Trent Reznor to China: download our music, don't buy it from pirates

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails was in Beijing last week for a rock festival. In a great, inflammatory interview with Music2dot0, Reznor excoriates the labels, promises to go independent and sell through his website -- and he exhorts Chinese fans to download his music for free rather than buying it from pirate CD sellers.
"As for the special situation in China, it does not seem to be easy to obtain Western music via legal channels, so I have the following suggestion for our fans: If you can find and buy our legal CDs, I express my thanks for your support. If you cannot find it, I think that downloading from the Internet is a more acceptable option than buying pirated CDs. Our music is easy to find on the Internet, and you might not need to spend much effort to find most of our songs. If you like our songs after you've heard them, please feel free to share it with your friends. As I have put all my effort and heart into my music, I sincerely hope that more and more people can share the enjoyment with us."
Link (Thanks, Mathew!)


  1. Reznor has been giving his music away for a bit now. He gave a way the With Teeth album before it was released on cd via download and also released the garage band tracks for the Hand the Feeds for fans to remix (an collection of these is apparently in the pipeline). About the half the current cd was available on the internet (released by accidentaly dropping memory sticks) before it came out (you ought to be able to find the webpages and wiki via Digg as I cannot remember what they were called now). Hopefully he and other artists will keep on doing this. They’ve seen it works for them.

  2. Reznor gets it. You do business by communicating at eye level with the people who love you. Musicians who ask for but do not demand your money are the ones who really deserve it. Those whose currency is proliferation are the only true artists.

    I blogged about this topic if anyone cares. The summary is that I downloaded a free MP3 DJ set from the website of DJ Amber and loved it so much I bought a copy. She autographed it. She is the very definition of the enlightened 21st century artist.

  3. I love repeating my point that I bought more CDs when Napster was around then after the crackdown, but anyways.

    Even if you don’t care for NIN, you have to give them credit that they’re releasing their songs in multitrack audio, which allows people to remix them easily. They’ve released tracks since With Teeth. I’ve downloaded Year Zero simply because I want to listen to be before the release, and went and bought it on the first day.

    It’s the RIAA and the industry that doesn’t get it. If the music is good, I would much rather mail the artist a $20 and keep my mp3s – they would’ve got more money than through the labels anyways.

  4. Its also great how Reznor blasted his austrailian distributor for overcharging for his CD. They claimed that since his fans are so loyal, they can charge more cause the fans will pay more.

    Reznor knows that he can put his entire album on his website to listen for free, and people will still buy the CD.

  5. “I love repeating my point that I bought more CDs when Napster was around then after the crackdown, but anyways.”

    So true. I found hundreds of new songs and artists using audiogalaxy back in the day- and bought tons of music because of it. Now, pretty much never..or when I hear something I like on a blog or in passing.

  6. Yet another reason why Trent Reznor is the Coolest Guy in the World. When I’m king, that’ll be his official title.

  7. Trent Reznor was especially mad with the major labels for trying to rip off fans and he highlights that instead of using the widespread reach of the internet to further enhance distribution, labels spend more energy to create digital domain roadblocks in order to preserve their existing fat margins via traditional distribution. For full text of my chat with Reznor in China you can go to

  8. I’m a long time Reznor Fan, and been with him through failure and success, I think he has every right to dictate how his music is spread, others shouldn’t earn from his hard work, I downloaded all his newest tracks when they got leaked ect, then on release day bought 2 of the year zero cd’s and 6 year zero tshirts, he deserves every fucking penny for his genius!

  9. He was excellent at the Beijing Pop Festival, as well. Missed this interview, but he’s right on – legit music (and software, especially western), is nearly impossible to find over here. No credit card = no legal Western media.

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