Sunday, September 30, 2007

Trent Reznor told me to "Steal it"

"Has anyone seen the price come down? Okay, well, you know what that means - STEAL IT. Steal away. Steal and steal and steal some more and give it to all your friends and keep on stealin'. Because one way or another these motherfuckers will get it through their head that they're ripping people off and that that's not right." - Trent Reznor, Sept. 16, Sydney

I'm very happy when people who profit from big industries stand up and empathize with the consumers of their products. CDs are way too expensive. DVDs too, for that matter. The technology itself is very cheap, but the labels and corporations hike up fees past what I consider reasonable. Of course I want the performers to profit from their talents, but the system as it is does not prioritize the artists' interests.

(Swiped from Downhill Battle's "The Reasons")
The major label system is the biggest barrier to musicians making money off CDs. Major label artists only start getting their tiny share of royalties (5-10%) once they've sold over 500,000 units. Independent musicians can get a bigger cut, but thanks to major label payola they can't get on the radio and won't reach a large audience.

Who's winning? The record labels. Not the artists, not the consumers. That's one of the reasons why I like to promote filesharing. If I find a band I really like, I will find and download more of their songs. When I have five or more works of theirs playing in my iTunes, and I have the cash, I will usually buy their CD. Or legitimately buy their music song by song. I also feel that by promoting music I like, I may be encouraging other people (who have the financial means) to buy their music as well.

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At 6:53 AM, Anonymous Jacob said...

Yet another reason Trent is one of the musicians I respect most in this day and age (in addition to his awesome music, liberal politics, encouragement of youth empowerment and activism, and other things). I believe this comment was specifically addressed at the Australian fans, who are fucked in a very special kind of way -- the record industry arbitrarily marks their CDs up to cost something like $30 USD -- but it probably applies to the States as well. Trent's got some other axes to grind, as well, especially with respect to Year Zero. For example, he paid extra -- himself, out of pocket -- for the color-changing ThermoChrome CD covers (go out and buy the album to see what I mean -- it's part of the awesome YZ experience), and what did the labels do? Mark up the CDs accordingly, even though they had no extra expenses therefor. That's right. They double-dipped on something they never paid for in the first place. He's also stuck in a contract with one of the Jurassic 4 (formerly 5 until a recent merger), which he's almost out of. With his recently putting tracks online for free, publicly attacking the labels, asking people to steal, and so on, you had better fuckin' believe that as soon as his contract's up he's going independent. And it'll do amazingly, you just wait and see. (Don't forget he's promised much more to come for YZ as well -- not only another album, but perhaps a film as well. Who knows how far it could go....) He's got an amazingly devoted fan base, and while the labels have used it to fuck the fans by charging as much as they want (because they know we'll pay... and we will; shit, I bought YZ on the day it was released for full price, in CD form), but he'll do it by lowering prices, making more money himself, and actually respecting his fans. What a Goddamn thought. Trent, thank you for everything.

At 10:50 PM, Anonymous Brian Rodriguez said...

Jacob pretty much said it all, NIN has been and always will a powerful influence to me. Without NIN, there'd be no TBF, plain and simple.

Pick up "Year Zero" and let it embrace you into what our world is and what lies ahead unless we stop it.

To do the right thing sometimes means that we have to burn the bridges, take all that we know and toss it aside, and basically be willing to throw ourselves on the chopping block. It took mad balls for trent to do that, I only hope that I could do the same one day myself.

At 5:09 AM, Anonymous Jacob said...

Amen, Brian. Let's not forget the eerie, half chilling and half beautiful conclusion to YZ, Zero-Sum:

"...And I know you remember
How we could justify it all
And we knew better
In our hearts we knew better
And we told ourselves it didn't matter
And we chose to continue
And none of that matters anymore
In the hour of our twilight
And soon it will be all said and done
And we will all be back together as one
If we will continue at all

Shame on us
Doomed from the start
May God have mercy
On our dirty little hearts
Shame on us
For all we've done
And all we ever were
Just zeroes and ones..."


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