The big announcement that seems to be slowly making waves this morning is the announcement by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor that his latest album, a two-disc set of instrumentals, and one apparently no one knew was coming, would be out in April, the 8th to be exact, but is available right now a la Radiohead for download. Grab the first 1/4 of the album for free, or pay $5 and get it in basically any of the popular formats (mp3, FLAC, ALAC) along with a 40 page PDF booklet. Or pay $10 and get not only your choice of download but also the CDs when they’re released in April.
Where NIN gets it right is where Radiohead got it wrong. Where Radiohead simply offered up two options – either download the album for any price as a 160kbps mp3 or buy the CD with a bonus disc in a box with two vinyl discs, NIN went the real deluxe route, offering up a significantly deluxe-ified edition for those willing to pony up $75. Not only do you get the above discs and downloads, you also get a DVD filled with the multitracks to do with as you please – remix to your heart’s content (2007’s Year Zero Remixed also included a DVD like this) – plus you get a BluRay disc of 24 bit 96Khz high resolution audio (is this a first?) The four discs will be contained in a cloth-covered, hardback book, which, along with another hardcover book filled with artwork, go inside of a cloth-covered box.
And if you’re feeling especially wealthy, cough up $300 and Trent will give you not only vinyl in their own boxes plus all of the above, he’ll sign it all in his own blood. Well, okay, maybe not his own blood, but he will sign the set. This version, by the way, is strictly limited to 2500 copies. If you want it, buy now.
Do I sound optimistic? Do I sound excited? I am – this is a much more worthwhile investment than the Radiohead “Disc Box” for In Rainbows, in my opinion. Trent has been paying attention, apparently, to the many complaints that were registered when Radiohead offered up their downloads, and opted to do what they should have done in the first place. It’s unfortunate that Ghosts I-IV won’t be his In Rainbows but instead will function more as Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2 freaky cousin on speed, but at least he’s taken the step that needed to be taken to truly be a forward-looking artist in a new age.