Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails has proclaimed the act a “free agent” from record labels. While we have to wait until some announcements regarding 2008 to find out just what NIN is up to, this looks dramatically different than what Radiohead did a few days ago. Gizmodo doesn’t seem to get that:
“If two of the biggest acts in the industry can see the digital writing on the wall and totally embrace it—that the old way of doing business is broken…”
But Radiohead is not avoiding the old business model completely, they’re simply delaying it initially. While they’re offering their new album at a “name your own price” download, they will also hook up with a label for physical CD distribution. I think Radiohead is hedging their bets and covering all the bases.
For all I know NINs will do the same thing, but Trent’s post makes it appear (to me, at least) that they won’t be messing with a label at all. If so, then this is a true swing at the labels, much more so than Radiohead’s move. But how will they do this? Will they take on CD distribution themselves? Use digital distribution exclusively? Sounds like they aren’t sure yet…