Why Trent Reznor’s Business Model Works So Well

Got to share this talk by Mike Masnick, who analyzes in depth the methods used by Trent Reznor to “connect with fans” and give them “reason to buy” and create a very well functioning business model :

Among other creative initiatives to connect with fans, earlier this year Reznor released 400 GB worth of HD video footage recorded at his concert tour, which supposedly could be put to use by “some enterprising fans”.

What I really like about Trent Reznor’s style is that he hasn’t “worked it out”. He hasn’t discovered some magic formula for how to make money selling his music using the internet, and then simply lean back, enjoy the money and not care about developing his business model anymore. There’s no autopilot. He seems to genuinely want to connect and seems to enjoy the work involved in connecting, sharing music and creating new intriguing ideas for how to get his music out – and make a decent income in the process. That’s also why it works so well. He really do connect with fans, he really do give them value for their money. And he enjoys it too.

What Trent Reznor does so remarkably well may also serve as an example for all those engaged in promoting or selling a product online, to quit the thinking that they simply need to “work out” a method, which will instantly make them “connect” with thousands of people and let them become rich and successful overnight. That well will run dry for them sooner or later.

Make real connections. Engage others. Give them something of real value. And have fun!

(via Digital Waveriding)

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#1 Ole Husgaard on 05.02.09 at 12:31 am

Trent Reznor is an example of why it can be very profitable to relax your copyrights in the information society.

And he is not the only one. More and more young musicians opt to connect directly to fans by using file sharing networks instead of using a recording company. If they get attention and can give their fans a reason to buy something, they can make a lot of money.

This is probably the real reason why organizations like IFPI are trying so hard to shut down file sharing sites. With this new business model, they are out of business. The only way for them to avoid this situation is to shut down legal file sharing. They use the illegal file sharing (which really is good and free advertising for them) as an excuse, but they are really trying to stop the legal file sharing of music in an attempt to stop these new business models from being successful.

#2 Morten Blaabjerg on 05.02.09 at 1:34 am

I read that when Masnick gave a talk at an RIAA-sponsored meeting he met with a reception from the “big” record companies which ranged all the way from “frosty” to “enthusiastic”…

Some no doubt sincerely wants to embrace change, learn to connect and build new business models. But I also have no doubt that those other darker members of the club have absolutely no intention of willingly giving up their near-monopolies, in spite of all what’s happened during the last 10-15 years.

The trials which continue one after the other is depressing evidence of that. In their eyes, p2p, no matter what opportunities the technology may have, must be smashed and destroyed in all it’s evilness.

#3 Mike Masnick on 05.02.09 at 1:36 am

Hey thanks for posting this! Interesting timing though. Just yesterday, I posted video of a longer version of this presentation that also includes examples of many other musicians doing this as well:


It includes a lot of the same material… plus some more.

#4 Morten Blaabjerg on 05.02.09 at 2:00 am

Great :-) And thanks for posting that link, Mike!

It’s really interesting to note (which I think your Midemnet talk also showed quite well, btw), that this is not about being Trent Reznor or a nobody, or about being famous or lesser “known”. True it may require a bit more sweat to work your way up and connect with others, but that’s the way it’s always been for musicians (and all of us) anyway. If anything, social tools make it a lot easier to connect with fans and create groups and communities around your thing.

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