I wrote about Ghosts I-IV a couple of months ago. Nine Inch Nails made the first 25% of their new double album available for free on P2P and BitTorrent, and offered the rest for just $5.
Today Nine Inch Nails have released yet another album. This time, payment isn’t even an option. It’s all free, in everything from MP3 to 24-bit/96 KHz WAV files (higher quality than Audio CDs).
I’m surprised by the speed of production here. There are a few things that make it a bit less than amazing in my eyes:
- Trent Reznor is free of almost all institutional/corporate ties. Very few steps lie between his studio and getting the album everywhere online.
- Nine Inch Nails became popular in the old music industry. Ghosts I-IV pulled in lots of cash because it marketed itself and tons of people bought it. This wouldn’t happen similarly for a new band, since they need both income and promotion without sacrificing one over the other.
- If there is minimal monetary risk involved in the recording process, I wonder if less caution is thrown towards the quality of the composition / performance / recording. Or maybe the lack of that stress helps artists loosen up more and be creative. I haven’t listened enough to the new album to make a judgment one way or another on this, but regardless of the artist, it’s something that deserves some scrutiny.
In any case, anything that proves to consumers and music executives that new distribution methods are indeed possible is a good thing in my book.