Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nine Inch Nails: The fear that drives the band

What is it that keeps Trent Reznor going? A face in his head, that's what:

Now when I’m offstage, I’m not same guy onstage but it’s driven by the same place. I’d never want to be Gene Simmons, an old man who puts on makeup to entertain kids, like a clown going to work ... In my paranoia, I fear that if I don’t stop this, it could become that. Because it’s nice to get a paycheck, and now the only way to get a paycheck is to play live, so it’s all those things swirling around in my head.

Reznor is pretty sharp on the challenges facing people who rely on music for their paycheques:
It’s a kind of Mafia-type run business .. They have systematically taken advantage of artists over the years from The Beatles onwards. You [the artists] do all the work, they loan you money to make records, then you pay them back and they own everything. To see that system collapse is an exciting thing. There isn’t a clear answer on what the right thing to do is right now, and as a musician you’re up against a pretty difficult scenario: most kids feel it’s OK to steal music, and do freely ... The good news is that people are excited and interested in music ...

It's perhaps disappointing to hear him use the RIAA phrase "steal music"...
As an artist it’s your job to capitalize on that. It means generally swallowing a bitter pill and saying, ‘Hey, people don’t want to buy music, so let me give it to you. I’ll find another way to make money but I want you on my side and hearing my music. So let’s get rid of this walled garden of having to pay to hear it, here it is, give it to your friends. Hey, try to come to our show if you can, or you can buy this T-shirt of ours if you like, and that will help us out. Or, here’s a nice version of our album that we put in a cool package for a premium price and we’re only selling a couple thousands of them.’

... because it's clear that what he means is not that people are stealing at all; they're just not placing any cash value on the digital product. It's not theft, it's the market exerting its logic, Trent - which is what you show by your responses.


1 comment:

Olive said...

Er, didn't NIN release an album that was, you know, free to download?
Funny that Resnor thinks that record companies only started shafting musicians when the Beatles appeared. This must be a relief to the vast army of musicians that have been rogered by their labels since the thirties.

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