Nine Inch Nails

CC Case Studies: What are the latest?

Michelle Thorne, June 16th, 2009

One month in to the revamped CC Case Studies project, and you might be curious to hear how it’s going. For starters, there have been some brilliant new submissions, the most compelling of which will be included in upcoming publications and research. We’re still collecting more user-submitted studies, so hop over to our wiki and add YOUR story!

Here’s a taste of what’s available:

remixhome

UC Berkeley shares with us their open archaeology experiment, Remixing Çatalhöyük. This innovative project interprets archaeological excavations from a 9,000-year-old settlement mound of Çatalhöyük in central Turkey, and it employs Creative Commons licensing to encourage academics and students alike to explore and remix their data sets and multimedia.

UrbanMinistry.org has written to us about a unique case study on how they use Creative Commons licenses to better deliver online faith-based materials and social services to under-resourced communities.

silviao

A submission by Linux Outlaws demonstrates how their freely licensed content created “a vibrant and active community of listeners and fans.” The show’s producers write that the “surprising success of the show would never have been possible without the ability, and explicit encouragement, to share the content freely in every way possible.”

There are of course a number of “classic” CC studies to browse, such as the well-detailed account of the Nine Inch Nails release, The Slip, and the award-winning citizen media platform Global Voices Online. A few people also have begun writing non-English case studies, for example one about Berlin’s CC-music-only bar, Breipott, or the Colombian singer Silvia O.

The CC Case Studies are a growing and community-driven resource. The stories are as powerful as the information that supports them, so we welcome you to take a moment and share with us why YOU use CC and how. The more data you can provide about your work, the better.

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Trent Reznor on NIN’s Business Models and the Future of Music

Fred Benenson, April 9th, 2009

For Digg.com‘s fourth Digg Dialogg, Kevin Rose interviews NIN’s front man Trent Reznor with questions submitted by the Digg community. Not surprisingly, the top rated question refers to NIN’s choice to use Creative Commons licenses when releasing his two recent albums. One of those albums, Ghosts I-IV, topped Amazon MP3 as the best selling album of 2008.

Trent & Kevin

NIN’s experiments in music publishing were not accidents. In the interview, the soft-spoken Reznor carefully articulates the reasoning for his new forays as well as his advice for up-and-coming artists. NIN has a huge fan base and a lot at stake here; these are not academic rants with no practical interests at stake, but rather the actual beliefs of a working, career musician whose career depends on their success. If you watch one interview about the future of music, this should be it.

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Help Portishead Find a New Business Model

Cameron Parkins, February 17th, 2009

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portishead @ atp, obo-bobolina | CC BY-NC

Portishead, an experimental-pop group and pioneers of the early 90s electronica movement, announced yesterday that they are now “free agents”, having completed their three record deal with Island Records. The band is looking at new ways to sell their music and are reaching out to their fans for advice:

with the world being the way it is there are lots of options open……but if you lot have any bright ideas of how we should sell our music in the future lets us know , why not!

i dont think that were into giving out music away for free to be honest…it [...] takes ages to write and we have to heat our swimming pools…..!!!

While Portishead mention an aversion to giving away music for free, our thoughts immediately turned to a CC+ licensing model similar to what Nine Inch Nails used in marketing Ghosts I-IV and The Slip this past year. NIN gave away their music for free under a CC BY-NC-SA license, but they also found immediate and substantial financial return as well as seeing their long-term sales flourish.

NIN achieved this by selling different versions of the same content; there was the initial free download of the first nine tracks of Ghosts, but fans could also purchase a $5 download of the whole album, a $10 2xCD set, a $75 DVD box set, and finally, a limited edition $300 ultra-deluxe box set signed and numbered by Trent himself, all of it CC licensed. Given the notoriety of Portishead fans, something tells us that if the band were to offer a $300 unreleased album in an ultra-deluxe box set in conjunction with freely licensed versions of the same music, it would probably sell out just as quick as NIN’s 2,500 copies did.

So let Portishead know that there are indeed ways to make money while giving music away for free – its all about connecting with their fans via CC, and giving them an easy way to support the band.

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Jamendo CC music picks for 2008

Mike Linksvayer, January 7th, 2009

The critical and commercial success of Ghosts I-IV from Nine Inch Nails continues to amaze … also see Read Write Web, Ars Technica and Digg for additional comments on the album’s breakthrough.

This is a good opportunity to celebrate that the world of CC music is amazing for its depth and growth, not only for singular successes. One of many indicators is that Jamendo is on the cusp of reaching 15,000 openly licensed albums. They’ve put out a call for best of 2008 lists. It turns out fans have been building such lists all year, which is great, as discovery is the challenge.

My discovered on Jamendo in 2008 list follows. Except for the last track, you probably won’t enjoy this much, but that’s not the point — there are lots of other people discovering CC licensed music (at Jamendo and elsewhere) — follow them and you could be too. Or, if you share my taste in noise music…

KORIZA (Komitet Operativnoy Razrabotki Industrialnyh Zennostey Avangarda) from Saint Petersburg, Russia. They've released one experimental mathcore single, New Orlean Sunset Club that is deeply satisfying but a little too mellow. They are supposedly working on "new material, that will be much more experimental, vanguard & violent." CAN'T WAIT.

Dr Pombo: Trastorno de la personalidad Rock electrónico psicodélico from Ermua, Spain. Recommed the track La mano de Dios.

Desarraigo of Ningúnlado (Nowhere), Mexico does very short, violent tracks with a drum machine, screaming, and GNU/Linux. On Polvo recommend Criadero De Polvo, which adds night sounds, a 46 second epic.

