Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails does not feel like he and his friends in the recording industry are facing a tough situation in the difficult new internet world, where both artists and labels suffer from rampant illegal downloading. Instead, he feels caught between his fans and the labels, and is looking forward to the day his last contractual obligation to a label is fulfilled so he can divorce himself from them. In an interview with Australia’s Herald Sun, he said, "It’s a very odd time to be a musician on a major label, because there’s so much resentment towards the record industry that it’s hard to position yourself in a place with the fans where you don’t look like a greedy a*******."
If people didn’t like his latest work, fine, but he knows its out there on iPods, and people are stealing it. What are the record companies doing about it? He said he walked into a store in Australia and found his CDs priced 10 dollars higher than more popular releases. Local recording execs told him that was because his audience was so loyal that they could be gouged, because they’d buy the work at any price.
Reznor was furious that the loyalty of his fan base was being exploited, and to top it off, he wasn’t seeing on penny of the extra cash.
He said if he was free of the labels right now, he’d sell his material directly on his own website at less than a quarter of the going retail rate, and market other related material as well.
RBR observation: It’s just another reminder that the battle for radio performance royalties is not all that it seems to be. If an artist like Reznor wants royalties when he’s a free agent all the way from composing to performing to marketing, that’s one thing. However, we hope and suspect he’s smart enough to realize that radio can drive traffic to his website.