (?!?)

A mail to their support is already on the way, but I'd advise everybody who wants to buy the album to wait a few days before doing so, to give them to sort out their many problems (for some of which I presume /. is actually one of the cause;)

Autographed work of art for $300??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22623652)

I equate this purchase to buying a signed painting for $300, after all, nobody would think twice about that and most paintings aren't created by anyone near as influential as this man. This is a bargain. I'm anxiously awaiting for it to arrive in May and I'll build a display case for it.

You've missed the important part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22623658)

From the FAQ [] :

"Ghosts I-IV is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license."

This goes way beyond what Radiohead did. Those torrents that you see on Pirate Bay are perfectly okay. But, I'll certainly give the man money for doing this.

Server torture (2, Funny)

Tiger (9272) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623680)

All I can say is... thank god for "wget -c". Their server room must be filling with smoke as I speak.

Re:Server torture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22624084)

Parent is informative, not funny. (Moderators!)

Safari stops after about 1megabyte.

wget also stops, but wget -c repeatedly will download the 82mB file.

Not new for Reznor (1)

laurier57 (1181021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623712)

Just a couple months ago he collaborated with Saul Williams on the NiggyTardust album (The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!) which was released for free or pay.

Need more to follow suit. (1)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623746)

One of the primary complaints I had about online music sales (outside of the DRM limitations) was that they only offer a facility to sell the actual tracks; there's no way to bundle extras with the purchase (besides maybe a video, which the store also offers). The iTunes Music Store is especially guilty of this in that they are forcing the labels and artists to play by their rules. I really wish there was an online music store that not only offered DRM-free tracks, but also bundled artwork with them and offered the ability to order the physical CD, but download DRM-free tracks immediately so you don't need to wait for little (like $1) or no extra cost.

Looking at what NIN is offering, I feel that the price points are well set and I will be buying the $5 bundle. I'm tempted to buy the $10 bundle so I get physical CDs, but when 320kbps MP3s are available for $5, I question my need for physical media.

The availability of the PDF booklet and other art is spectacular and I really wish it was possible to get high-res album art more regularly with album purchases; even if they are just the cover. Some album covers are really nice (Pig Destroyer's "Phantom Limb" and Agoraphobic Nosebleeds "Beastial Machinery" to name just two.), and I wish I could purchase high resolution digital copies of the art with the albums.

Early Evolutionary Step in Survivals Direction (1, Troll)

flyneye (84093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623796)

Radiohead set a good precident. Good for Trent,he's finally beginning to see the light. He used to be a hardliner for industry methods from all I've heard him say in the past.

          It doesn't take much thought to see that the music industry is dying like a dinosaur on a glacier. It hasn't adapted and because of the consensus of stockholders(who invest in stock in other industries that performs as per the safe usual) is needed for evolution,it will continue to reach for extinction.
          P2P isn't so much the death of the industry as it's own corruption is. The information age is merely hastening it.People and artists are tired of artists being ripped off,chewed up and spat out in the name of marketing convenience.
          Cyber-space has recursively proved what happens in meat-space; sound travels freely and longs to be free like information. You may be able to charge someone for labor done or the right to take up physical space in a venue, but music permeates not unlike the air we breath.That leaves revenues to be made from performance or product packaged for convenience.Slashdot recently featured an article on Kevin Kellys article on the necessary evolutionary changes needed for various I.P. []
          Of course with this the middleman (music industry and its mafiaa) is obsolete. This may leave some without a convenient career but in the words of Caddyshacks Judge Smales "Well,Danny,the world needs ditchdiggers too". Obviously,I have little sympathy for an industry that has smothered more talent than it's featured and force fed the public crap(think disco era assembly line production amongst even more modern crimes)in the name of marketing convenience for maximum profit.
          Music is a living,breathing entity that manifests itself through musicians. As such it must honor the physical laws that govern us all: ADAPT OR DIE,being the relevant one in this case. It has, the music industry being a synthetic entity manifested by the ever shifting laws of commerce hasn't. Therefore it is like a parasite that music has evolved an immunity to ,and robbed of its food source is dying. Oh well.

