Trent Reznor speaks on music business innovation

Continuing the theme of my last post on social music, here’s a video of Nine Inch Nails front man and music industry innovator Trent Reznor being interviewed by Digg founder Kevin Rose for Digg Dialogue.

Trent is one of the only big artists switched on to current trends and proactively engaged in business model innovation, apart from maybe Radiohead, but they’re much less vocal.

Recently he and NIN abandoned their label and became independent, and have experimented with different ways of monitising the bands output such as selling albums at different pricing points and even giving albums away for free.

They have also been releasing muli-track versions of songs for fans to create remixes and mash ups for the last three albums and have even released an iPhone app.

It seems like he advocates a freemium business model on the basis that music is free on the internet anyway these days, and that people will still be willing to pay for special edition CD’s and merchandise.

I agree with him in this respect; in that giving away free music attracts more people to your brand and you can make up the revenue in other areas, such as selling premium products and attracting more people to live shows. However, NIN have a very large and loyal fan base, and I’m not sure that their revenue experiments would be applicable to smaller bands.

Anyway, take a look. Let me know what you think.


About Tom Craik

Senior Account Executive at Finn Communications, a PR and Word of Mouth agency based in Leeds. Baby face. Northern Monkey. Attention junkie. Space man. Fake tan. Dancefloor dreamer. Analyser. Deliberator. Wordsmith. Book worm. Head in clouds. Telecaster. Dance floor master. Closet rasta. Free love. Fresh jokes. Old gear. Naff beard. Existential. Influential. Left of centre. iPod. Math rock. Psych Folk. Dropping dubstep. Chicken Balti. Laos. Berlin. Bass bin. Circle pit. Guggenheim. Baltic. Cabernet. Globalised. Wired. No house. No car. Going places!
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4 Responses to Trent Reznor speaks on music business innovation

  1. Ana Ribeiro says:

    Trent is the innovation itself

  2. Larry Roth says:

    I think you make a good point about already having an established base. I think the question is: without the marketing muscle and investment capital of a record label, would they have the same success? It sure seems possible, but it would be interesting to know if it would be harder, easier or the same. My guess is it would be much harder.

    I also agree with the other commenter…we can’t overlook Trent’s innovative nature. He made his music and built his fan base. The question is–how much do the record company help early on?

  3. I agree with you Tom that revenue experiments would be harder for smaller artists. But then again, i think its even more important for smaller artists to give their music away for free then for the big artists to do so. The big artists have already got an established fanbase and giving their music away for free is more of a relationship strengthener with exsisting fans then a generator of more listeners. Small artists however need to spread their music and get heard. The best way to do this is to give away your tracks for free. Also, if no has heard of you, you cant expect people to pay lots for your music especially at a time where huge bands like radiohead and nin are giving their music away for next to nothing.

  4. Noman Ayub says:

    product trial, sampling and free always attract the customer’s, it encourage the customer to buy the product for at least one time that make the customer’s the company user. In case of music people they like to listen the music free for the first time then if they like then buy that,

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