En Busca Del Pasto, an improvisational project from Madrid, Spain, has released 24 albums on Jamendo. Improvisación para dúo, Nº 4 («Pan y vino») is heavier on electronics and sampling than typical for EBDP. Parte segunda from that album is excellent.

Daniele Torelli of Reggio Emilia, Italy works with the electronic band Yue and put out We Don't Care (single), a snappy little song.

Merci-Merci does lo-fi slow dance punk from La Rochelle, France. Souvenirs d'un océan disparu's Océan Pacifique is a very pleasant listen.

Tom Fahy led a prolific group of musicians in St. John's, Canada. Fahy died June of this year, a huge loss for music. The group's output of 70 albums on Jamedo ranges stylistically from instrumental rock to jazz to classical, with many variations. Some recommendations include Endgame: A Tribute to Bobby Fischer, instrumental rock, hear Defence; Hotel, raga influenced jazz, Epilogue; Little Fatty: Studies in Atonality, classical, Little Fatty No. 1; and 1986, instrumental rock, Miss Rose Tells The Future. [Edited March 2013; see note below]

Telemetrics Callsign 65:41 Noise and samples from Whitehouse, Ohio, USA. 25 minutes of easy on the ears listening.

Jamison Young, a musician and activist from Australia but based in Prague, Czech Republic, had a surprise this year from Shifting Sands Of A Blue Car when its Memories Child was featured in the X-Files: I Want to Believe movie. Not my usual type of music, but it grows on you. No reason for it to not be in heavy rotation on a supermarket PA near you.

Individual tracks listed above are assembled at http://www.jamendo.com/en/playlist/97841. All are available under CC BY or CC BY-SA.

Update (March 28, 2013): Tom Fahy‘s music is no longer available on Jamendo, but it is now hosted on Internet Archive. We’ve updated the links to the Internet Archive listings.

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NIN’s CC-Licensed Best-Selling MP3 Album

Fred Benenson, January 5th, 2009

NIN Best Selling MP3 AlbumNIN’s Creative Commons licensed Ghosts I-IV has been making lots of headlines these days.

First, there’s the critical acclaim and two Grammy nominations, which testify to the work’s strength as a musical piece. But what has got us really excited is how well the album has done with music fans. Aside from generating over $1.6 million in revenue for NIN in its first week, and hitting #1 on Billboard’s Electronic charts, Last.fm has the album ranked as the 4th-most-listened to album of the year, with over 5,222,525 scrobbles.

Even more exciting, however, is that Ghosts I-IV is ranked the best selling MP3 album of 2008 on Amazon’s MP3 store.

Take a moment and think about that.

NIN fans could have gone to any file sharing network to download the entire CC-BY-NC-SA album legally. Many did, and thousands will continue to do so. So why would fans bother buying files that were identical to the ones on the file sharing networks? One explanation is the convenience and ease of use of NIN and Amazon’s MP3 stores. But another is that fans understood that purchasing MP3s would directly support the music and career of a musician they liked.

The next time someone tries to convince you that releasing music under CC will cannibalize digital sales, remember that Ghosts I-IV broke that rule, and point them here.

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Nine Inch Nails’ CC-licensed album nominated for a Grammy Award

Eric Steuer, December 5th, 2008

This week, the Grammy Awards nominations were announced – and, for the first time, a Creative Commons-licensed track and album are on the list. Nine Inch Nails’ “34 Ghosts IV” is nominated for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, while the album that track appears on, Ghosts I-IV, is up for Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package.

This year, NIN released both Ghosts I-IV and a second album, The Slip, under a CC BY-NC-SA license. Both albums were downloaded for free and shared legally millions of times by fans under the terms of this license. At the same time, NIN found great financial success in selling cool, well-crafted, limited edition physical editions of both sets. Back in March, Wired said the band made $1.6 million on Ghosts I-IV in its first week of release alone.

Additionally, Radiohead’s song “House of Cards” is up for several Grammys, including Best Short Form Music Video. The video’s animation data was released under a CC BY-NC-SA license earlier this year (see previous post).

Congratulations to Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead for the nominations. Also, congratulations to all of the other artists whose work was nominated for Grammys this year, including Brian Eno, Diplo, Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo (AKA Gnarls Barkley), My Morning Jacket, Gilberto Gil, Peter Gabriel, Thievery Corporation, and Cornelius – all of whom have used Creative Commons licenses and/or have supported CC over the years.

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Ghostss: Nine Inch Nails CC-Licensed Video Remix App

Cameron Parkins, September 9th, 2008

Marco Hinic, ‘visualist engineer’ and founder of VJ application ArKaos, recentlly decided to experiment with the Nine Inch Nails Ghosts Film Festival, eventually creating Ghostss, a C++ powered online generative art project that creates infinite visual remixes by pooling over 1GB worth of video and select tracks from Ghosts: I-IV. The result might be one of the coolest video remixes to date and in lieu of the contest rules, Hinic’s videos are released under a CC BY-NC-SA license meaning you can share and remix them as well. From Create Digital Music:

A few days ago I released the web site ghostss.com; it’s my entry to the NIN Ghosts Film Festival.

It’s an online video remixing application. It builds playlists describing a mix of videos with effects and renders them as an .flv Flash Video file. All the content is on the web site — around 1 gig of video loops and a few mp3’s from NIN music.

In accordance to NIN music, all Videos are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license.

The web site is a mix of c++, php and javascript for the client side. Basically the client builds a playlist with video references and effects, the playlist is translated into an xml request that is sent to the web site. The video

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