Trent Reznor on album pricing: “Ten bucks, or go fuck yourself”

By | Published on Friday 30 August 2013

Trent Reznor

Having spent much of the last decade experimenting with new business models for selling his music, including giving much of it away for free, Trent Reznor has come to a conclusion for the new Nine Inch Nails record: “It costs ten bucks, or go fuck yourself”.

As previously reported, the new album, ‘Hesitation Marks’, sees Reznor returning to the major label system with NIN, this time Sony/Columbia (also home to his other band, How To Destroy Angels), having operated independently since leaving Universal/Interscope in 2007.

Reznor told Spin: “I know that what we’re doing flies in the face of the Kickstarter Amanda-Palmer ‘start a revolution’ thing, which is fine for her, but I’m not super-comfortable with the idea of Ziggy Stardust shaking his cup for scraps. I’m not saying offering things for free or pay-what-you-can is wrong. I’m saying my personal feeling is that my album’s not a dime. It’s not a buck. I made it as well as I could, and it costs ten bucks, or go fuck yourself”.

The band are offering something a bit different for your money though. This week they announced that anyone who buys the record from will also gain access to a special ‘audiophile’ version of the record which will be mastered a bit more subtly than the standard edition.

Mastering engineer Tom Baker said, via the Nine Inch Nails Tumblr blog: “I believe it was Trent’s idea to master the album two different ways, and to my knowledge it has never been done before. The standard version is ‘loud’ and more aggressive and has more of a bite or edge to the sound with a tighter low end. The Audiophile Mastered Version highlights the mixes as they are without compromising the dynamics and low end, and not being concerned about how ‘loud’ the album would be. The goal was to simply allow the mixes to retain the spatial relationship between instruments and the robust, grandiose sound”.

The blog post then goes on to insist that one is not “better” than the other, they’re just different. Which I think is a roundabout way of saying that so-called ‘audiophiles’ are actually pedants who claim to hear things that aren’t there. Not my words, the words of Nine Inch Nails.