Nine Inch Nails Hammer A Spike Into Record Industry, A Bone For The Pirates -Arghhh!

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Nine Inch Nails (NIN) released their latest Album, Ghosts I-IV via the web this week.   Much of the album is being offered for free and a number of options for purchasing it are available at their website.  

 photo credit: Film Colourist 

So what is their news selling/purchasing business model?

  • Download the whole album for $5.00 with a 40 page pdf
  • Get a deluxe 2 CD Set with a 16 Page booklet for $10
  • Download for FREE the first 9 tracks in DRM free MP3 format
  • Order the $75.00 Deluxe Edition Package that contains numerous goodies…
  • Order the $300.00 Ultra-Deluxe limited edition package  SOLD OUT!

Is this working?  Yes indeedy! NIN has alread sold out of the 2500 units allocated for the $300.00 Deluxe edition and it’s only been available for a number of hours, due to the site crashing because of all the “hits” and traffic.

Radiohead made this type of move back in October of 2007 and sales we’re very good for them.  They we’re the first to offer a “pay for what you want” album download.  This methods was deemed a success by industry-insiders.

What’s particularly interesting about the NIN release is that they were savvy enough to know where many of the  non-purchasing freeloaders are snagging much of their music from  so they boldly set out a bone at Pirate Bay that offers the downloading of an “official bit torrent” version of their album.  A white flag of sorts?  Ahoy!

In the end, you will see this business model being used more and more by “big time” record artists signed with dinosaur-model-like  record label companies.  I think the outpouring of fans and paid downloading of the artists’ songs in models like these show that the fans do want to pay the artists for their work and that they do want to support their favorite bands.  However, they are tired of paying $20.00+ U.S. for a new album that may only have 1 or two tracks that they like and see $0.10, or less, of it go to the artists. 

The artists are realizing now that they can make just as much, if not more, money by distributing a much smaller amount of albums (songs) themselves and taking a MUCH LARGER percentage of the sale (if not all of it) than they do by distributing millions of albums and only getting a “mouse nibble” back per sale…  It makes sense for both the artist and the fans. 

Times are changing (have changed) and if the major record labels want to survive, they are going to have to re-think their own business models and get creative and become more fair to the artists and fans in order to compete with the power that the internet and computing advances have provided the “common” person, or in this case.. the bands.

Stay tuned for more of this type of business model this year!  I think you will see a lot of it.

         Dr. Joseph M. Pisano

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Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D. is an industry innovator, education clinician and lecturer, trumpeter and conductor, and the creator of many education websites. He is currently the Vice President of Innovation and Engagement at Keystone Ridge Designs, Inc. After twenty-three years as a professor and administrator at Grove City College, he made the move into industry in 2018.  As one of the youngest full professors in Grove City’s history, he served in various roles over his tenure including the Technical Director of the Pew Fine Arts Center, Assistant and Associate Chairs of Music and Music and Fine Arts, Director of Music and Fine Arts Technology, Director of Jazz Studies, Stage Manager, and he finished his tenure as the Director of Bands where he directed the college’s Symphonic Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, Pep Bands, and various small ensembles.

He been named a TI:ME Teacher of the Year, received the JEN Jazz Educator Award, the PA Citation of Excellence, and named a “member for life” of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association. He is a past Vice President of the Technology Institute for Music Educators, an associate member of the American Bandmasters Association,  a past President of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association, and a member of various education and music honoraries. He has written for numerous publications including DCI Magazine, Teaching Music Magazine, and was the Educational Editor for In-Tune Monthly Magazine for eight years; he has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications. He is an active conductor, trumpeter, clinician, and educator. Find out more at his website

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