How to Destroy Angels and traditional music business models

How to Destroy Angels is a pretty new band formed by NIN front man, Trent Reznor, his wife Mariqueen Maandig and Atticus Ross in 2010, I believe. I was just browsing through posts on my Tumblr Dashboard and I came across this post on Natasha’s blog about the bands new EP which you can download for free from its site. At first I thought the EP is a new album from NIN but I quickly realised it is another release in NIN’s tradition of giving fans great quality content online (or selling it cheaply).

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Curious about How to Destroy Angels’ music? Simply visit the site, click on the link to download the EP and you will be presented with two options. The first is to download a high quality MP3 version of the 6 track EP for free. The second is to buy the EP as an enhanced downloadable bundle.

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We’ve released our debut 6-track EP as a FREE download, delivered as high-quality DRM-free MP3s. Sign up below for immediate access. For $2, you can upgrade to the HD package, which adds options for lossless audio (24-bit 44.1kHz WAV and 16-bit FLAC and Apple Lossless) and the music video for “The Space in Between” in 1080p and 480p. An immediate download of the HD package is included FREE with any merchandise purchase.

$2 for 6 new high quality tracks and the music video (oh, you can also pick which formats you want the music and video in, including combinations – I opted for the Apple Lossless and 320kbps MP3 audio versions and both the HD and iPod video versions).

While there is no indication on the band’s site whether the music is licensed under Creative Commons like NIN’s recent albums (and in the absence of this sort of indication, you should assume it is fully protected by copyright), the band is taking a very smart step and making its music available to fans in a variety of formats, by download (later in physical formats) and either for free or next to nothing. This model fits our Internet age far better than traditional and more restricted business models. Can it scale across the industry? I don’t know but I know that I bought the album without thinking about it because I want to support it (I’m not even sure if I will even like the music, haven’t tried it yet) and because this is how I want to be able to buy my music from bands I support. Imagine the benefits for the band if my attitude and perceptions represent other fans’ perceptions and attitudes?

NIN did very well off sales of one of its previous albums, Ghosts I-IV ($1.6m in the first week I believe), and I wouldn’t be surprised if How to Destroy Angels enjoys similar success. This band seems to continue Reznor’s work in NIN to make its music more accessible to fans. That is a recipe for loyal and paying fans who believe in supporting the band by paying for music even though it is also available for free.







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