Re:Early Evolutionary Step in Survivals Direction (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22624088)

Actually, Trent Reznor was quoted saying something like "f*ck the industry! download and share my album, then buy t-shirts and come to see me" during a concert when "Year Zero" came out. That was prior to Radiohead. And as many have already pointed out, he did a "get it free or pay if you want" thing with Saul Williams in November.

The Radiohead album was *NOT* "free" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22623810)

I think the article title really distorts the spirit of the Radiohead album's release. Radiohead was not saying "take this album for free", they were saying "pay for this what you think it is worth". While I am sure many people wanted to test the waters of the arrangement and decided to download the album without paying anything, that is outside the spirit of the release.

Despite what the article title says, making music is still a commercial enterprise. Yes - these bands want to make money -- preferably a lot of it -- on their album sales. Currently they get most of their money from touring, because labels and production houses take a fine cut. Radiohead is just trying to change the equation here, NOT give away music.

Yes there are musicians that release their albums for free online. Radiohead was not one of them.

The Music Market (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623840)

I'd like to see what happens when some business minded individual (such as Trent) decides to create a corporation and offer it up for an IPO to the public.

Basically the idea is to fund the production of each album using other people's money and then of course investors get to share it the proceeds.

The labels do this, why not the artists? Certainly there is a lot of legal overhead and a new set of laws and fiduciary duties to the shareholders, etc etc but that's a real business for you....

how dare that motherfucker give it away! (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623848)

Does he not realize that there are business models at stake here? Listen here, you little cockstain: you're our dancing monkey. You dance when we tell you to how we tell you to. We're not paying you peanuts, we're paying you peanut shells and you're going to yum them up, smack your lips and say "Please, sir, may I have some more!" You're going to do this or we'll fuck and chuck your sorry ass out the door and bring in some new wide-eyed innocent ten years younger and dumber than you and build them up to be the new you. You hear that, you shit, you worm, you groveling clown? You are a commodity, a consumable, something that is used up and replaced by an interchangeable part. You stand up to us and we'll pound your ass until you're shitting blood. This is our industry, our money, and you are nothing, nothing!!!

This message brought to you by the RIAA. Go out and buy something, you mindless sheep.

This isn't Trent's first attempt at this... (1)

JohnSearle (923936) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623874)

He has also been influencing other bands (or at least one other artist that I know) to adopt this method. Saul Williams [ [] ] collaborated with Trent on his newest album The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust [ [] ], which was given away for free online, with the option to donate, of course.

Looks like Trent might have been testing the waters before he launched himself (so to speak), which might also be a testament to the viability of this method. If it didn't work at all for lesser known artist like Saul Williams, then I doubt Trent would be declaring this method 'the future.'

- John

Real significance: Free as in Freedom (5, Insightful)

chainLynx (939076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623938)

TFSummary (and TFA) leaves out the most important part about this news: that the album is free as in freedom, not just free as in beer. It's released under a creative commons license, which means that he (or the **AA) can't go after you if you share the album online. AFAIK, this is the first high-profile album release under a CC license (I don't believe Radiohead's was under a CC license).

Submission title is misleading (1)

benjamin_pont (839499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623970)

I don't think it's being offered as 'free''s being made freely available on his website and hopefully people will pay up voluntarily.

I forgot to mention... (1)

JohnSearle (923936) | more than 6 years ago | (#22623992)

It looks like in a followup to Radiohead's In Rainbows, which was also released for free, the group AmpLive has released their album for free.

The interesting thing about this is not only did they just released it for free, but it looks like there might have been a bit of a legal issue in which Radiohead issued a cease and desist to the group. From the article [] :

After a cease and desist order, it seemed certain that Amplive's remix of Radiohead's In Rainbows would never see a official release. Fortunately, both sides have come to an agreement, and Amplive's Rainydayz Remixes is now available for download.
It almost would appear that Radiohead was acting under some kind of open music philosophy, where they are allowing alteration to their free album with neither AmpLive nor Radiohead directly profiting from the alteration. But I'm obviously just speculation as to what happened...

Album is available for download from here: []

- John

Direct Link (2, Informative)

dlim (928138) | more than 6 years ago | (#22624142)

It's a little late, but here's the official site [] . I clicked the link to the article, and most of my browser window was an ad. I had to scroll down to even scan (not read) TFA. Lame.
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