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Trent Reznor Says Radiohead Offering Was Insincere, Industry Is Inept

Photo of Nine Inch Nails

Band Photo: Nine Inch Nails (?)

Ars Technica reports: Major musicians are exploring the market potential for directly interacting with their fans and releasing music independently. Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead both made headlines recently for experimenting with Internet-based releases, but NIN frontman Trent Reznor has just called Radiohead's effort "insincere."

"I think the way [Radiohead] parlayed it into a marketing gimmick has certainly been shrewd," Reznor said when speaking to Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Michael Atkin. "But if you look at what they did, though, it was very much a bait and switch to get you to pay for a MySpace-quality stream as a way to promote a very traditional record sale."

Reznor is referring to Radiohead's release of "In Rainbows" as lossy 160kbps (max) MP3 downloads, which many would argue are sub-par when compared to DRM-free offerings from Amazon and iTunes Store (both of which offer 256kbps DRM-free music). Furthermore, Radiohead's album is also no longer offered as a digital download, as the band openly stated that they were still going to rely on traditional labels and distribution channels for the rest of In Rainbows' sales.

"There's nothing wrong with that," Reznor continued, "but I don't see that as a big revolution [that] they're kinda getting credit for." In addition to the quality of Radiohead's MP3s, NIN's frontman also took issue with the band's omission of artwork and altogether not taking care of the fans. "To me that feels insincere. It relies upon the fact that it was quote-unquote 'first,' and it takes the headlines with it."

As previously reported, Nine Inch Nails 36-track instrumental album "Ghosts I-IV" had a total of 781,917 transactions in its first week of release online, which includes free and paid downloads as well as orders for the physical copy, resulting in $1,619,420 USD. The 2,500 copies of the ultra deluxe edition of the album, which sold for $300, sold out in three days.

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26 Comments on "Reznor Says Radiohead Offering Was Insincere"

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Anonymous Reader
1. Bill writes:

can always agree with Trent.

# Mar 17, 2008 @ 6:38 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BLACKDOG's avatar

Supporter

2. BLACKDOG writes:

Outspoken as usual and he's probably got a point.

# Mar 17, 2008 @ 7:24 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
3. sadimz writes:

trent has a good thinking about this so-called muic business .

# Mar 18, 2008 @ 8:44 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
4. CrawfordTexasJingoJango writes:

...hmm...I'm not going to be so quick to agree...I think if you make a 36-track self-flagellating instrumental album (pretty much what Trent does on his weekends) and give it away on the internet (with LIMITED $300 "special editions" that sold out ((of course))) Everyone thinks Trent is so great for doing this when in reality, he made as much off of the special editions (he's getting more profit from his work being indie, duh).

If you get fifteen pennies from a studio/label advanced album album that sells 3 million copies, you're still going to make less than if you made 2,500 "special editions" and sold them for $300 a pop knowing that you had a hardcore enough fanbase that people would be fistfighting over the fXcking things. Plus, you're making most, if not all, possible profit off of the album seeing as it was self-made, self-produced, self-published, and self-released? He probably did the entire fxcking thing alone!

And as far as Radiohead not being sincere, Radiohead isn't a "sincere" band. BTW "sincere" is a dumb word to describe musical acts.

At least Radiohead's album is still listenable after the third spin.

# Mar 18, 2008 @ 9:43 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Hetfield's avatar

Member

5. Hetfield writes:

I thought this was a 'Metal' site. The name Reznor and the word Metal should not be used in the same sentence. (unless the the words 'is not' are used in between) Just the way I see it.

# Mar 18, 2008 @ 10:16 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
6. Txmetalhead writes:

Reznor is just trying to hype his product again. He enjoys controversy. Now Rob Zombie is "slamming" the record industry too. Zombie is a genius compared to Reznor.

# Mar 18, 2008 @ 2:30 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
bassmaster!'s avatar

Member

7. bassmaster! writes:

I dont like trent reznor he thinks he know every thing.

# Mar 18, 2008 @ 6:48 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

8. Cynic writes:

Both should get back to writing good music no creating some anti-corporate revolution. I don't buy Radiohead albums to support some kind of movement I buy it to listen to the damn tracks. Which were average to me, I prefered "Hail To The Thief".

Now Playing: Psycroptic - "Psycrology"

# Mar 18, 2008 @ 8:32 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
psythe's avatar

Writer, Reviewer

9. psythe writes:

Rob Zombie hasn't put out anything listenable in years. Ghosts is kind of listenable, if you have the right atmosphere for it. Otherwise, neither has Reznor, really. Radiohead are much the same, their music's not what it used to be.

At least Reznor released his free version at a decent quality level. Still a ruse, but a better ruse for the fans than In Rainbows was.

Now Playing: Dub Trio - "Bay vs. Leonard"

# Mar 18, 2008 @ 9:52 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
10. Bill writes:

i think year zero needs to be listened to more. i know the songs aren't as dark and angry as they used to be, but reznor grew up just like everyone else. the story behind year zero is amazing. i do agree with cynic though. i love reznor for making his music free for the people, but he is getting way too into it.

