Nine Inch Nails Album Is Free Online
In an unusual nod to the popularity of free music online, the rock act Nine Inch Nails is offering its new album, “The Slip,” through its Web site — for nothing.
In a post on the band’s Web site, www.nin.com, the band’s leader, Trent Reznor, said, “Thank you for your continued and loyal support over the years — this one’s on me.”
The album, which became available for download just after 3 a.m. Eastern time on Monday, appears to represent the first time a superstar act has distributed an entire album without any opportunity for people to pay for it. Its release comes two months after the band issued the instrumental album “Ghosts I-IV” and allowed fans to obtain a portion of it for free or the entire recording for $5. Before that, the British rock act Radiohead broke with convention by offering its 2007 album, “In Rainbows,” online under a tip-jar-style setup in which people could name their own price — including zero.
Mr. Reznor’s new offer could serve as another test of how the easy availability of free music online affects subsequent CD sales and other money-making opportunities. “The Slip” will not be sold on CD or vinyl until at least July, according to representatives for the band. But the free digital version could stoke interest for Nine Inch Nails’ recently announced concert tour. Already, radio stations have shown interest in “Discipline,” a song from “The Slip” that was released about two weeks ago.
As with the “Ghosts I-IV,” the new album is being released with a Creative Commons license, an unconventional type of intellectual-property license that allows the copyright holder to specify which rights it does and does not reserve. The band is allowing fans to share or remix the music for non-commercial purposes.
The record industry, which has suffered a protracted sales slump, has experimented with a handful of ventures built on offering music for free while generating revenue from advertising sales. And free music is becoming part of many big acts’ publicity campaigns. Last week, the British rock act Coldplay, signed to the music giant EMI Group, announced that it is offering “Violet Hill,” the first single from its upcoming album, for free for a limited time.
Not everyone seems convinced that such giveaways will emerge as much more than a promotional gimmick — not even Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. He recently told The Hollywood Reporter trade paper that his band’s pay-what-you-want offer was a one-time thing. “I don’t think it would have the same significance now anyway, if we chose to give something away again,” he said. “It was a moment in time.”
But Jim Guerinot, the talent manager whose clients include Nine Inch Nails, suggested otherwise. “I think free has been very important for a long time,” he said. He noted that Nine Inch Nails itself oversaw the leaking of certain tracks from its last major-label album, 2007’s “Year Zero,” as part of a reality game designed to excite fans. Since the now-independent band controls its own recordings, he added, it can “acknowledge what the marketplace is already showing us: free exists whether you want to acknowledge it or not. Let’s acknowledge that, use it and do something with it.”
Laryngitis forces Avril Lavigne to postpone concerts
Avril Lavigne has laryngitis and has postponed shows on her national tour this week.
The 23-year-old singer, whose hits include "Complicated" and "Girlfriend," backed out of performances in Los Angeles and Anaheim over the weekend. She was supposed to perform in Santa Barbara on Tuesday, San Jose on Wednesday, Spokane, Wash., on Friday and Everett, Wash., on Saturday.
"My sincerest apologies to all of my fans," Lavigne said in a message posted Saturday on her Web site. "My intention was to complete the rest of the tour but tonight at sound check in Anaheim I realized this wasn't possible. Even though I have been resting my voice for days, when I tried to sing nothing came out."
Laryngitis also forced Lavigne to cancel dates last week in Phoenix and San Diego.
Refunds are available where fans purchased tickets, Lavigne's message said.
Scarlett & Ryan Engaged!
Ryan Reynolds has more than Scarlett fever—he has a Scarlett fiancée.
Reps for both Scarlett Johansson and Reynolds confirm to E! News that the blond bombshell and her actor beau are engaged.
No further details, including when the question was popped, the size of her rock or whether they've set a wedding date, have been announced.
However, a source close to Johansson tells E! News that the couple have actually been betrothed "for a little while," and they have kept the engagement on the down-low because "they want to keep things private."
The 23-year-old actress and soon-to-be recording artist and the 31-year-old Definitely, Maybe star first stepped out publicly together in April 2007, just two months after Reynolds and fellow Canadian Alanis Morissette called off their own lengthy engagement.
Johansson, for her part, was previously linked to Josh Hartnett.
While we're not sure how Reynolds delivered the ring to his future missus, he may have gained inspiration from his latest movie, which costars Sandra Bullock and is rather aptly named The Proposal.