There was a time when getting a contract with a major record label was one of the most important milestones in a musician’s career, if not the most important milestone. Now it seems more and more simply want to get away. The latest to do so is Trent Reznor, founder of Alternative outfit Nine Inch Nails. "Hello everyone," he told fans in a post on his website. "I’ve waited a long time to be able to make the following announcement: As of right now Nine Inch Nails is a totally free agent, free of any recording contract with any label. I have been under recording contracts for 18 years and have watched the business radically mutate from one thing to something inherently very different and it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally have a direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate. Look for some announcements in the near future regarding 2008. Exciting time, indeed." Reznor’s now former label was InterScope.
RBR observation: The Internet is changing the intertwined recording and broadcasting industries in numerous unpredictable ways. Artists work for one, provide content for the other and seem to be rebelling against both. With multiple competing business interests, considerations of artistic merit, freedom of speech issues, FCC licensing and public interest elements and a high level of consumer interest, it’s hard enough to craft legislation in this arena during stable times. These days, the difficulty is compounded, and a piece of legislation may well be completely out of date before it even makes it to the Oval Office for a presidential autograph. Stay tuned.