# Mar 19, 2008 @ 1:49 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

11. Diamond Oz writes:

Meh. I really really don't like Trent Reznor, he seems to have way too big an ego for me to care about for some that puts out bland music at best. I have to admit, I haven't heard Ghosts yet but if it's anything like the last efforts, I really don't want to hear it. Year Zero was one of the worst albums I've ever heard. I think it is kinda cool that he made sure the downloadable tracks were decent quality but just because of that, he shouldn't be dissing Radiohead (who in my opinion are also overrated as hell).

Now playing: Leftfield- Release The Pressure

# Mar 19, 2008 @ 7:03 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
12. CrawfordTexasJingoJango writes:

In Rainbows is nothing short of phenomenal. ESPECIALLY when compared to Ghosts. You people need your ears checked.

# Mar 19, 2008 @ 9:02 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
13. Jamez writes:

I would say they're both overrated releases. Well.. I guess NIN will take the points home on this one. At least it didn't take Trent 5years to make this one. I mean, come on.. Is In Rainbows absolutely the best album Radiohead can come up with in so many years? If this is the case, They're through.
When it comes down to download issues, I would give both NIN and Radiohead credit. At least they're trying to do something new and innovative (to leave the major label suckers scratching their fat asses)

# Mar 19, 2008 @ 10:57 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
14. CrawfordTexasJingoJango writes:

Hey, Jamez, it took Trent Reznor almost 10 years to make another full-length after The Downward Spiral, and when he did, you got The Fragile which is five times more pretentious than anything Radiohead's ever released...

...it also took Metallica 7 years to release Load, and we all know how sweet THAT album is.

You should learn your history, punk.

# Mar 19, 2008 @ 2:47 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
15. BoBo writes:

Metallica is far more over-rated than NIN and Radiohead combined. Their music sounds better when Apocalyptica plays it.

# Mar 19, 2008 @ 4:28 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
RememberMetal?'s avatar

Writer/Reviewer

16. RememberMetal? writes:

Where Radiohead is concerned:
"In Rainbows" is Radioheads most awkward and listless piece of music to date. There is NO excuse for an album that bad unless your going to "give it away". I've enjoyed "The Bends", "OK Computer" and "Hail to the Thief" (the A albums are are lacking despite the media circus).

I couldn't possibly care less what Reznor (he's a drama generating machine when it comes to press) thinks about Radioheads marketing endeavor. It's the beta version of his effort, they came up with it first. "In Rainbows" remains diabetic, zebra sh**--nothing more.

Regarding NIN.
There is no excuse for records as bland and unfinished as "With Teeth", and as scratchy, glitchy/twitchy as "Year Zero". Though I genuinely believe "Ghosts" as an instrumental album, is a drastic improvement--making it good, not great.

Now Playing: At the Gates - "Into the Dead Sky"...speaking of instrumentals...

# Mar 19, 2008 @ 5:32 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
RememberMetal?'s avatar

Writer/Reviewer

17. RememberMetal? writes:

aww, no rebuttal

Now Playing: Isis - "Backlit"

# Mar 20, 2008 @ 11:34 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Kalis_wrath's avatar

Supporter

18. Kalis_wrath writes:

Honestly the whole NIN buzz wore off on me years ago. Maybe its because I found better tunes to listen to, but Trent kinda gets old quick in my opinion. Kinda like Manson.

# Mar 21, 2008 @ 12:50 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

19. Cynic writes:

I'm definitely on the same page as you RM?, I thought "In Rainbows" was a disappointment. Couldn't have been more sparse if it'd tried. In happier thoughts I get to see the Smashing Pumpkins play on Monday, and that's one 90s act that did come back and make a killer album.

Now Playing: Cannibal Corpse - "Necrosadistic Warning" (Holy f*** CC made a good album!!)

# Mar 21, 2008 @ 2:31 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
20. Walt Disney writes:

You know what, Reznor's band looks very "EMO" in their pic, and so do their hairstyles.lol

# Mar 21, 2008 @ 2:43 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
21. CrawfordTexasJingoJango writes:

Dude, Necrosadistic Warning owns.

# Mar 21, 2008 @ 9:05 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
22. Txmetalhead writes:

I agree with post 18 - NIN was never anything impressive to me. I think I like 2 songs from their entire catalog. "Hurt" and "Dead Souls", and Dead Souls is from the Crow soundtrack. Once again, I would much rather hear Fear Factory or rammstein over NIN.

# Mar 21, 2008 @ 2:15 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
23. Txmetalhead writes:

NIN, to me, is pop metal...or industrial pop metal. Ministry, Fear Factory, or Rammstein are so much better, and not "poppy!".

# Mar 21, 2008 @ 3:17 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Terminator's avatar

Reviewer

24. Terminator writes:

pop-metal??? that, my friend, is an oxymoron. there is nothing metal about nin. alternative-industrial rock is what i would label them as.

i myself have never been a fan of NIN or of anything trent reznor has done.

# Mar 21, 2008 @ 3:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

25. deathbringer writes:

I downloaded Radiohead's free album and have to this day still not played it. Just goes to show that you can't count every download of something as a lost sale...

# Mar 21, 2008 @ 3:37 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
26. Txmetalhead writes:

Yeah, NIN has always been introspective...I belive is the word I am looking for. The lyrics are usually depressing stuff...not much aggression lately from NIN. I do think that the story behind Year Zero, though, is very cool.

# Mar 21, 2008 @ 10:25 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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