Trent Reznor: Free The Music, Tax The ISP
January 10, 2008 at 4:33 PM (PT)
While RADIOHEAD has yet to divulge exact sales figures of its online retail experiment with its "In Rainbows" album, NINE INCH NAILS founder TRENT REZNOR went public with the results of his own online retail experiment -- and he's "disheartened" with the public's attitude towards the value of his music.
According to CNET NEWS, REZNOR bankrolled a collaboration with rap musician SAUL WILLIAMS on an album entitled "The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust." They offered it on their website on NOV. 1st, and suggested fans pay just $5 for it. Fewer than one in five people who downloaded it paid the $5. In his blog, REZNOR admitted that he was "disheartened" by the results.
Music should be looked at as free. The toothpaste is out of the tube and a whole generation of people is accustomed to music being that way
By putting it out himself, without the overhead of a major label, REZNOR thought that fans would embrace the product. "I thought ... here's the record in as great a quality as you could ever want ... and it's offered for an insulting low price, which I consider $5 to be, I thought that it would appeal to more people than it did," he told CNET NEWS. "That's where my sense of disappointment is ... the idea was wrong in my head and for once I've given people too much credit."
"It gets into the bigger picture that you've had to face as a musician over the last few years, which in my mind was a bitter pill to swallow," he added. "I think music should be looked at as free. The toothpaste is out of the tube and a whole generation of people is accustomed to music being that way. There's a perception that you don't pay for music when you hear it on the radio or MYSPACE."
How can a musician survive in this "brave no world" of sorts? "If there was an ISP tax of some sort, we can say to the consumer, 'All music is now available and able to be downloaded and put in your car and put in your iPOD and put up your a-- if you want, and it's $5 on your cable bill or ISP bill.'"
Save The CD?
Ironically, REZNOR now sees value in the CD. "Having a physical product is a good thing," he said. "I like the energy of release day, the excitement of watching blogs light up and bulletin boards. That's an important spike in attention ... there is a need for presence in physical retail"
While he remains a strong opponent of the corporate record business, REZNOR does see a need for big-time marketing and promotion. "To feel in control of your own destiny for a change, that's an incredibly liberating feeling," he said. "Where it needs to be worked out and fine-tuned is the right way to hopefully generate enough commerce from it to justify doing it and really working on the right way and right tone to get the word out to people that doesn't feel intrusive or old school.
"But at the same time there is a little bit of an element with SAUL's record of a tree falling in the woods ... not enough people knew it was out there."
Read the entire story here.