For Nine Inch Nails (NIN) fans out there, there’s a great resource for musicians that’s quietly tucked away in the internet. A year or so ago, the NIN website changed to a new “Modern” format which got rid of all of its community links in favor of more direct links to their twitter and facebook page and music links to their iTunes and Soundcloud pages. This replaced links to their onsite community which included an onsite forum and a place where you could download the studio files of specific NIN tracks and then share your remixes of those tracks.
And while the change on http://www.nin.com got rid of those links, those places still exist!
Remix site: http://remix.nin.com/
I’ve been meaning to do a remix of one of Trent Reznor’s songs, but given the promises of my Royalty Free Music and the almost absolute certainty that these tracks are in a YouTube Content I.D. management system somewhere, I’ve not done so yet and I haven’t been able to get any specifics on how I would appease the NIN gods in trying to distribute a remixed track on my site. And distributing my own remix through iTunes would definitely be out of the question.
In any case, the most important post on the forum comes from Trent Reznor himself, who addresses aspiring musicians concerns on getting out there and trying to make a living doing music. This post is 2007, which is before YouTube was ubiquitous across the internet, but in terms of money, Mr Reznor had this to say:
“The point is this: music IS free whether you want to believe that or not. Every piece of music you can think of is available free right now a click away. This is a fact – it sucks as the musician BUT THAT’S THE WAY IT IS (for now). So… have the public get what they want FROM YOU instead of a torrent site and garner good will in the process (plus build your database). ”
In my defense, I read this forum post AFTER I started my music project and also AFTER the core, proto-beginnings of my website was set in stone.
But, Trent Reznor goes on to hint that musicians way of making money should not directly correspond to the direct transfer of music from one hand to another: T-Shirt sales, touring concerts, etc. The musicians that have signed deals with major labels do have a better outlook in terms of revenue, but they willingly sacrifice ownership of their writings, their music to the labels that they have signed to.
This was seven years ago, of course. So has this state of music changed in the better part of a decade? In my opinion, things have changed, but for you aspiring musicians out there, the overall state of the monetization of music has stayed the same, and maybe even become worse.
In my mind, places like Pirate Bay or some form of it will always exist. If government heads are finally able to bring that place down, then more than likely, a new place will be built up to replace it. Remember that before Pirate Bay, there was a slew of other sites and peer to peer file-sharing programs that started with Napster. Government legislation and court rulings haven’t stopped music piracy and nobody’s proved that this sort of piracy was the thing that killed the mainstream music industry in the first place (I will write about this later).
So I take a page of Trent Reznor’s advice. My site gives away my music for free. That is the core functionality of the site and it’s that heart of the site that will never change.
For the other thing that I recognize in addition to changes in technology since this 2007 post is the fact that people in the world are in a worse state now, in 2014, than they were in back then. 2007 was the year that the real-estate collapse reared its ugly head and a year before the 2008 market collapse.
And right now, in my mind, the government attempts to restart the economy have been celebrated with fake growth and job creation that pays people less per capita, both in real numbers and accounting for inflation. So right now people have less money to throw around. They are less well off. People are struggling to survive and in these times, paying for music seems more of a luxury that less and less people can afford.
So the concept of my site is concrete and it will stay that way until the internet dies. That’s my promise.