The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Trent ReznorTrent Reznor is stirring up a good bit of commentary today having just announced (via his website) that is finally free of the contractual shackles of his label (Interscope) and looks forward to having what he calls a "direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate".

There are many comparing it to Radiohead's announcement last week (releasing their next album via their own website and inviting fans to pay what they want for it) but it's not really in the same boat. Trent Reznor now finds himself exactly where Radiohead found themselves way back in 2003 when their contract with EMI drew to a close.

Trent says he'll have more "announcements" in 2008 on what he might do. But unless he has a whole bunch of unreleased material already recorded and mastered that doesn't fall under the contractual clutches of Interscope, then it could well be some time before he gets to release some new music à la Radiohead on his fan base. Especially if his intention is to make money from these recordings. Fans would be wise to not hold their breath as it is no cake walk to put in place what is required to digitally distribute new music directly to the fan (as Trent desires) while making money from it. Not impossible, just far from easy unless you rope in the services of a third party to make it happen (and who will want their slice of the cake). All the skills required won't be found in his entourage today, he may find he has to compromise on the 'direct' part of his goal.

What is also going to be interesting is to see what he means by 'audience' when he talks of a "direct relationship with the audience". Does his definition of an audience stop at those who get their music by downloading? Or does he care about the fans who - holy batman - still like to actually buy a CD? A diminishing - but still significant - number of fans fall into this latter category and they are hardly going to drop off the edge of the earth in the next two or so years. Laggards they may be in adopting the latest technologies, but laggards with money in their pocket. My bet is he will soon be knocking back on the door of major labels to see about leveraging their distribution channels for distributing CDs of his future recordings to retail outlets (on- and off-line) where, despite the rise of downloads, significant numbers of CDs are still sold. In 2008 there will still be too many fans outside the narrow (but expanding world) of download-ville for Trent to ignore.

Congrats to Trent on his newly found freedom. But the opportunity of such independence brings with it a whole new set of challenges. Once in a while it might even hurt. (Immediate apologies to the tasteful among you for descending to such depths of bad pun-dom).

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2002 - Interview with Rodrigo y Gabriela, by Cormac Looney. As with Damien Rice's profile, this interview was published before Rodrigo y Gabriela's career took off overseas. It too continues to attract considerable visits every month to the article from Wikipedia.