NIN's Trent Reznor Shared Files On OiNK, Compares iTunes To Sam Goody

Trent Reznor was a member of now-shuttered illegal file sharing website OiNK, and he’s not afraid to admit it to New York Magazine:

What do you think about OiNK being shut down?
Trent: I’ll admit I had an account there and frequented it quite often. At the end of the day, what made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world’s greatest record store. Pretty much anything you could ever imagine, it was there, and it was there in the format you wanted. If OiNK cost anything, I would certainly have paid, but there isn’t the equivalent of that in the retail space right now. iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me.

I don’t feel cool when I go there. I’m tired of seeing John Mayer’s face pop up. I feel like I’m being hustled when I visit there, and I don’t think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc. Amazon has potential, but none of them get around the issue of pre-release leaks. And that’s what’s such a difficult puzzle at the moment. If your favorite band in the world has a leaked record out, do you listen to it or do you not listen to it? People on those boards, they’re grateful for the person that uploaded it — they’re the hero. They’re not stealing it because they’re going to make money off of it; they’re stealing it because they love the band. I’m not saying that I think OiNK is morally correct, but I do know that it existed because it filled a void of what people want.

Ouch. RIAA lawyers, any response?

Trent Reznor and Saul Williams Discuss Their New Collaboration, Mourn OiNK [NY Mag]


Edit Your Comment

  1. scarletvirtue says:

    iTunes = Sam Goody?

    Bitch, please. I worked at Sam Goody when I was in college, and it was far sh*ttier than iTunes could ever be. At least with iTunes, you’re not subjected to whatever music the manager wants to play – or that deluge of Christmas music that starts in November.

    But, that’s just my $.02

  2. Girtych says:


    November? Jeez, the stores here started playing Christmas music in mid-September. I wish they could have started in November.

    Back to the article, though. Trent’s putting into words what I and many of my buddies want to say about the state of the music industry. The reason free download services exist is because there’s no DRM, the files are at a high bitrate, and you can find virtually anything you want, not just a bunch of pop music idols. That’s what consumers want, and that’s why Amazon has my attention right now. They’re offering exactly that with their MP3 download service, and we’re more than happy to pay for it.

    Now if only the RIAA would really get on board with Teh Intarwebz, they could have a slice of the action and start making more money than they are by screwing net radio and the like.

  3. Televiper says:

    Yah, I sorta feel like I’m hitting some online equivalent to a grocery store when I’m browsing Amazon. They have a good selection, but you’re constantly nagged with products and an environment you don’t particularly care for. But, you know it’s not like Amazon and iTunes are the only places to buy digital music/CDs. It’s not like you have to hop in your car and navigate to multiple cities to check out 4 or 5 different websites while shopping for music.

  4. scarletvirtue says:

    @Girtych: Well, this was in 1996 (God, I feel ancient…), so when I wasn’t being tortured with Celine Dion, it was the never-ending Christmas tunes.

    I may give Amazon a try – especially if they end up having music that I can’t find on iTunes!

  5. Bladefist says:

    good article, but the fact that trent supports it means about as much as me supporting it. nothing. A lot of musicians just want their music heard, anyway possible.

  6. TechnoDestructo says:


  7. bufftbone says:

    Trent. For me your music has gone the way of your last good album…The Downward Spiral. I do however agree with your stance against the music industry. It reminds me a lot of Pearl Jam back in 1994/1995 whn they fought against Ticketmaster. I hope that you get the support you need, specially with bigger bands unlike the support PJ had back then.

  8. wring says:

    I would like a real artist talk about how they get paid per song. I mean really, don’t they get mad moolah anyways once they got signed AND locked on 10 albums? Show us the money, Trent! And ILU forever!

  9. scarletvirtue says:

    @bufftbone: As long as it doesn’t turn into the Metallica fight against Napster, then all is well! That one just felt like a group of spoiled millionaires whining because their music was being distributed via the online version of a mix tape.

  10. lotides says:

    The newest NiN album is amazing. It’s a concept album that tells the story of what can happen if things continue to head in the direction they are. It tells a story that may eventually come true. Orwell was several years off, but not entirely incorrect. Look for TV productions to spawn from this album as Trent has already had the meetings. “Consumer” advocates should have enough skepticism to understand the music.

  11. TechnoDestructo says:


    Metallica would have had a lot more credibility in that fight if they weren’t precisely the sort of artist who gets hurt most by people being able to listen to music before they buy it.

  12. swedub says:

    One of the main reason I haven’t even bothered with iTunes is that I do not want to install a program just to buy something. As if DRM wasn’t enough of a hassle.

  13. hills says:

    trent rocks, so much that my cat is named “reznor” – whatever he says, goes….

  14. endless says:

    I will start off saying, I am not a fan of NiN.

    I still really like trent reznor.

  15. DeeJayQueue says:

    @wring: From what I know of how the record industry works:
    A label will sign you to lets say a 5 record deal. They advance you $X Million. You can spend it however you want, but the label wants it back. This means that your records better sell or else you’re on the hook for what they don’t make back. When you sell a record, it gets broken up into a system of points, usually it adds up to 100. The label gets about 65-70 points, next comes the manufacturing, shipping and distribution of the media, and whatever’s left goes to the artist. Usually this is 10-12 points, sometimes more sometimes less depending on the deal they’ve got.

