Nine Inch Nails Making Big Money with Online Release, More Bands to Follow?

Earlier this month another forward thinking band released a new album online ala the Radiohead mold. Nine Inch Nails latest 36 track instrumental project called Ghosts I-IV was released online March 2 with the first 9 tracks available for free, or the entire album available for a tide sum of $5. A $10 double CD set is set for release on April 8th, with a $70 deluxe edition and $300 autographed version following close on it's heels around May 1st.

This album continues NIN's progressive thinking about audio projects and is designed around the idea of sounds used to conjure imagery... at least that's how I've come to understand it from what I've read. The really cool part though is that this project is set up to include a YouTube channel where people can take the tracks and submit their own artistic interpretations of the imagery that should accompany the music... a pretty cool idea about artistic collaboration if you ask me.

If you're interested, check out for more information and links to the YouTube project, as well as a chance to listen to the album online. I haven't been able to listen through it in it's entirety yet, but from what I have heard, it sounds very compelling and quite an interesting direction for Trent Reznor to take his band.

What I really think is important to recognize about this new release has little to do with the project at all, but more so the fact that the band is already citing revenue of $1.6 million from a some 800,000 plus transactions in the album's first week out there. Just like with Radiohead last year, this sounds like more proof that Internet releases are more than just successful, but are the wave of the future for musicians and the music industry. Just as I've been saying though, this will certainly mean the end of big name record labels as we know them (a good thing if you ask me) and the start of the age of independents.

Nine Inch Nails isn't the only band to take up this experiment it seems. The one and only Smashing Pumpkins released a 4 song acoustic EP called American Gothic online earlier this year, and followed it up with a video release on Myspace for one of their newest songs: "Superchrist". Rumor has it that now that the Pumpkins are free agents as well, they too will not be returning to the land of the recording contract and will be remaining independent.

2008 is already exciting times for music enthusiasts, musicians, bands... just about everyone but the old record label giants. It's only a matter of time if more and more big names keep ditching their contracts and striking out on their own. With the Internet, bands can be in control of their own music more than ever before. I hope more bands continue to embrace it and get their music out to the people.


- The Soul of Rock 'n' Roll is a division of Fifth Column Media - -