13 May 2007

Reznor Socks It to "The Biz"

In various corners of teh Interwebz and elsewhere, I've been pretty vocal about my disgust about the state of the music industry and today's popular music. The sheer volume of mass-produced, instantly-disposable attempts at music has made buying the CD all but irrelevant and actually gives people an excuse to go out and steal music. While I am strongly in favour of protecting intellectual property rights, it is asking an awful lot of folks these days to spend their hard-earned dollars for a CD that has one or two songs that are remotely "good." That's likely the reason that I've only bought 5 or 6 CDs since moving to Halifax; iTunes has helped me to get the "hits" while avoiding the many, many misses, but the sheer volume of piracy out there is costing the business billions of dollars and thus they're flooding the market in the hopes that enough quantity exists to offset the losses and hide the otherwise-obvious drop in quality.

It is in that vein that I am very glad to see someone like Trent Reznor speaking unabashedly on his website about his own disdain for the business that distributes his art. The Nine Inch Nails mastermind is down in Australia touring right now, and had this to say on his most recent blog post:

As the climate grows more and more desperate for record labels, their answer to their mostly self-inflicted wounds seems to be to screw the consumer over even more. A couple of examples that quickly come to mind:
* The ABSURD retail pricing of Year Zero in Australia. Shame on you, UMG. Year Zero is selling for $34.99 Australian dollars ($29.10 US). No wonder people steal music. Avril Lavigne's record in the same store was $21.99 ($18.21 US).
By the way, when I asked a label rep about this his response was: "It's because we know you have a real core audience that will pay whatever it costs when you put something out - you know, true fans. It's the pop stuff we have to discount to get people to buy." So... I guess as a reward for being a "true fan" you get ripped off.
* The dreaded EURO Maxi-single. Nothing but a consumer rip-off that I've been talked into my whole career. No more. The point is, I am trying my best to make sure the music and items NIN puts in the marketplace have value, substance and are worth you considering purchasing. I am not allowing Capital G to be repackaged into several configurations that result in you getting ripped off. We are planning a full-length remix collection of substance that will be announced soon.

It was announced this morning that Capital G (an awesome song that goes after my favourite living POTUS) is going to be released as a vinyl single in Europe, but it will NOT contain the Halo designation found on all other NIN releases because Reznor wants nothing to do with it. It's purely a record company-driven release, and not representative of what TR wants to have done with the single. Between the song leaks, flash drives, and unique marketing campaign behind the Year Zero concept album, he's already taken a lot of heat from the industry execs, and no doubt this will further fan the flames. I'm looking forward to the real Halo 25 much more than the announced details for the record company's version of Capital G--no doubt their intentions were much the same as what they did with Survivalism: a two-track, a four-track that includes the same B-side, and a vinyl. The record company's cognizance and manipulation of NIN fans' demand was a major piss-off for a lot of fans, myself included, and I am glad that Reznor is aware of this and won't allow his fans to be put through that again.

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