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Trent, I Love It When You Talk Dialogg to Me

April 7, 2009

Last week, it was announced that Trent Reznor would become the 4th subject in a Digg Dialogg. TR got more questions submitted- 3964- than Republican House Leader John Boehner, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and former Vice President Al Gore. Hmmm…long live rock stars!


The video is 40 minutes and 44 seconds of a very tan TR answering the Top 10 dugg questions, asked by Kevin Rose. Luckily my questions somewhat got answered within these 10.

Here are the questions and the highlights from the answers:

1. Your business model still primarily involves selling music either digitally or physically. Why haven’t you embraced advertising as a business model? (+710 diggs, view question, submitted by Kethinov)

Essentially, TR thinks that record companies should adopt a subscription based model, where a monthly fee gives you an all access pass to different types of content. However, he realizes that this is far from any record company’s radar.

2. What is the most embarrassing song on your iPod? (+571 diggs, view question, submitted by lindbergrm)

Cece Peniston’s Finally and Bel Biv DeVoe’s Poison blasts on their stereo before going on stage.

And, yes, he sings part of ‘Finally’ to K-Rose. NIN fans rejoice.

3. What advice do you have for up and coming bands who chose the internet for distribution over traditional channels? (+463 diggs, view question, submitted by chris4404)

He starts by dividing the Timberlakes and American Idols and Pussycat Dolls away from the rest of artists who want to do something different. The first group needs to be on AI for success. The second group needs to get a myspace, website, make a cool video, and/or do some kind of stunting followed up by substance to get fans interested and succeed.

He also delves into the sources that people learn about music from (my question for him), and how the filters used to be MTV, radio, and magazines. Now it is blogs (no, he did not name drop HardRockChick.com). He recommended that bands find blogs that cover their niche and communicate with them. I wholeheartedly agree, and you can reach me at hardrockchick at hardrockchick dot com.

K-Rose follows this up by asking if an artist can make money though itunes. TR says it hasn’t worked for him, and recommended Topspin, who I’m sure will see an increase in traffic today. They essentially help artists communicate with fans and manage their catalog.

He ties this up by saying that artists need “bottom up marketing”, giving Arcade Fire as an example, instead of “top down”, citing Coldplay toilet paper as an example. Ha!

4. What tech gadgets, hardware, software, can you not live without? (+448 diggs, view question, submitted by kevinrose)

K-Rose fanboyed on this one by asking his own question, which got a straightforward response of the iPhone, and a mention of the NIN app and GPS. Wha, no Twitter mention? But you love it so!

5. Have the plans to release a Year Zero mini-series on HBO fallen through? Or can we still look forward to a video representation of the album? (+389 diggs, view question, submitted by halofourteen)

He LOVES this question, because the fans have been asking it over and over again already. He mentions that he jumped the gun on talking about it, that it wasn’t greenlit out of the original meeting, but now is showing a lot of promise (but we knew that from his twitter post last week). Other things mentioned were that it would maybe see the light in “the next couple years”, he would “not be in it” but would rather “oversee creative”, and that it is about “the dramatic unraveling of the end of the world”. Then there was a passing remark about a “few things in the fire”. Hmm…

6. What is your favorite thing you have seen done with your music by a fan of NIN? (+335 diggs, view question, submitted by JCrichton)

He had a hard time specifically answering this one- so the fans that were hoping for the recognition that you all strive for can just keep waiting! He mentions the remix site, the Ghosts film fest on youtube that he still has to finish, and the torrent release of the LITS concert footage that several people are working on.

He did mention that his philosophy behind setting these fan driven projects up is in thinking about it from the fan perspective of his favorite bands- If Queen released raw concert footage- “I’d be into that”.

7. What are some of your favorite video games? (+287 diggs, view question, submitted by christoscamaro)

First, I must preface this by saying that because HRC’s real money-makin’ job is in gaming, I was VERY interested in this response.

“I’ve always been interested in videogames”, he says. He talked about Wolfenstein on the PC, and how Doom was “the coolest thing that I’d ever seen in my life”, which led to working on the Quake soundtrack. “An alternate path my life could have taken was the life of a programmer”. Whoa- you chose wisely! He mentions something I am VERY familiar with- “big publishers have gone the route of record companies”, talking about how they only want sequels and movie licensing deals (tell me about it!). Then, the very interesting comment is made that he pitched a game to some publishers with Rob Sheridan a while back. K-Rose neglects to probe into this. FAIL.

He sums it up by saying that he thinks all the innovative stuff will come from WiiWare and XBLA (i.e. from indie developers), mentioning his love for Geometry Wars (to which K-Rose asks to trade XBLA namertags- ha!), and that his all time fave, Robotron (his Twitter avatar), exemplifies the simplicity in the arcade games of the past that are still fun today.

8. Will any of the records of your side project Tapeworm, with TOOL frontman Maynard James Keenan, ever be released? (+251 diggs, view question, submitted by metalchik)

Another question he LOVES because the fans always ask it. This one can be summed up by this quote: “The end result was mediocre through a lack of focus”. They knew that the result had to be a 10/10, and it turned out “in the 7 range”. However, he loves Maynard and is sure they’ll do something in the future.

9. Since you are a tech artist, are you planning an online concert? (+251 diggs, view question, submitted by jacobo)

He mentions his meeting with James Cameron to discuss 3D technology, and how they talked about the possibilities of a direct to theater live broadcast. “If we could pull something off like that it would be interesting”. However, he is hesitant for any paid model online- equating it to ‘snake oil’- because as soon as you put something online it can be found for free.

He goes on to chastise LiveNation (he was going to get a jab in for them somewhere, right?), and their offers to give you something for free with a ticket purchase, when you can already get that item for free anyway.

He summed it up by saying that they are talking about ways to screen shows live in a low-fi way, including the open camera policy he is working on for the upcoming shows, and how he is taking the other bands thoughts on the subject into consideration.

10. Is there tension between art director Rob Sheridan and basist Justin Meldal-Johnsen over coverage of the Scientology protest? (+222 diggs, view question, submitted by YourMomsAnAnon)

No me likey this question- it has nothing to do with TR. Stupid Digg.

Key quotes:
-“Not that I know of”.
-“I am mostly not religious in any way”
-“In the band for the first time we are all friends and respect each other…and we are trying to change the world”


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