Subsets of Reznor’s Interview

June 9, 2008

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/08/arts/music/08pare.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=trent&st=nyt&oref=slogin

Pretty long article, but two parts jumped out for me:

> Mr. Reznor has no global solution for how to sustain a long-term
> career as a recording musician, much less start one, when listeners
> take free digital music for granted. "It's all out there," he added.
> "I don't agree that it should be free, but it is free, and you can
> either accept it or you can put your head in the sand."

I like how Trent appears to reluctantly accept the new constraints of
reality, and then work within them. Personally I think the new
"constraints" are actually more liberating than the past ones, but I
don't think it's necessary to believe this: rather, it's only necessary
to believe that the constraints have changed, whether you like it or not.

> When record labels didn't want it, Mr. Reznor put it online: free to
> the first 100,000 downloaders as good-quality MP3 files or $5 for
> more high-fidelity files. He had thought that fans would willingly
> pay the price of a latte to support musicians directly. But fewer
> than 20 percent did so. "I think I was just naïve."
>
> At the time he called the project a failure, but he has reconsidered.
> "The numbers of the people that paid for that record, versus the
> people that paid for his last record, were greater," he said. "He
> made infinitely more money from that record than he did from his
> other one. It increased his name value probably tenfold. At the end
> of the day, counting free downloads, it was probably five or six or
> seven times higher than the amount sold on his last record. I don't
> know how you could look at that as a failure."

Similarly, I like how he's actively rethinking what success means in
this world of new constraints, rather than just trying to impose his
previous expectations.

All in all, it really sounds like he gets it: not as an wide-eyed
evangelist, but as a down-to-earth realist.

-david

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