You have to feel bad for the guy, and the way his arguably more innovative digital-distribution methods keep getting lost in the shuffle over to peoples’ regular Radiohead-worshiping sessions… until you realize that his rabid fanbase probably isn’t going to desert him en masse just because he didn’t happen to bring home some hardware for Best Deluxe Edition Packaging last night. (He wouldn’t have brought it home anyway, given that he was “NOT going to the fucking Grammys.”) [Twitter via MusicRadar]
Posts tagged "Nine Inch Nails"
Hey, did you know that Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts I-IV was the top-selling digital album on Amazon MP3 last year? You might if you read the music press recently, as people are wont to hail and huzzah Trent Reznor for even so much as taking a Webcam photo of himself these days. Much is being made of the fact that Ghosts, which sold for $5 via Amazon’s online shop, was available for free digitally from Reznor’s Web site yet still topped a retailer’s charts; so much, in fact, that people are concluding that making something free is a path—if not the path—to profitability. Which is a false conclusion for a whole mess of reasons, including, as LostTurntable reminds us in the comments to this very post, the fact that all 36 tracks of the album were never available for “free” in the first place.
Yes,only the first nine tracks of the 36-track album were free when it initially came out; the $5 download price was the same on nin.com and Amazon. So this Reznorian triumph is even less of a big deal than initially thought!
Never mind that “No. 1 on the Amazon MP3 store in 2008″ is a lovely little statistic to throw out in a late-night TV ad, but what does it really mean? Amazon’s lack of hard numbers is pretty telling here—I can tout Never Shout Never’s “Yippee” being No. 1 on this week’s SoundScan singles chart without telling you that if someone else had sold 918 copies, they’d have beaten “Yippee” by a nose—and the fact of the matter is that no matter what Amazon sold, the total’s going to be dwarfed by the Reznor-hawked first-week total of 781,917 “transactions.” There was also the matter of Nine Inch Nails’ site being slammed when Ghosts was released, thus making the Amazon MP3 alternative attractive to the impatient.
Just as important here is the idea of the casual fan, the fan who may not be as plugged in to the Nine Inch Nails Internet universe and thus not aware of, say, all those HD torrents of concert footage released earlier this week. Those of you who lived through the ’90s may remember that Nine Inch Nails was a pretty big band at the time! It’s not much of a stretch to think that there are people out there, even in our hyperconnected hypertechnological age, who don’t live and breathe online and who, thus, might have been surprised when they came across a new release by a band they liked while browsing Amazon for a deal on Super Mario Galaxy.
It’s important to remember that the lack of, or maybe I should say lack of mainstream cultural placement of, promotion given to new releases is constructing a huge blind spot where recently issued product almost doesn’t exist for people outside of the superfan/Internet bubble. Over the past few weeks I’ve had friends express surprise when I mentioned new releases by the likes of AC/DC and Taylor Swift. The AC/DC ignorance I’m writing off because the person in question lives in the Wal-Mart-free backwater of New York City, but Taylor Swift?! Sure, this shouldn’t be all that shocking given free-falling sales numbers and the decimated state of music retail, but it’s a very real problem that hasn’t been addressed during the great roll-up of every piece of inventory into one dusty Wal-Mart aisle. And Reznor’s ability to keep the interest of those casual fans who liked him back when is probably more attributable to his album’s (relative) retail success than any server-crippling distribution schemes.
The Internet keeps putting me in a bad mood [Google Blog Search]
(NB: This post was revised after LostTurntable pointed out the very germane fact regarding Ghosts‘ actual price. I’m a dope for not reading my own damn archives more closely. Get the Dear Abby Wet Noodle out!)
In the decade after 1994′s The Downward Spiral made Nine Inch Nails a household name, Trent Reznor cultivated a reputation as a reclusive perfectionist of nearly Chinese Democracy-level procrastination, releasing just one bloated double album, 1999′s The Fragile. And though 2005′s With Teeth hinted at a leaner and more workmanlike model of NIN, nobody could’ve predicted the accelerated pace at which Reznor would begin releasing music after completing his Interscope contract.
In March, the instrumental double album Ghosts I-IV was dropped into the digital ether with no prior announcement, and before that feast could even be digested, a more traditonal NIN album, The Slip, debuted in May. If Ghosts was the for-fans-only indulgence a major label never would have approved, then The Slip is the humble, concise 40-minute album Reznor never would have let himself make while he was Interscope’s cash cow. And both albums benefit from a wider variety of instrumental textures and clearer production aesthetic than 2007′s sonically muddy and conceptually overloaded Year Zero.
Much hand-wringing can be done about whether Rezor followed “the Radiohead model” or if he improved upon it. But it remains remarkable that an artist long thought past his prime was able to make his music better, cheaper, more plentiful and more profitable in one fell swoop.
So, how does the currently in vogue “bands will make all of their money on the road” model work in a time of economic uncertainty? Perhaps we should ask Trent Reznor, who many people have held up as a paragon of “making it work” in the current “paying for records”-averse climate, and whose recent show in Columbus was marked by the arena’s top tier being roped off and tickets being discounted to $17 at the last minute. (I’m sure some Pangloss 2.0 out there will swoop in and tell me that there’s a good reason for this, or that he’s making it up in merch or something, but really, if the top-tier bands are booking shows in places where they have to engage in last-minute price-slashing, what does it mean for everyone else?) [DoneWaiting]
Halloween is only four days away! Although the fun is rapidly being sucked from the whole holiday thanks to church-sponsored “Harvest Festivals” and the jackass who thinks a “FBI: Female Body Inspector” t-shirt is a costume, we hope to help you, the reader, inject a bit more excitement into the celebration with some costume ideas from your favorite music videos.
