Nine Inch Nails is routinely mentioned alongside Radiohead in references to sizable stars who've made new music available online prior to distributing physical copies via time-tested methods. Nonetheless, there are enormous distinctions between their approaches.
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Radiohead allowed surfers to choose the price for In Rainbows, a significant addition to its catalogue. In contrast, NIN's Trent Reznor allowed free downloads of nine tracks from Ghosts I-IV and charged $5 for digital versions of all 36 cuts — a great deal had the tunes compared favorably to his best efforts. But, no: Rather than offering fully formed compositions, Reznor rolled out a series of instrumental sketches he created with assistance from Atticus Ross, Alan Moulder and guests such as Adrian Belew. The songs are denoted numerically, which is appropriate, since they constitute often-interchangeable doodles, not major NIN works.
In Rainbows truly broke the mold. As for Ghosts, now available at retail outlets, it's a curio masquerading as a revolution.
Nine Inch Nails