Five months ago, Radiohead released their latest album, In Rainbows, exclusively as a pay-as-you-feel download from their website (well, okay, you could also order it from their website as a discobox edition which came with a bunch of extras and a set price). Since then, we’ve seen a little in the way of digital music sales experimentation.
Now Nine Inch Nails is joining Radiohead in the downloadable album arena (though it should be noted that In Rainbows is now being sold “traditionally”). The latest NIN album, Ghosts I-IV was released last night and the site was quickly mobbed.
- Free downloads of the first nine tracks from the Ghosts I-IV collection as DRM-free MP3s, plus the 40-page PDF.
- $5 download: All 36 tracks in a variety of digital formats, plus a 40-page PDF.
- $10 two-disc set: A double-disc set, packaged in a Digipak with a 16-page booklet, to be shipped on April 8. Includes immediate download of album.
- $75 deluxe edition: Ghosts I-IV in a “hardcover fabric slipcase containing two audio CDs, one data DVD with all tracks in multi-track format, and a Blu-Ray disc of Ghosts I-IV. Ships May 1. Includes immediate download of album.
- $300 “ultra-deluxe limited edition package”: Deluxe edition plus a four-LP set on 180-gram vinyl, which is packaged in a fabric slipcase. Two limited-edition Giclee prints are included; package is numbered and signed by Trent Reznor. Limited to a run of 2500, and one piece per customer. Ships May 1 and includes immediate download.
The album is also live on Amazon, as yet the only “store” to carry it. Like Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails’s contract with its label is expired and they’re trying this tack for direct sales instead.
If I were a NIN fan, I would totally jump at this, and probably spring for the $10 option. Where else are you going to get a two CD set for $10? But are there too many options here? Will the number of options overwhelm “shoppers”? And will the offering of a quarter of the music for free downloads, without DRM, make people more or less likely to pay for more?