I was honestly going to take a break from Trent Reznor posts today, but the man’s a better quote machine than Iggy Pop these days. Remember that pseudo how-to for struggling artists Reznor posted on NIN.com recently? As you could imagine, the whole thing caused quite a stir, prompting TopSpin’s Ian Rogers to post a response to the concerns of a few fans and Reznor to amend the original rant.
The interesting bit to me is that Reznor is warning artists to steer clear of Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want scheme. Sure, he has ranted about his fellow digital revolutionaries before, calling their offer “a bait and switch to get you to pay for a MySpace-quality stream,” but this time he is more specific about the danger of letting fans choose the value of your music. Here’s the full excerpt:
This is where you offer tracks or albums for a user-determined price. I hate this concept, and here’s why. Some have argued that giving music away free devalues music. I disagree. Asking people what they think music is worth devalues music. Don’t believe me? Write and record something you really believe is great and release it to the public as a “pay-what-you-think-it’s-worth” model and then let’s talk. Read a BB entry from a “fan” rationalizing why your whole album is worth 50 cents because he only likes 5 songs on it. Trust me on this one – you will be disappointed, disheartened and find yourself resenting a faction of your audience. This is your art! This is your life! It has a value and you the artist are not putting that power in the hands of the audience – doing so creates a dangerous perception issue. If the FEE you are charging is zero, you are not empowering the fan to say this is only worth an insultingly low monetary value. Don’t be misled by Radiohead’s In Rainbows stunt. That works one time for one band once – and you are not Radiohead.