Wednesday, January 7, 2009

This is pretty cool.

Right before I moved down to Stony Brook I had tickets to see Nine Inch Nails (and the also cool Deerhunter) in concert. Unfortunately, the show was postponed due to illness on the part of Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor.

The concert was in support of Nine Inch Nails most recent releases, The Slip and Ghosts I-IV. What makes these albums unique is that they were not distributed by a record label, but released over the internet. Ghosts I-IV was a collection of instrumental pieces sold in mp3 and FLAC formats through NIN's official website. The Slip was a more conventional NIN release which was distributed online... for free. Furthermore, both albums were released under a non-commercial creative commons license. Allowing fans to remix and distribute both works on their own.

Now the tour in support of these releases has received some recognition for its unique visual effects. Some of these can be seen here and here. According to the NIN website there were plans to release a live DVD filmed by James Cameron's production company. However, NIN's former record label prevented this from happening.

Long story short, the band decided to allow fans to film the last few dates on the tour and assemble their own concert film to release free online. Production on this fan film has been under way for a few weeks now, and some of the footage thats popped up on youtube has looked good. However, and here is the coolest part, new HD footage with premixed stereo audio has just been leaked by a "shadowy group of subversives."

I haven't gotten to see this new footage mainly because I don't have a 2-terabyte hard drive, but it apparently consists of raw footage from multiple camera angles of three full concerts. Now obviously, whatever comes from this won't be the same as a James Cameron produced concert-film, but after seeing whats been assembled already, I think the results will be pretty cool.

This isn't without precedent as high quality footage meant for another NIN live compilation which was never officially released has also shown up online. But this is the first time raw footage has been released for fans to do with what they please. This probably isn't the future of music distribution or anything, as this is a rather unique situation and Nine Inch Nails has an unconventional relationship with their fans.

I just wish I had gotten to see all this live.

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