Trent Reznor: Music Biz Innovator

Lately, Trent Reznor, front-man for Nine Inch Nails, has been making headlinesmore for his innovative approach to the music business model than for his craft. I’ve never been much of a NIN fan, but I have to applaud Reznor for seeing the bigger picture.

NIN saw some mainstream success in the 90’s by capitalizing on radio hits and, of course, using the power of MTV. NIN’s controversial video, “Closer,” received frequent rotation on MTV even though the network made extensive edits to the original, highly graphic version. In spite of this acclaim, the band has had several feuds with the corporate side of the recording industry and Reznor decided the band would proceed independently of record labels.

He’s remained true to his word, but has taken it a step further. Recently, he offered up NIN’s new albumfree for download. Reznor is also adding value, or incentives, to the consumer by selling CD and vinyl formats for those who want to purchase the physical copies. (Yes, some of us music junkies still value the physical property!).

But Reznor isn’t only focused on music, he’s also experimenting with concert tickets. Just last week he announced that pre-sale, premium tickets to an upcoming tour would only be available for purchase through nin.com.  According to Digital Music News, “the tickets will be stamped with the name of the buyer, and identification will be required at the door.” 

Reznor’s goal? ” To put the best tickets in the hands of the fans and not in the hands of scalpers and/or brokers.”

That’s a pretty amazing feat if he can pull it off. As a consumer, I’m tired of the games that come along with purchase tickets to concerts. (read: Ticketmaster). The whole process is corrupt and it’s encouraging to see artists look out for their fans.

Radiohead may have capitalized on a publicity stunt, but Trent Reznor seems to be focused on the economics of free content. It should be cool to see how it all plays out.

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3 responses to “Trent Reznor: Music Biz Innovator

  1. Last summer, Hey Mercedes played a reunion show at the Metro in Chicago. The Metro usually goes through Ticketmaster regardless of the size of show or popularity of the headlining band. This show, however, distributed tickets differently. The only place fans could purchase tickets was at the grand opening for Threadless (a t-shirt store originally only online – http://www.threadless.com). A limited number of tickets were available through the band’s website for fans outside of the Chicago area. It was a good idea to get fans to go to Threadless, but frustrating if you couldn’t make it downtown to the store on the specified day. Nonetheless, the show still sold out in a little over an hour.

  2. I can imagine it being frustrated if you can’t make it out to the location and get tickets — but I’d much rather take my chances like that — then deal with ticketmaster frustrations and/or scalpers.

    There’s no win-win solution, it’s just nice to see people coming up with ideas and testing them out. Someone is always going to be unhappy about methods – can’t please everyone, right?

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