Big doings in the music world

Last week, popular rock band Radiohead announced that they would be by-passing the recording industry and taking their new album directly to their fans. Moreover, they shocked everybody by announcing that fans could actually name their own price. Holy mother-of-RIAA!

Now comes an even more devastating announcement from long-standing rock powerhouse Nine Inch Nails. In a post on their website yesterday, NIN announced their freedom from record companies, saying that they, too, would deal directly with their fans. There’s a ton of resentment in a statement by Nine Inch Nail’s Trent Reznor:

I have been under recording contracts for 18 years and have watched the business radically mutate to something inherently very different and it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally have a direct relationship with the audience as i see fit and appropriate.

Technology may be the enabler (or redeemer), but the energy for this comes from the people that the industry is in place to serve — both the record makers and the record buyers.

I think this is huge and has cultural ramifications far beyond music. If you are in any middleman position in the information and entertainment worlds (aggregator exception noted), your future livelihood is in jeopardy.

Gizmodo (nine inch) nails it:

If two of the biggest acts in the industry can see the digital writing on the wall and totally embrace it–that the old way of doing business is broken–why can’t the labels? What Radiohead and NIN are showing is that the business model “of the future” feared by entrenched interests isn’t arriving some time in the horizon. It’s touching down now.

The digital writing on the wall literally shouts to all media to get onboard the Cluetrain and acknowledge that an empowered citizenry is not a passive citizenry, and that J.D. Lasica’s personal media revolution is a real revolution, against the power grid that controls our lives for their profit. As I’ve written in the past, the public never wanted quality bundled with crap, which is the formula for profit from the whole copyright cartel. The cable industry, for example, will lose the bundled programming argument for the same reason, because ultimately, people will be able to pick and choose what they want.

Trent Reznor’s exclamation is nothing less than freedom from slavery, and there’s no going back.

(Seriously big hat tip to Duncan Riley at TechCrunch)


  1. Hi, I’m the marketing manager at TuneCore — one of the country’s première digital music aggregators.

    I’m always thrilled to read articles like these because it does show that musician’s are strong enough to think for themselves and that the industry is becoming such that artists can fend for themselves financially without the backing of/being robbed by labels.

    TuneCore is founded on the premise that aritsts are making the music and therefore deserve to keep the money. Our model allows artists to keep every cent of the money they’re making — all we ask is a small up-front fee to cover the cost of delivery and the rest of the sales each artist makes is theirs to keep.

    Coming soon, we will offer live accounting where our artists who are being sold in iTunes US can track their sales and trace them geographically. Meaning, the artists can literally see for themselves in what cities and states their music is selling best. We’re really excited about this and also to see what our artists are able to do with information like that, in terms of marketing and promoting themselves.

    Thanks for posting this — I’m always happy to see news about the revolution taking place in the world of music right now.


    Mary Barbour
    Marketing Manager

  2. Trent Reznor’s exclamation is nothing less than freedom from slavery, and there’s no going back.

    A bit overheated. If you look at the crap that clogs the top of the charts at Limewire, you’ll see that even when their chains are removed the digital proles still gravitate toward the dreck. Remember that although American slaves were freed in 1865, they weren’t truly free for another 100 years.


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