    Where most artists make their money is on tours. Ticket sales have much higher margins, as well as t-shirts and other merch. Tour overhead is high but if you don’t fuck it up like MC Hammer did with 50 dancers and crazy stage sets and stuff you can make a pretty penny on the road.

    This is why artists would love a system that cuts the middleman out altogether. Lots of musicians who’ve been at it for a few years professionaly have their own studio. With the label, CDs were selling for 14.99 each and they were making 1.49 each on them. If they hire a web geek to set up and maintain a server, and pay him out of the proceeds from the online sales, they can charge $9.99 for the same quality download and get to keep most of it. There’s almost zero overhead there. This is why the radiohead model worked so well. Enough people paid for the download to offset the people who didn’t. This is also why the Saul Williams album will do well.

    Artists can use each other as springboards to get access to things like good producers and quality studio time, things that the “record industry” usually provides, and in the meantime they get to keep more of what they make. I’d support a system like that with every spare penny I have.

  16. amoeba says:

    @TechnoDestructo: after reading your comment a song came up to my mind. March of the Pigs. [What a good song :-)]

  17. arachnophilia says:

    it’s worth mentioning again that the RIAA attempted to sue nin fans a while back for distributing files leaked from their then-upcoming album, year zero.

    the problem of course was that trent reznor himself had leaked the tracks with the intention that they be distributed by fans as part of the advertising campaign. so while one branch of his record label was working out advertising using piracy as a medium, another branch was sending hefty fines and cease-and-desist letters to the very people doing the advertising.

    it’s also worth noting that “nin’s trent reznor” is kind of a strange phrasing for a headline. trent reznor is a solo artist who releases work under the name “nine inch nails” but occasionally has guest artists on the albums, and tours with a live backup band. but technically, nin IS trent reznor.

  18. Benstein says:

    Man I love Amazon’s new service. I have spent easily $100 there since it launched, and I probably have only spent $100 total over the past two years I have used iTunes. Frankly, if it is not on Amazon I am not going to buy it. EMI is the best label for my music tastes anyway, so I guess I’m lucky. I have tried eMusic in the past, but I didn’t like the selection. The best ever, of course, was AllofMP3.

  19. Zgeg says:


    I have spent a good deal of my life working in the industry and I can tell you that if you are not Bon Jovi, Green Day or some other pop powerhouse you can forget about makng money from your records. Your lucky if you make a .25 cents off an album sale AFTER you pay back any advances you got from the label so you could eat while you were making the record, then you have to pay back the studio costs and then the marketing.. You probably won’t see any real money unless you record goes gold and that is a rarity these days.. In most cases a band will end up owing the record money after their first record so they start behind the eight ball going into a second record. Bands make their money off of merch and touring these days but even that is going to be owned by the labels soon, just look at Madonna’s new deal with Live Nation.

  20. scarletvirtue says:

    @TechnoDestructo: True!

  21. satyricrash says:

    Artist do not, repeat, do not make money of of touring. Touring is a promotional tool when you are at this level. Artist make money of of publishing and licensing. License your song to movies, tv shows, commercials, ring-tones. Boom. There is your dough.

  22. skechada says:

    Satyricrash you don’t know what you’re talking about, unless by “this level” you mean monumental stage shows with 200 people staffing the production and slim ticket sales.

    Road sales and merch are huge for 95% of the bands that do so. MUCH more profitable for the band than straight up CD sales.

    Implying that the only way for bands to make money is through licensing their work is silly.

    Deejayqueue was spot on in his summary.

  23. yetiwisdom says:

    Radiohead’s In Rainbows release is just the tip of the iceberg. When artists are making pennies on the album from major labels and can utilize BT as a distribution channel, the labels aren’t needed anymore excpet for those that don’t have computers or bandwidth, and that set continues to shrink.

    Someday soon physical CD shopping will be reduced to mall kiosks that will DL and burn albums on the fly for $5, art/insert extra (by mail, maybe?). With today’s desktop technology that could happen in 10 minutes. Or, plug in your iPod/mp3 player to get them immediately.

  24. techforumz says:

    First of all, what we need is some sort of system that the artist gets everything. Especially since many artists like reznor, can and do make music using their own studio. A ‘studio’ can be anything from a tape deck to a budget PC for pity sake. I agree with reznors ideas, sort of. I think that the artists should be paid, and that they should have a all-in-one spot like LimeWire. But, I also think that the artist should get every single penny that I throw in. Not RIAA taking 99.999999% and Trent getting the scraps. Not to mention that few people actually use CDs for anything but ripping music to PC or burning music to CD. So CDs are already obsolete. So for now screw iTunes, screw Rhapsody, screw Edge, screw Urge, screw new napster, and *hello* LimeWire, Torrents, eMule, and the likes. Why? I don’t have iPod or Zune, and can’t afford to lose all my music if my PC crashes, or I decide to cancel subscription. Same reason I don’t have an iPod or Zune, too restrictive.