New Nine Inch Nails album available for download

Nine Inch Nails has joined the growing list of artists who are distributing their music by alternate methods, without the benefit of a label or distributor.

Trent Reznor explains:

“I’ve been considering and wanting to make this kind of record for years, but by its very nature it wouldn’t have made sense until this point. This collection of music is the result of working from a very visual perspective – dressing imagined locations and scenarios with sound and texture; a soundtrack for daydreams. I’m very pleased with the result and the ability to present it directly to you without interference. I hope you enjoy the first four volumes of Ghosts.”

Although I’m not a particularly big NIN fan, I’m a strong supporter of any artist that self-distributes their music, so I purchased their $5 download. This is the future of music. Any artist who says “F* you” to their record label and sells their music directly deserves our support. As more artists take the initiative, the big record labels will go out of business, yet there will be more and better music available and artists will make more money by eliminating the middleman.

Unfortunately, the purchase didn’t go smoothly. Their servers are getting hit very hard, so it took several tries before I was able to get a confirmation page and my download link (thankfully PayPal was charged only once). When I actually tried to download it, every attempt timed out and failed in less than a minute. Finally, I got the “download limit exceeded” error. As it stands, I’m now waiting to hear from support@store.nin.com to resolve the issue.

What artists can learn from this is that their servers better be prepared for unexpected amounts of download traffic. A single server most likely wouldn’t be able to handle the demand. Instead, they should use a content delivery network such as Akamai or a high availability server such as Amazon’s S3 rather than hosting it on their regular server.

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