NIN Ghosts

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In case you haven’t heard, Nine Inch Nails has done a rather interesting thing with their latest album Ghosts I-IV. The first nine tracks (“Ghosts I”) is available for free online in high quality, DRM free MP3. For $5 you can get the whole thing as a digital download including a 40 page PDF. There are some other options as well for receiving actual physical media if you’re so inclined, the cheapest being $10, and the most expensive being a $300 limited edition package that’s already sold out (only 2,500 were produced).

The catch for a lot of people will probably be that Ghosts is totally instrumental. Ironically, that’s actually what makes me interested in the album. Lately my tastes in listening have turned into more often than not preferring ambient soundscapes to actual songs with instrumentation and vocals. That Ghosts is instrumental and not totally atmospheric is a bit of a concession for me to make, but not hugely so. On the other hand, an instrumental offering is a bit more accessible to people who aren’t normally interested in Nine Inch Nails’ music, so this might actually be quite a smart move. It won’t bring in the vapid Hip-Hop/Pop crowds, but what would, other than more of the same?

I got the free download version earlier this week but hadn’t had an opportunity to listen to it until now. Granted, I’ve only had one full sit-through of the the album, and I generally reserve judgement about music until I’ve heard it a good ten or so times. That said, I’m looking forward to listening to it again and have already put in my order for the complete album. I’d definitely recommend at least checking out the tracks that are freely available for download and make a decision for yourself. Personally, I can’t see a reason why I wouldn’t want to pay $5 for music I enjoy when it goes directly to the artist and supports their efforts to reform the industry.

Update: Trent Reznor is also announcing a “film festival” of sorts on YouTube for people to create their own visual accompaniments to tracks from Ghosts. A very cool move, and pretty indicative of how forward thinking he is.

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