Nine Inch Nails Dumps Record Labels, Going Direct to Fans

Hear that? It's the RIAA quaking in their diamond-coated boots as yet another A-list band gives labels the finger: Pretty hate machine Trent Reznor announced today that "as of right now Nine Inch Nails is a totally free agent, free of any recording contract with any label." Instead of futzing through the hapless middleman of an inept label, Trent's promising "a direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate," so we can expect more experiments in direct distribution and promotion, probably culminating in an album release not unlike Radiohead's In Rainbows.

If two of the biggest acts in the industry can see the digital writing on the wall and totally embrace it—that the old way of doing business is broken—why can't the labels? What Radiohead and NIN are showing is that the business model "of the future" feared by entrenched interests isn't arriving some time in the horizon. It's touching down now. [NIN, Flickr]