The limited edition Nine Inch Nails CD/DVD now in my hands may be brand new, but the music on it isn’t. We reviewed the album, entitled The Slip, when mastermind Trent Reznor first made it available as a free download in May- making a few headlines in the process, and reminding us once again that whether or not he knows where U.S.S. Music Industry is headed, or if it will even stay afloat, he is one of the new captains on board.
There’s no point in talking about music you’ve surely heard for yourself by now, but this release is noteworthy to me at least because it represents the first time I’ve bought a physical CD in a long time. I spend a lot of money on iTunes, I have a Rhapsody account, and I buy a lot of vinyl, but I haven’t had a reason to pay for a CD since I impulsively grabbed a copy of Nora’s Dreamers And Deadmen while in line at Best Buy; the MP3s I had at home were ripped poorly. That was at least a year ago.
So why pay for an album I had already downloaded in high quality MP3 format directly from the artist? For me, besides it being a great album, the main reason was that it came with a cool little DVD of the band doing a bunch of the songs live at rehearsal.
Could every band get me to pay $14 for their CD this way? No. I don’t think Nine Inch Nails even would have gotten that $14, if they hadn’t seduced me by slipping three of the five videos online first. They were great, and they made me want more. In the end, $14 was worth those three videos at DVD quality, and a couple more, assuming they were at least half as good. If the disc was $20, it would have been a harder decision. But I found shelling out $14 on Amazon (where all my shipping & billing information is already saved) easier than downloading a 1GB DVD off a torrent site and burning a copy off.
But pay attention to what happened here: A band gave its album away for free, and then gave three fifths of the accompanying DVD away for free, and still managed to get some hard cash out of a jaded consumer for the physical release weeks later. It happened because Reznor ensured that the package was as valuable- and as good– as the “legal” method of acquisition was convenient. Some minor factors helped- such as the fact that it was a collector’s item limited to 250,000 copies (not much of a limit, but enough to make it feel special). and Amazon offered to throw the vinyl version into my cart with one easy click. I bit.
Fourteen bucks well spent on music.
July 22, 2008
3. Letting You
6. Head Down
7. Lights In The Sky
8. Corona Radiata
9. The Four Of Us Are Dying
10. Demon Seed
Bonus DVD: Live Rehearsals
2. Letting You
5. Head Down