The listener as a rock star

Nine Inch Nails offers new single in GarageBand format.

Popular music is one of the entertainment genres that was always assumed to be permanently non-interactive. The musician produces, and you listen. You might be able to play the CD on "random" or turn the volume up and down, but that was about the extent of the control you had over the product and the amount of input you had into the creative process. This could very well be one of the reasons that videogaming has made such huge market gains (mostly at the expense of music sales) ... people are no longer satisfied with just being entertained, they want to be in control and part of the entertainment medium itself.

There are always visionaries, however, and while Trent Reznor and his cohorts in Nine Inch Nails may not exactly be the industry heavyweights anymore, they do come up with some excellent ideas. Case in point - the offering (via a monster 70MB download) of their new single "The Hand That Feeds" in GarageBand format. This allows the listener to tinker with, modify, deconstruct, destroy, or completely mutilate the music. Reznor has apparently always been fascinated with this sort of concept, but despaired of ever finding a way to accomplish it. He was working on a new song on his PowerBook in a hotel room when the realization hit - the technology is already here.

And yes, the record companies are really going to hate this sort of thing.

Posted: Mon - April 18, 2005 at 12:41 PM