Generally speaking, the music industry is a broken, antiquated, self-destructing trash factory. They don’t seem to know what music fans want, or how much we want to pay for it. They don’t seem to know much of anything really. A handful of artists have been stepping up recently to try and make changes to this system, by releasing albums in new ways, without the backing of a major record label. Radiohead got things rolling with In Rainbows, but they missed the mark a bit in my opinion (not to mention the fact that I just don’t like Radiohead). Trent Reznor led the way in releasing Saul Williams amazing newest album, and now he’s gone even further with his own new album.
Last night, much to everyones surprise, a new Nine Inch Nails album was released with absolutely no advance promotion of any kind. A Sunday night album release is only one of the many hints that we’re not in Kansas anymore. The album is called Ghosts I-IV. The 36 instrumental tracks clock in at nearly 2 hours and are made up of what could have been viewed as “skeletons” for more complete songs. Most are under 3 minutes long, and they run the full gamut of the NIN palette (ambient, piano, rocking, noisy, etc). While the music is certainly interesting and deserves a listen, what stood out to me even before hearing it was the way in which it has been released. Here are the various formats that the album is available in:
Ghosts I – The first 9 tracks from the Ghosts I-IV collection available as high-quality DRM-free MP3s (320kbps LAME encoded, fully tagged) including complete 40 page PDF. Also includes the digital extras pack – various wallpapers, icons, and graphics tools for your computer, website, profile, etc.
Ghosts I-IV – All 36 tracks in a variety of DRM-free digital formats (320 kbps LAME encoded, fully tagged; FLAC Lossless; Apple Lossless) including a 40 page PDF. Also includes the digital extras pack – various wallpapers, icons, and graphics tools for your computer, website, profile, etc.
This version is also available from the Amazon MP3 store.
$10 2XCD SET
Ghosts I-IV – 2 audio CDs in a gatefold digipak package with a 16-page booklet. To be shipped TBD. Includes immediate DRM-free download of the entire collection in same choice of formats as $5 Download option. Download will include the 40 page PDF and the digital extras pack – various wallpapers, cons, and graphics tools for your computer, website, profile, etc.This configuration will be released to retail in North America (April 8), Australia (April 5), the UK (April 8), Japan (April 5) and most European territories (April 8).
$75 LIMITED EDITION DELUXE PACKAGE
Ghosts I-IV – Hardcover book holding 2 audio CDs, 1 data DVD of all 36 tracks in multi-track format (in .wav files readable by Mac and Windows), and Blu-ray disc featuring stereo recordings in high-definition 24 bit 96Khz with exclusive slide show. Includes immediate DRM-free download of the entire collection in all formats and with all extras mentioned above. Also includes 48-page hardcover of photographs by Phillip Graybill and Rob Sheridan. Discs and art book both housed in fabric slipcover.
$300 ULTRA-DELUXE LIMITED EDITION PACKAGE
Ghosts I-IV – Contains all elements from deluxe package, along with exclusive 4XLP 180-gram vinyl set, and two limited edition Giclee prints available exclusively in this package. Disc book, art book, and prints are all housed in a fabric slipcover. 4XLP vinyl set comes in its own fabric slipcover. INCLUDES immediate DRM-free download of the entire collection in all formats and with all extras mentioned above. LIMITED TO 2500 PIECES, NUMBERED AND PERSONALLY SIGNED BY TRENT REZNOR.
Talk about options! Even at the very low end (free download) the tracks are offered at high quality (320kbps) with no DRM restrictions, which is just always how it should be. All the other packages offer various exclusive goodies depending on how interested you are in a physical package, and how much you want to spend. Personally, I bought the $75 package for myself because the hardcover book is really nice and I just like that type of stuff. I also bought one of the $300 packages solely for the purpose of selling later on eBay to some ding-dong vinyl snob. I think bands (especially established acts with a considerable fan base) can learn a lot from the way Trent is doing things.
Check it out: http://ghosts.nin.com/