Published Mar 13, 2008Skeptics of label-free online music distribution should be eating their words right about now. The first week sales figures for NIN's four-part instrumental odyssey have been revealed. Trent Reznor's first label-free affair has already accumulated $1,619,420.
Released in a variety of formats on March 2 through NIN's website, Ghosts I-IV "immediately sold out" its 2,500 copy run of the "Ultra-Deluxe Limited Edition." Signed by Reznor, the package was priced at $300 for four slabs of vinyl, remixable session files for all 36 tracks, exclusive books of art, the double cd version of Ghosts as well as a Blu-ray high-res stereo mix of the album.
That uber-fan edition only accounts for $750,000 of those dollars; the rest are accounted for from the fans who purchased the $5 download, the $10 physical copy (which will be released to traditional record stores on April 8), or the limited but not ultra-limited edition version for $75. In total, 781,917 transactions were processed for the album, including the free quarter-album download option.
Cutting out the middle men works wonders for the bank account when you have an insanely rabid fan-based, doesn't it Trent?
As for the Radiohead comparisons that seem to haunt a move such as Reznor's, he's addressed the band's "innovative" approach to releasing music as "shrewd" but "insincere." Speaking with ABC, Reznor said: "What they did was a cool thing; I think the way they parlayed it into a marketing gimmick has certainly been shrewd. But if you look at what they did, though, it was very much a bait and switch to get you to pay for a MySpace-quality stream as a way to promote a very traditional record sale.
"There's nothing wrong with that - but I don't see that as a big revolution [that] they're kinda getting credit for. What they did right: they surprised the world with a new record, and it was available digitally first. What they did wrong: by making it such a low quality thing, not even including artwork... to me that feels insincere."
Poor loser or respectful artist? You decide.