Journos and music fans from all corners fawned over Radiohead for their bold release strategy for In Rainbows. After breaking with the majors, Trent Reznor and his parter-in-crime Saul Williams are taking that strategy and stepping it up to the next level of awesome. Saul's new Trent-produced album The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust is now available two ways: Free or $5. For zilch, you get the whole album in DRM-free 192kbps MP3 encoded with LAME 3.97 "and love," plus the digital booklet (take that, Radiohead). For $5, you get the digital booklet and a choice between 320kbps MP3 or FLAC lossless, meaning even audiophiles can feel good about purchasing a digital copy.
While he kind of dodged the question in the famed interview he revealed he was a former OiNK member, this feels like a pointer toward where the release of the next NIN album is heading. I'd still prefer a physical CD, personally, but this kind of digital release I can get behind—the price and the format are right. The rest of the industry would do well to pay close attention to how this turns out—or not, and simply follow suit. [Niggy Tardust]