an executive at a record label does not understand what the internet
is, how it works, how people use it, how fans and consumers interact -
no idea. I’m surprised they know how to use email. They have built a
business around selling plastic discs, and nobody wants plastic discs
any more. They’re in such a state of denial it’s impossible for them to
understand what’s happening.
One of the biggest wake-up calls of my career was when I saw a
record contract. I said, ‘Wait – you sell it for $18.98 and I make 80
cents? And I have to pay you back the money you lent me to make it and
then you own it? Who the f**k made that rule? Oh! The record labels
made it because artists are dumb and they’ll sign anything’ – like I
did. When we found out we’d been released (from their recording
contract) it was like, ‘Thank God!’. But 20 minutes later it was,
‘Uh-oh, now what are we going to do?’ It was incredibly liberating, and
it was terrifying.”
We have heard this before, however we have not heard Trent expound on his advice to young bands. I think what our readers should hear is what Trent has to say about what a new band should do in the current climate of the industry. Keep in mind, NIN being one of the biggest music industry success stories of an artist being a heretic and going his own way. Interview below, scroll to 10:30 for the good stuff!