March 6th, 2008

lego me

Ghost in the Machine

Trent Reznor has abandoned his label and distribution model to release Ghosts on a legal public BitTorrent stream. Unlike Radiohead's excellent In Rainbows, this package feels more like it is native to electronic distribution. I'll leave others to comment on the content itself*; the interesting aspect here is the form: While In Rainbows shipped with no album art and minimal tagging, every track in Ghosts has an individual piece of art and time signatures in the comment. It's Creative Commons licensed. The zipfile even has a README.TXT, a trope more common to software releases. The labels may not know what to do with the end of the CD media era, but Reznor seems ready to dive in. It's an exciting time to be alive and have ears.

* OK, I can't give up an opportunity for artistic criticism: Ghosts I reminds me of the quieter instrumental interludes which punctuated the Downward Spiral. The strength of these pieces in Spiral was that they provided breathing room and recovery time for the harsher parts. Without that counterpoint, this disc (ha!) can feel meandering and disorganized. But it's great background music for serious coding.