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Trent Reznor Challenges Music Norms 535

alset_tech writes "Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails) has released the new single from NIN's upcoming album as a GarageBand file for fan remixes. Though by no means the first time a major-label artist has released a track to the public for remix, this is the first time such a project has been as open to the common user. The repercussions to 'traditional' IP views in music could be beneficial to all. Note that the license agreement does not allow commercial use of the included sounds. From the download text: 'What I'm giving you in this file is the actual multi-track audio session for 'the hand that feeds' in GarageBand format. This is the entire thing bounced over from the actual Pro Tools session we recorded it into. I imported and converted the tracks into AppleLoop format so the size would be reasonable and the tempo flexible.'"
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Trent Reznor Challenges Music Norms

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  • by suso ( 153703 ) * on Saturday April 16, 2005 @11:53AM (#12255114) Homepage Journal
    Maybe they aren't major label, but the artists on ReasonStation [reasonstation.net] are pretty good and have been releasing the actual Reason music files for their tracks since around 2001. I'm sure there are many other semi-pro sites out there where people are doing this.
    • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Saturday April 16, 2005 @12:56PM (#12255560) Homepage Journal
      Maybe they aren't major label...

      I think you just explained why Reznor *is* breaking ground with this experiment. The artists at ReasonStation may be fantastic, but in one fell swoop Reznor has just caused a big stir. This is specifically because he is a major-label artist, and until now big-name acts haven't done this.

      Small players are usually the ones that stir things up initially, but until big names that everyone knows get involved, John Q. Public doesn't have any idea of the possibilities.

      • The Shamen did it with Move any Mountain - they released all of their component pieces, so you could remix it to your heart's content.
    • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @01:04PM (#12255613)
      Very few ordinary folk own a copy of Reason. Like you said, ReasonStation and other sites like it are for "semi-pro" musicians.

      Garage Band 2 comes free with every Macintosh. Damn near every OS X user also owns a copy of Garage Band, even if they are not musicians, DJ's, or recording enthusiasts.

      This means that Trent Reznor has just released the bare tracks of a major-label single from a multi-platinum artist to the general consumer! High school kids lucky enough to own a $999 iBook or a $499 mini can now make their own Nine Inch Nails remix, or sample the loops into creations of their own.

      This is huge. If it catches on, it could fulfill the prediction Brian Eno once made about popular music eventually becoming user-modifiable constructs. If you can't see what a big deal this is, you are not looking with an open mind.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 16, 2005 @04:00PM (#12256790)
        This is huge. If it catches on, it could fulfill the prediction Brian Eno once made about popular music eventually becoming user-modifiable constructs.

        Bah, that's nothing new. My mom used to user-modify popular music when she was growing up. She used software called "sheet music" with a hardware device called a "piano." She was even able to add her voice to the mix!
        • I know you were being funny, but you were also being truthful. And the thing is, with popular music being delivered in the pre-mixed, ready-made forms that it is these days, artists who release their music files like this are -almost- bringing us back to the days of sheet music. After all, back then many more people could pick up and play a piece of sheet music; now a (likely) similar number of people can pick up and play with these files.

          So this is a good thing.
      • by pipingguy ( 566974 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @07:43PM (#12258029)

        Very few ordinary folk own a copy of Reason

        Is that why that George Bush guy keeps getting re-elected? I mean, ferchrissakes, he's up to four terms now!
  • by kenthorvath ( 225950 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @11:53AM (#12255118)
    ...open source music? I wonder if it was released with a Creative Commons license.
    • by nocomment ( 239368 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @11:59AM (#12255152) Homepage Journal
      Not it's not OSS.

      Here's the EULA when you try tomount the .dmg.

      End User License

      Please read the terms of the following software License Agreement before downloading this product. By clicking on the link below and downloading this product, you agree to become bound by the terms of the License Agreement. If you do not agree with the terms of the License Agreement, do not click the I AGREE button below. Interscope Records ("Licensor") guarantees that the downloaded product has been created and recorded specially for this project and any similarity to any other recording is unintentional.

      1. The sound samples recorded on these CDs remain the property of Licensor and are licensed, not sold, to you for use on your sampling software or equipment.

      2. A right to use the enclosed sounds is granted to the original end-user of the product (Licensee) and is NOT transferable.

      3. The Licensee may modify the sounds but MAY NOT USE THE SOUNDS, MODIFIED OR UNMODIFIED, FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, WITHIN MUSICAL COMPOSITIONS. Licensee must obtain a separate license from Licensor in respect of any intended commercial uses.

