NIN – 10 bucks or go fuck yourself.

Quaint title. So this is more an interest piece really.

It’s no secret that I and many of you are fans of Nine Inch Nails. And whilst I’m not completely over the Scala mess – where the internet melted as everyone in London apparently tried to get tickets for the intimate gig in the North London haunt to be met with a sold out sign as soon as the website did work. I didn’t get tickets can you tell. Can you hear the resentment between the lines haha. Still, I am really looking forward to the new album – which drops next week September 3rd. I know there is an album stream on The Guardian – but I’m waiting so I can hear the audiophile version first – details on that below.

Trent Reznor has experimented with business models before, with his last album, 2008’s The Slip (which was free) and the Ghosts release (which was free for the first 9 tracks but with the bigger 36 track lossless versions costing money). For his latest – Hesitation Marks – which is on a major – Sony/Columbia (a weird move considering his outspoken views on major labels) he says

It costs ten bucks, or go fuck yourself

Well he actually said more than that to SPIN recently –

It feels organic, and it feels good not to be worrying about whether or not we shipped vinyl to the cool record store in Prague. I know that what we’re doing flies in the face of the Kickstarter Amanda-Palmer-Start-a-Revolution thing, which is fine for her, but I’m not super-comfortable with the idea of Ziggy Stardust shaking his cup for scraps. I’m not saying offering things for free or pay-what-you-can is wrong. I’m saying my personal feeling is that my album’s not a dime. It’s not a buck. I made it as well as I could, and it costs 10 bucks, or go fuck yourself.

What is of note though is that there will be a second mastered version of the album available for free, if you buy Hesitation Marks direct from NIN. You’ve the normal commercial version AKA the brickwalled, loudness war version which in order to have the loudness will have less low end and nuance and an audiophile version.

The album’s mastering engineer Tom Baker, via the NIN Tumblr

The standard version is “loud” and more aggressive and has more of a bite or edge to the sound with a tighter low end. The Audiophile Mastered Version highlights the mixes as they are without compromising the dynamics and low end, and not being concerned about how “loud” the album would be. The goal was to simply allow the mixes to retain the spatial relationship between instruments and the robust, grandiose sound.

Which added to Alan Moulder’s words

…we decided to treat the mastering process in a slightly different way to the usual…

The biggest issue in mastering these days tends to be how loud can you make your record. It is a fact that when listening back-to-back, loud records will come across more impressively, although in the long run what you sacrifice for that level can be quality and fidelity. So after much discussion we decided to go with two versions. On the main release Tom did exceptional work to maintain the integrity of our mixes and reproduce the low end as much as possible and still get a decent level, although it’s still nowhere as loud as a lot of modern records. The Audiophile Mastered Version is more true to how the mixes sounded to us in the studio when we were working on the songs.


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