Saturday, May 16, 2009

On "Ghosts"

In the process of writing an Empoprise-BI post that touched upon Monty Python, I ran across a Matt Safford article that discussed entertainers with loyal followings. In the process, I learned about something that had puzzled me. Safford:

Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor made headlines last year when he released an album, Ghosts I-IV, under a Creative Commons license that expressly allows the music to be copied, shared, and remixed. Reznor also hosted a free download of the first nine tracks on his band's Web site ( He later offered another album, The Slip, for free via the same methods before embarking on a world tour. Apparently, his fans were still willing to pay for the content, because both albums, which were also released on CD, made it into the top 15 on the Billboard 200 chart. Ghosts I-IV hit number one on Billboard's electronic chart, and it was last year's best-selling album overall at's MP3 store. Those are pretty impressive numbers for albums that were legally available for free from the day they were released.

Now I had seen multiple mentions of "Ghosts" in the lastfmfeeds FriendFeed room that I had created, but I hadn't really explored the topic. I went to the official "Ghosts" website:

Nine Inch Nails presents Ghosts I - IV, a brand new 36 track instrumental collection available right now. Almost two hours of new music composed and recorded over an intense ten week period last fall, Ghosts I - IV sprawls Nine Inch Nails across a variety of new terrain.

Trent Reznor explains, "I've been considering and wanting to make this kind of record for years, but by its very nature it wouldn't have made sense until this point. This collection of music is the result of working from a very visual perspective - dressing imagined locations and scenarios with sound and texture; a soundtrack for daydreams. I'm very pleased with the result and the ability to present it directly to you without interference. I hope you enjoy the first four volumes of Ghosts."

I then gave my empoprises e-mail address so that I could download the first nine tracks of Ghosts I. These tracks are completely DRM-free, so while I downloaded it to my brand new home computer, I could put the material on other computers if I so desired.

I still haven't listened to the songs yet...we'll see how they sound, and if I'm inspired to buy.
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