      4. This license expressly forbids resale, relicensing or other distribution of any of these sounds, either as they exist upon downloading, or any modification thereof. You cannot sell, loan, rent, lease, assign or transfer all or any of the enclosed sounds to another user, or for use in any competitive product.

      5. Licensor will not be responsible if the contents of these discs does not fit the particular purpose of the Licensee.

      6. Use of the included sound sample in isolation such as, but not limited to, video game soundtracks (where they appear in isolation or as sound effects) is not permitted without first obtaining a separate License from Licensor.

      7. Use of the included sound samples in 'library music' (also known as 'production music') intended for commercial exploitation, is not permitted without first obtaining a separate License from Licensor.

      ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. © 2005 Interscope Records.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 16, 2005 @12:29PM (#12255396)
        Wow, is this the first time a EULA got modded +5?
      • by Leviathant ( 558659 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @12:37PM (#12255446) Homepage
        Hi there, just thought I'd comment on this, I run a big fat nine inch nails website [theninhotline.net]... We were concerned at first about the license, especially the bit about "other distribution of any of these sounds, either as they exist upon downloading, or any modification thereof." This amounts to a cover-your-ass clause... the band and Interscope are encouraging people to remix or whatever with this file. Interscope suggested to the band that they hook up with MySpace for fan distribution of the glut of remixes that will come out, but for one reason or another, that (and the notion of doing this as a contest) didn't happen. So if you do soemthing with these files, you are welcome to host them without fear of the record label coming at you -- otherwise what would the purpose be of doing this in the first place? That being said, I have a PC, and I just extracted the AIFF files... never saw the license ;)
        • You don't have to see the license. If you don't accept it, then it's simply a copyrighted work that you (basically) have no right to use. :)
        • We were concerned at first about the license, especially the bit about "other distribution of any of these sounds, either as they exist upon downloading, or any modification thereof." This amounts to a cover-your-ass clause... the band and Interscope are encouraging people to remix or whatever with this file.

          Doesn't sound like a cover your ass clause to me. Sounds like a "go ahead and play at home like you're already doing, but don't ever share anything you make with anyone else or you're guilty of copy
          • by Leviathant ( 558659 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @07:30PM (#12257979) Homepage
            Publishing this stuff in this format under this license looks more like sowing the seeds for some nice future lawsuits than anything else.

            You'd be hard pressed to be more paranoid about this kind of situation than me -- I was once named in a lawsuit by Universal Australia for sending someone an MP3 of a Reznor remix. (nothing ever came of it...) I also had some unhappy dealings with Trent's previous buttwipe management, but that's another story [theninhotline.net].

            I was assured that if any such lawsuit against a fan were to arise, Trent Reznor has veto power and would certainly use it. Otherwise, what's the point of doing this in the first place? Trent did not post this file just so he could get his fans sued.

    • It's not open source as it can't be used commercially in any way -- so it's useless for projects like Linux distributions and so on. Or even, you can't air them in a shop (at least according to Polish law).

      But, it's open for private listening, open for modifications and open for sharing. These are important freedoms, and they're not something to snooze at. Plus, making a blow against RIAA just can't be bad :p

      When it comes to Creative Commons licenses, they're way too easy to mistake one for another. T
    • Didn't music used to always be open source? I seem to have forgotten. Hmm, imagine that...
  • by Murphy Murph ( 833008 ) <sealab.murphy@gmail.com> on Saturday April 16, 2005 @11:57AM (#12255141) Journal
    Due to the death of Jhonn Balance (Coil), Trent is going to need some new talent for the inevitable re-mix album following "With Teeth"
  • by swilde23 ( 874551 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @11:58AM (#12255150) Journal

    nin_garageband.sit

    .sit!!

    Another reason for all you Winblows users to switch a different os. If Mr. Reznor himself uses a mac....

    On Topic. It would be nice to see more artists pulling "stunts" like this. I call it a stunt, because although I think it's a great idea, you don't see this kind of thing happening often. If you give your audience a chance to become part of your music, you will become all that much closer (no pun intended) with them.

    It works particularly well in the case of NIN, simply because their music handles remixes so well. I have trouble seeing anyone other then Ben Folds performing a different rendition of "Tiny Dancer". You never know though, do you. Perhaps there is some music genius out there just waiting for the right opportunity.

  • One accordian solo, coming right up!

