In May Trent Reznor announced a Nine Inch Nails deal with Columbia Records for the upcoming release "Hesitation Marks." Reznor's gearing up for the release and subsequent tour with comments to the media including a few about his choice to return to a major label. Having already tested the waters with How To Destroy Angels, it looks like he's finding Columbia a good fit.
In May Reznor enthusiastically revealed that he had completed a new NIN record and had signed a deal with Columbia Records for its release:
"For the last year I've been secretly working non-stop with Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder on a new, full-length Nine Inch Nails record, which I am happy to say is finished and frankly f---ing great."
When DIY Isn't Getting It Done
Trent Reznor brought How To Destroy Angels to Columbia last year surprising many given his prior DIY focus. He noted:
"It really comes down to us experimenting and trying new things to see what best serves our needs. Complete independent releasing has its great points but also comes with shortcomings.”
In an appearance with David Byrne, Reznor had positive words to say about working with Columbia:
"To have a team of people that are better at that [marketing and distribution] than I am worldwide...that felt like it was worth slicing the pie up monetarily. Our main agenda at the moment was to make people aware of it in the right context versus a little bit more money we might or might not make."
"And so far it's been pleasantly pleasant. Having people that actually kind of know what they're talking about. Having a team, it's been nice."
Though that was understated praise, he said more about the situation for an upcoming SPIN cover story referencing staff cutbacks at major labels:
"If there used to be 100 people at a major working on a record now there are 18, but they're the good ones...There's a lean, mean hunger. I'm not trying to be a major label apologist, I'm just telling you what I saw."
"Now, instead of me trying to figure things out, there's an extra 15 people and the sense that someone in France was aware of what we were doing — instead of us hoping we'd remembered that France existed. So when a Nine Inch Nails album was in the works, and the mission was to try to make as many people aware of it as we can, we thought, 'Let's try it. Let's see what happens.'"
In his statements about working with Columbia Records to date, Reznor's been pretty clear that he was seeking a team that would support his sizable needs because what he was doing wasn't getting the job done. That's not to say that there weren't other possible routes but the fact that he's done a second deal suggests that he really has found good people with which to work.
It's also a reminder that established artists have more deal options available these days. As David Byrne noted in their joint appearance:
"Now there's lots of different models that a musician can take. It's not like this is the way the record business works, this is the way the contract is, take it or leave it, that's it. Now there's a whole spectrum of things that can be done."
- Trent Reznor Abandons D.I.Y. And Returns To A Major Label
- Trent Reznor & David Byrne On DIY vs Major Labels
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.