With new music from his group How To Destroy Angels coming next month, Trent Reznor took part in the event An Evening With David Byrne and Trent Reznor last Sunday in Los Angeles, where both musicians discussed their latest projects and debated the current state of the music industry. As Mr. Reznor’s recent deal with Columbia Records sparked a few doubts (thanks to his criticism of major record labels in the last few years), he took the time to address the subject, and explain his reasoning behind going back to a label, as well as the pros and cons of releasing records on his own for a few years.
When he first announced the Columbia deal, Reznor said that “it makes sense for a lot of reasons,” but added: “There’s a much more granular and rambling answer I could give (and likely will in an interview someplace).” Such answer came during last night’s event with David Byrne, as Reznor went into length on explaining the Columbia deal, and his experience with independent releasing. Check out that section of the debate below (via Echoing The Sound):
Mr. Reznor’s basic overview of his independent days came down to an experience that took place when he performed with Nine Inch Nails in Prague, in 2009: “We were playing that night, but I see flyers up for Radiohead, who’s playing the same place we’re playing, six months from then. Then I walk into the record shop, and there isn’t a section that says Nine Inch Nails.” He goes into a basic lack of exposure, where his huge Twitter following means little more than “preaching to that choir of people,” with no possibility of crossing over.
After going into some of the advantages of self-releasing – such as not having the material leak early -, Reznor mentions the proper two reasons for going back to a major label release and distribution: “To have people that are better at that than I am; and that felt like it was worth a slice of the pie in the long term. [How To Destroy Angels’] main agenda at the moment was to make people aware in the right context, versus a little bit more money we might or might not have made.”
Regarding the experience of being on Columbia Records, Reznor stated that it has been “pleasantly pleasant” thus far. Later into the video, he recalls that his experiments with independent releasing were to be viewed as merely that: experiments, learning experiences, as opposed to a definite solution to the major label issue. Three years after saying that labels were pretty much the opposite of “forging your own path,” it seems as if Reznor now wants to say that the big bad companies are not all that bad, and are necessary for artists who want exposure.