    And now that I think about it... what sort of cowbell samples does GarageBand come with?
  • by Sebilrazen ( 870600 ) <blahsebilrazen@blah.com> on Saturday April 16, 2005 @12:00PM (#12255161)
    Trent Reznor, great musician, got his idea from http://www.davidbowie.com/neverFollow/ [davidbowie.com] David Bowie
  • Back on their Infotainment [discogs.com]disc: the last two tracks were all 123 samples used in making the album. Of course this was 1996 so there wasn't ProTools, GarageBand, or Reflex out there in the common market. Still, it was open-hooded music.

    I'm happy Trent did this. Too bad the disc is pretty underwhelming.
  • by metalligoth ( 672285 ) <metalligoth.gmail@com> on Saturday April 16, 2005 @12:08PM (#12255239)

    As a person into Industrial music that loves Nine Inch Nails and is big into the Apple platform, let me be the first here to say OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! FUCK YEAH! NINE INCH NAILS FUCKING RULES!

    *faints*

  • by Limburgher ( 523006 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @12:15PM (#12255305) Homepage Journal
    Are there any F/OSS apps we non-Mac users can use to play with this? I'm a HUGE NIN fan, but I don't use Macs. Nothing wrong with them, I just have tons of legacy hardware. Still, major kudos to Trent for giving us such a gift.
    • I'm a HUGE NIN fan, but I don't use Macs. Nothing wrong with them, I just have tons of legacy hardware.

      Dude, you want to do real-time, multi-track audio editing on over 5 year old machines? Good luck with that! Your problem lies with Moore, not with Macs. And if you do have newer x86 machines then, yes, you apparently do think something is wrong with Macs.

    • by delire ( 809063 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @01:25PM (#12255761)
      legacy hardware aside you might get some mileage out of this:

      http://ardour.org/ [ardour.org] it's about to go 1.0 any day and has served me well. Linux for now, soon OSten.
    • You'll have problems if you got something else that Mac OS X to get the file.

      First it's compressed in .sit (that's no problem since Stuffit Expander is available for PC)

      But then, the file is actually a disk image (.dmg) ... so you really need mac os x to open this one up.

      Finally, you will have all the files in audio format inside the dmg.

      I tried dmg2iso on pc as a challenge (I have a Mac too) ... but it would not let it convert. So tough luck I'd say.

      Sowwy!

      Mike
  • Another First (Score:5, Informative)

    by malraid ( 592373 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @12:18PM (#12255329)
    This guy was the first big artist to record the soundtrack for a computer game (remember Quake 1?)
    Now he's the first one to release a song as a GarageBand file.
    He brought industrial music (or something like this) into the main stream.
    Be brought forward some new huge bands like Marylin Manson and Filter (I'm not arguing if they're good or bad)
    But he is just going to release his fourth album in almost 20 years of career.
    There's even a WHOLE movie that's based off the images of the video for "Closer" (Ok, so the movie sucks and the video wasn't Trent's work, but still)
    For me, this guy is the most influential musician of the last 15 years.
  • by circusboy ( 580130 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @12:21PM (#12255352)
    for apple sales to the college crowd...

    when I was in college, it was mostly Macintosh, <disclaimer> it was an art school</disclaimer> though we did have Irix and AIX stations for 3D work (and even an amiga for video.) I understand that things have changed since then ( I haven't really been paying attention,) to be mostly a windows thing. (It is for the college I currently work for, (though I was lucky enough to be given a mac to work on instead.))

    do you all think that the mix of iPod, iTunes and now GarageBand are enough to grab a reasonable share of the impressionable, fashion-conscious, future buyer? Or do you think that Apple might cave, and put out GarageBand for windows? (though guessing its dependence on coreAudio might make that port a more significant challenge.)

    (iNote with some interest that the spell checker in panther passes iPod and iTunes with out a pause, but fails with GB and iNote. It will be interesting to see the dictionary in Tiger to see what iThings will pass the spellchecker... note that it does not offer iPod as an alternative spelling, it just doesn't mark it as misspelled.)
    • I don't see garageband ever coming out for windows. It's cool, fun software, and it's another reason for someone to buy a mac. But that's pretty much where it ends. There's no real market share to compete for there. iTunes went to windows because the more copies that get spread around, the more songs will get purchased on Apple's music store.

      Apple doesn't make more money every time someone creates a new garageband song. They make more money everyone buys a mac, so keeping garageband as an incentive makes s
    • by sevinkey ( 448480 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @12:43PM (#12255483)
      I don't know that apple needs to release garageband for windows anyway, I was very happy using the Sonic Foundry (now Sony) audio suite on PC, and the rest of my favorite software like Reason and Reaktor were PC ports of mac versions anyway.