7. Van Halen, “Hot For Teacher”
Fast forward (or the internet equivalent) to 2:14. See those orange suits? Wearing one of those says “I’m classy, but totally ready to party.” You can thank me later.
6. Peter Gabriel, “Sledgehammer”
“Sledgehammer” isn’t just a groundbreaking video, it’s an endless source of costume ideas that you’ll be forced to explain to people all night long. Train track around your neck? Hilarious! Guy with clay hammers for hands? Edgy! Peter Gabriel made out of fruit? Possibly too difficult.
5. Big & Rich, “Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy”
Country music seems like a wealth of costume ideas (who wouldn’t be impressed by your “Waylon Jennings In The ’70s” costume?), although you may want to figure out your friends’ political sensitivities before dressing up like John Rich.
4. Nine Inch Nails, “Only”
A costume should really be graded on a creativity to price ratio. Anyone can spend a ton of money and have an exceptional costume. The guy who buys one of those pin toys from Target and goes as Trent Reznor from the “Only” video is frugal and, as a bonus, appears to be in touch with his emotions.
3. B-Rock, “My Baby Daddy”
Can you rustle up an old cell phone, a fancy hat, and a sweatshirt from the ’90s? Then you can be T-Bird from the “My Baby Daddy” video, and you can thank me later.
2. R.E.M., “Pop Song 89″
Of course, if the whole process of choosing a costume ends up being too stressful, you can always just put some large black stripes on your pants, take your shirt off, and move your body around like it’s “Pop Song 89.” (Ladies might want to splurge for some black oaktag, too.) Not the most relevant of costumes, but hey, it’s affordable.
1. L’Trimm, “Cars With The Boom“
I haven’t provided many options for the ladies, but I think this suggestion makes up for it. Find yourself a friend, hit up Forever 21 and Claire’s with a sharp eye, and you have yourself Tigra and Bunny costumes. Who doesn’t enjoy the cars that go boom? (Note: This costume might go over better in the greater Miami area.)
Although I can’t imagine anyone needing an idea other than the ones I’ve provided, feel free to offer your music video derived suggestions in the comments.
Trent Reznor will soon offer up a Nine Inch Nails edition of the iPhone/iPod Touch rhythm game Tap Tap Revenge. His version will not be free, though $4.99 is not exactly a king’s ransom for the pleasure of tapping along to the 7/8 beat on “March of the Pigs”… oh, wait! The tracks will only come from Nine Inch Nails’ last two records. The game will also feature a NiN theme, which means that we can expect lots of primary colors, happy clouds, and chirping bug-eyed animals. Reznor really is to be commended to be one of the more “with it” artists out there from a business perspective. The guy sees an opportunity to make money and delight his fairly obsessive fans, and he goes for it. Dude needs to have a talk with Angus Young. [Macworld]
Earlier today, the R&B blog SoulBounce came up with an idea we’re kicking ourselves for not having come up with first: the editors’ and their friends’ (and their comments box’s) choices for the “Universally-Adored Soul Classic That [They] Hate.” (Funniest moment: site editor nOvaMatic’s dis of Frankie Beverly and Maze’s “Before I Let Go,” one of two: “My god, is this song potato salad? Must it be at every Black gathering?” Funny it appears here so soon after they named it one of the all-time greatest soul songs, but then nOva didn’t write that one.) We like this idea so much that we’ve decided to rip it off, using a different category. After the jump, we’ll will pick our Universally Adored (or so it seems) Alt-Rock Classics We Hate.
Michaelangelo Matos: I have never understood the appeal of Nine Inch Nails. Oh wait, yes I have, because I was 12 once. That’s about the time where you need to leave the pettier of your emotions at the door, but no one told Trent Reznor, and he’s made a mountain of cash from them. “Closer” is one of those records I gave up actively hating a long time ago simply because you can’t fight anything that ubiquitous without expending more energy than it’s worth, but dear god what an awful song. I’m glad everyone got their little getting-away-with-saying-fuck-tee-hee buzz, but do we need to be repeatedly subjected to this insufferable plod all these years later?
Maura Johnston: I’ll rep for Nirvana, sure. Hearing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time was revelatory, their “worst live show” ever that I saw in Chicago in the early ’90s was gut-wrenching, and much of Nevermind still packs a punch today. But I’ll never understand why “Come As You Are” has stood the test of time as it has–with its moaning vocals and plodding rhythm, it damn near provided the template for every third-rate alt-rock band that flooded the airwaves in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s suicide. You’d think “In Bloom” would have been the non-”Spirit” track that kept getting spins, but I guess people weren’t comfortable with wondering if they could have been the people who knew not what Cobain’s cryptic lyrics meant.
Dan Gibson: Somehow, waiting for a new Stone Roses album for five years performed some trickery on my mind during the interval as I waited like everyone else for the band’s escape from a label imposed exile. I idolized the Stone Roses, forgetting that I didn’t really enjoy the act’s most famous song, “Fool’s Gold”. Still, the track comes up on nearly every Brit list of essential tracks, while I sit on the sideline muttering something about the genius of Shaun Ryder.
What’s yours? Answers, as always, in the comments.
Nine Inch Nails has postponed tonight’s show in Worcester, Mass., because Trent Reznor has been suffering from a “recurrent throat ailment,” the second time in a week that said illness has resulted in a last-minute rescheduling. (Saturday’s show at the Target Center in Minneapolis was rescheduled to late November; the band’s US tour opened on July 26.) “Just want to personally say how sorry I am to have to do this. I never take postponing a show lightly and if there were any possible way I could pull this off I would. This is a very frustrating and maddening situation for me and I appreciate your understanding. I’ll make it up to you,” Reznor said on his official site. Here’s hoping he isn’t going the “pay what you like” route for his health insurance… [nin.com]