Free Album From Nine Inch Nails The Best Selling Album Of 2008

Need a reminder that the Internet has changed the economics of music?

Nine Inch Nails‘ Creative Commons licensed Ghosts I-IV, which was released as a free download, is ranked the best selling MP3 album of 2008 on Amazon’s MP3 store.

Despite the fact that you could download Ghosts legally from file-sharing networks, and despite the fact that you could copy the album and share it with your friends, people, in droves, purchased the release at Amazon. 

I’ll be very surprised if more artists don’t try to reproduce NIN’s success in 2009. 

What do you think this means for artists that don’t have the high profile of Trent Reznor and NIN?

via CC

3 thoughts on “Free Album From Nine Inch Nails The Best Selling Album Of 2008

  1. That could very well be the wake-up call the record industry needs.

    Treat people like thieves, and they’ll end up stealing from you. Treat people with respect and intelligence, and they’ll buy your stuff by the bucket-load.

    On the other hand… could a band without NIN’s profile pull it off? Somewhat doubtful… part of the reason NIN sells so much of anything is that they have massive availability, and huge name recognition. Trent could release an album of farting and it would still sell very very well.

  2. Slightly innaccurate – only the 1st part of it was free! Ghosts II-IV you had to pay for…

    Pretty amazing, but as Al points out, only a group with the massive fanbase that NIN has (a fanbase they obtained through big-label support, like radiohead) can do this sort of thing.

    I’m no fan of the big labels, but all these artists who use them to get famous and then drop them when they’re big enough to go it alone are not really helping. Radiohead would likely be totally unknown without the major label backing they had early on.

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