What’s the true monetary value of music? It’s a debate that’s raged for years now, and will no doubt continue for the foreseeable future, especially as Radiohead declares war against Spotify, Pink Floyd against Pandora, and acts such as Jay Z and Lady Gaga invent new ways to distribute their music, leaving Billboard scratching their heads.
Music innovator and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, of course, has an opinion, having released his 2008 album, The Slip, for free online. He’s been catching some slack for his decision to release the band’s new album, Hesitation Marks, on a major label, Columbia, to which he previously replied, “I never signed up to say, ‘hey, I’m the spokesperson for that sort of thing.’”
In a new interview with SPIN, Reznor once again addressed major labeldom and, more specifically, what he perceives the value of his music to be:
“Nine Inch Nails feels bigger than it ever has… Is it because we’re on Columbia? Is it scarcity? I don’t know, but it doesn’t feel bigger in the sense that we’ve desperately adopted some new clothing style. It feels organic, and it feels good not to be worrying about whether or not we shipped vinyl to the cool record store in Prague. I know that what we’re doing flies in the face of the Kickstarter Amanda-Palmer-Start-a-Revolution thing, which is fine for her, but I’m not super-comfortable with the idea of Ziggy Stardust shaking his cup for scraps. I’m not saying offering things for free or pay-what-you-can is wrong. I’m saying my personal feeling is that my album’s not a dime. It’s not a buck. I made it as well as I could, and it costs 10 bucks, or go fuck yourself.”