He’s been threatening it for a while, but finally Trent Reznor has put his money where his mouth is, and is ‘doing a Radiohead’ (late-2007’s most popular phrase), by releasing 36 instrumental tracks purely on the internet, with optional price sets.
Most of the casual Nine Inch Nails fans will no doubt go for the freebie option, ‘Ghosts I’, which is the first nine tracks from his Ghosts I-IV collection. They’re available as DRM-free MP3s along with a 40-page PDF. Going up the pricing ladder, for $5 you can buy Ghosts I-IV, which is all 36 tracks, then for a tenner you’ll get a double-disc set with a 16-page booklet, plus a download of the album for lazies who can’t be bothered to rip the CDs. This option won’t be available until April 8th, however.
Now, here’s where the hardcore NiN followers prick up their ears: $75 will secure you the ‘deluxe’ edition of Ghosts I-IV which will be in a hardcover fabric case, with two audio CDs, one data DVD, a download of the album, plus Blu-ray disc of the tracks, in 96kHz/24-bit quality. You’ll have to wait until May 1st for this.
If money is still burning a hole in your pocket, then Reznor’s ‘ultra-deluxe limited edition package’ for $300 may be what you’re after, which includes everything in the previous set, plus four LPs packaged in fabric casing and two limited edition Giclee prints. There are only 2,500 of these, which will be available come May 1st.
You’d think that in offering the album for free, legally, Reznor wouldn’t have a problem with people pirating the album instead. According to The Register, The Pirate Bay has eight thousand downloads of the album. This may however be due to everyone swarming onto his legal downloads, slowing them down to just 10kbit/s, whereas on The Pirate Bay, you can download a 320kbit/s version in 15minutes.
Reznor hasn’t made any comments via his usual form of communication (the NiN website) about the piracy, although if he takes a stance against it, it would be in direct contrast to his outburst when performing at a concert in Australia. When asking the crowd whether his latest album was still priced at $30, he shouted “well you know what that means. Steal it. Steal away. Steal, steal and steal some more and give it to all your friends and keep on stealing. Because one way or another these mother f—ers [record label Universal Music Australia] will get it through their head that they’re ripping people off and that’s not right.”
Whether he supports his fans ripping him off is a whole other kettle of fish, obviously.
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