Trent shows ’em how it’s done

 NIN

Everyone knows by now the traditional record industry’s dead, yeah? I talked a bit about how impressed I was with the gear we ordered from Amon Amarth a while back, their record company actually seems quite switched on. Radiohead had this great idea to let people pay whatever they wanted for their album, and while they made money they were also shocked that a large number of people didn’t want to pay anything at all. Now Trent Reznor has shown everyone’s that there’s a better way to do it with the Ghosts release by giving away some stuff for free, but stacking the goodies in for the people who want to pay a little more.

The deal is multi-layered, but essentially you can download some of the tracks for free, pay $5 to download the lot, pay $10 to download the lot and get a double CD shipped to you, pay $75 to download the lot and get a deluxe edition shipped to you with a data DVD, printed booklet, Blu-Ray version etc etc OR for 2,500 of the super-serious fans, $300 gets you limited edition vinyl personally signed by Trent.

The super special edition sold out in 28 hours. We bought the $75 version (and it took several days to get through as the site was swamped). The international shipping was very high. We actually thought twice about the whole thing because of that, but in the end decided hell, it’s Trent, and it’s bound to be a historic release, so it was worth the extra cost.

Some people have worked out that Mr Reznor has made a quite tidy profit from this little exercise in marketing. I’ll let them go through the numbers for you but essentially, it’s not bad work if you can get it. However, I think it’s only the Trent Reznors of the world who can get away with that kind of deal.

I’ve said before that as this current shift in people’s attitude to buying music progresses, the fallout will be that successful recording artists will no longer be multi-millionaires – and that’s a good thing. Everyone deserves to make a good living doing what they love, but the death of the traditional label system may mean an end to the ridiculous excesses of the Michael Jacksons and Britney Spears’ of the world.

An unknown band is not going to be able to pull a $750,000 profit, Trent-style. But I can see a system coming into place where the big, well known artists introduce newer artists they they dig to their own fan-base. And bands will always need help with business – they’re musicians, not accountants, which is why we like them – so “artist development” companies like LaMafia Records (set up by Chimaira’s bassist and others), seem like an interesting solution to that problem

At any rate, we’re eagerly awaiting delivery of our Ghosts package. Good one Trent!

~ by goatlady on March 9, 2008.

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