Trent Reznor’s “free sample” music marketing experiment is a success. [Ars Technica]


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  1. SimonSwegles says:

    I am not a big fan of NiN. Gave up on Reznor’s brand of music ~1991. But I bought a copy anyway, just to reward an artist for embracing the digital market. Turns out, the album is pretty damned good, too!

  2. Chris Walters says:

    I am very happy with this news, am going to go spend the $5 for Ghosts I-IV right now. And “Year Zero” was awesome.

  3. 92BuickLeSabre says:

    I hope he knows that his “thinking things through” and “developing a plan” approach could seriously cause a lot more work for everybody else.

  4. brokennails says:

    Being a huge NIN fan (c’mon, look at the username!), I just have to chime in. I hadn’t heard a whisper about this album before it was released, creating a kind of excitement about an album I hadn’t felt in a long time. The servers crashed almost immediately, but when I was finally able to purchase the album I was very satisfied. The different price points are a really great idea, I think. So many people pirate music because they just want to try it first to see if they like it; this model allows for that and also for dedicated fans to show their support.

  5. k6richar says:

    Anyone want to hazard a guess how many albums he would have had to sell to make that much if the record companies had their greedy hands in it??

  6. evslin says:

    @k6richar: I’m gonna guess a hojillion.

  7. Leiterfluid says:

    I would hardly call it a success, since my attempts to download it have failed, and I have not received a response to my customer service requests for assistance. Looks like I’ll be asking for a chargeback on my Visa card.

  8. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    @Leiterfluid: Aw, c’mon. Don’t you think that doing something ground-breaking as this isn’t going to come with its problems. Give them a chance to make it right before you get all snarky about charge-backs. Be patient, or go get it from ThePirateBay – You’ll have the download immediately at bandwidth saturating speeds – plus the knowledge that you supported the artist, and not the middle man.

    As another poster stated, I too grew old and no longer follow NiN like I once did, but I’m buying the album to make a statement. If I don’t like it, I’ll delete it just like I do with any other music that doesn’t match my taste – the big difference is, I’m willing to pay this time because I know where the money is going. Heck, I may even pay for it twice.

  9. dreamsneverend says:

    I dropped $5 and had the same problem with the official download area. I just grabbed the torrent 10 minutes later and BOOM, I’d made my contribution and found and alternate stream for my download.

  10. I bought the DRM-free 320 kps full download last night at $5 and no problems – zip file downloaded, and I was pleasantly surprised to find each song has its own artwork. Sorry others have experienced problems, but I’m working with a 3-year-old machine and a slow DSL connection, and didn’t have problem one.

  11. S1ckH4nds says:

    @Leiterfluid: I had the same problem, myself. I had purchased the $10 version to get a physical copy as well as the downloads during the first 24 hours it was available for sale, and naturally, couldn’t manage to get it downloaded. Repeatedly attempting to click the download link they provided in the confirmation e-mail only resulted in a “too many download attempts” error, and even after the servers got back up to speed it was a different error, one stating “please click the link in your original e-mail” or something like that — even though that’s exactly what I was doing. And yes, repeated e-mails sent to the requesting assistance went unanswered (still haven’t been, either).

    But thanks to a fellow who had posted in the comments on Trent’s blog, I’ve finally successfully downloaded the full album from their server. It actually turned out to be rather simple. Just copy and paste the following link into your browser (don’t actually click it):


    Then, replace the part of the URL that says “INSERT_ID_CODE_FROM_YOUR_LINK_HERE” with the ID code that you should have gotten from your original order confirmation — everything after /download/order?id= is what you need. This will allow you to download the album in MP3 format. If you purchased it in FLAC format, change “mp3” in the URL to “flac”, and if you purchased it in Apple Lossless format, change “mp3” to “apple”. Voila.

    Hopefully that’ll help somewhat before you go making a chargeback. But, truthfully, I wish I had found this solution out from NIN’s official support team instead of some random person on his blog. Not exactly the best customer support experience I’ve had purchasing a digital download online.

  12. boandmichele says:

    @rainmkr: exactly. youve contributed to the band (trent reznor) and producers, why not save them some bandwidth while youre at it? makes sense to me. anyone who has had trouble downloading from the official site has no excuse. :)

  13. lowlight69 says:

    i’ve been a huge NiN fan for a long time. while at work i downloaded the free mp3s from then when i got home last night i bought the $10 version and downloaded all the tracks right away. no problems no hassles.

    honestly with NiN i would have bought the album reguardless of where it was released, but the fact that i could get the mp3s right away and get CDs for a reasonable price all while giving the money directly to an artist i have enjoyed for years, it was all win for me.

    i’m happy to give Trent my $16 (10 + 6 shipping charges) knowing that it all goes to him, i’ll gets lots of listening from the music and hopefully he’ll keep making it. :)

  14. Impius says:

    I was more than happy to spend my $10 and fight with the servers for 3 hours before I actually got through but it was a well spent $10. The album itself is amazing and I’m more than happy to support NiN and the new way of music distribution. Someone in the music industry that is not completely screwing the consumers.

  15. savvy999 says:

    Bravo, Trent! That’s thinking out of the box, and is why RIAA/MPAA execs will be stuck in theirs as they and their companies get lowered into the ground.

    Give consumers what they want at a fair price= profit.

    Screw consumers with overpriced cds, DRM and lawsuits = no profit.

    It’s not hard.

  16. KJones says:

    DOOM, anyone? This purchase/pricing policy is highly reminiscent of ID Software’s shareware release of DOOM in 1993. It shouldn’t surprise if that’s the case, given Reznor’s history with ID’s DOOM and Quake.

    Just like part one of DOOM hooked tens of thousands into buying the full version, this music seems set to do the same. I’ve heard most of the free version and will be happy to buy the rest when it’s available on CD (alas, I have no credit card).

    “Metal Machine Music”, this ain’t. ^_^

  17. Geekybiker says:

    @KJones: IIRC the store takes paypal if you have that.

  18. S1ckH4nds says:

    @Geekybiker: It does in fact, that’s how I paid for my copy. You’ve remembered correctly. Kudos. :)