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.”
The online release of the new Nine Inch Nails album “Ghosts I-IV” resulted in just under 800,000 transactions in its first week, totaling $1.6 million in revenue, the band revealed.
Orders include free and paid downloads, as well as online orders for physical products like various limited-edition vinyl releases, CDs, and a dual-CD box set. NIN will not release traditional sales figures to SoundScan.
Reznor made the albums available at five different prices, including a free download, without any advance publicity. His marketing campaign, such as it is, consisted of a terse announcement on his nin.com Web site. On Wednesday, he reported 781,917 transactions, including free and paid downloads and orders of physical product. A $300 box set sold out of 2,500 copies within a day. Nine of the 36 songs were made available as a free download. The complete set also was available as a $5 download, a $10 double-CD and a $75 set with bonus visual content.