      I switched (unintentionally) to mac after I found a bargain on a G4 tower and started using it... these things don't crash. I've lost so much work in my lifetime due to PC crashes. When I'm writing music, I don't want to have to worry about keeping the platform going, just like your fedEx guy doesn't want to worry about his truck.
  • From The Man... (Score:5, Informative)

    by metalligoth ( 672285 ) <metalligoth.gmail@com> on Saturday April 16, 2005 @12:23PM (#12255365)

    Note from Trent in the .sit file:

    Hello all-

    For quite some time I've been interested in the idea of allowing you the ability to tinker around with my tracks - to create remixes, experiment, embellish or destroy what's there. I tried a few years ago to do this in shockwave with very limited results.

    After spending some quality time sitting in hotel rooms on a press tour, it dawned on me that the technology now exists and is already in the hands of some of you. I got to work experimenting and came up with something I think you'll enjoy.

    What I'm giving you in this file is the actual multi-track audio session for "the hand that feeds" in GarageBand format. This is the entire thing bounced over from the actual Pro Tools session we recorded it into. I imported and converted the tracks into AppleLoop format so the size would be reasonable and the tempo flexible.

    So...

    You need a Macintosh and you need GarageBand 2.0. If you have a newer Mac, you already have the software. The more RAM you have the better. I did this on a PowerBook 1.67 w/ 2G RAM but it has been running on far less powerful systems. Drag the file over to your hard disk and double click it. Hit the space bar. Listen.

    Change the tempo. Add new loops. Chop up the vocals. Turn me into a woman. Replay the guitar. Anything you'd like.

    I gave this to my crew and band to test out and all work effectively stopped for a while - it's fun to mess around with. I've now heard a country version of the track as well as an abstract Latin interpretation (thanks, Leo).

    There are some copyright issues involved, so read the notice that pops up. Giving this away is an experiment. I'm interested to see what comes of it, what issues are raised and what the results are.

    Have fun-

    Trent Reznor

    April 15, 2005

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 16, 2005 @12:45PM (#12255497)
      Turn me into a woman ...

      My fantasy come true! It's like he's been reading my diary ...
    • Re:From The Man... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by identity0 ( 77976 )
      The interesting thing is that Trent has been a geeky guy for a while - he made "Pretty Hate Machine" using a Mac and a MIDI keyboard, IIRC.

      He's also made the soundtrack for Quake because he liked Doom so much, and is close friends with John Carmack.

      While not as geeky as some of the electronica musicians out there, he's still got geek cred.
  • I think it is great that Reznor is doing this and I think it is great that it is getting some visibility. It should be noted that many electronic music artists have provided similar "full access" to their music for remix competitions in the past. BT actually made 4 tracks [bt-network.org] available for all to tinker with.
  • by pbooktebo ( 699003 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @12:24PM (#12255371)
    What I love about this most is not the remix potential. I teach at an arts high school, and I plan on bringing this in to class.

    I loaded the file into GarageBand and gave it a listen. What I love is that you can "solo" any of the tracks (listen to just that track and nothing else). Trent has done a nice job labeling all the tracks (there are 17 of them in all). Some are especially subtle, and it is great to hear just the "Ambience" track, then put the whole mix back on and listen for it.

    This gives students a chance to better understand how much creativity it takes to make what basically sounds like a simple rock song.

    Remixes are also a great use of this technology, but the ability to break complex media down to their components and discuss how they enhance our experience is really priceless. I'd love to have this with "A Day in the Life" from the Beatles, too (hear all those grand pianos at the end one by one)! Someday...
    • s. I'd love to have this with "A Day in the Life" from the Beatles, too (hear all those grand pianos at the end one by one)! Someday...

      Afraid that one won't happen unless someone invents some fancy tech to pull each instrument out of the audio stream! Back in the 60's when the Beatles recorded Sgt. Pepper's the highest number of tracks the best multitrack recorder could handle was four (a "4-track", probably using 2-inch tape), so they didn't have much to play with at all, at least that's what my music

  • by Logic Bomb ( 122875 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @12:25PM (#12255377)
    People who won't use GarageBand much may not have noticed that by default, new tracks are created with both Echo and Reverb plugins turned on and their values set to 0. If you get errors during playback saying "too many plugins or effects" for your system, go through track by track and turn off Echo and Reverb. Even though their values are set to 0, they seem to still occupy CPU cycles. Made the track playable on my 1 Ghz G4 iMac with 512 MB RAM.
  • by borud ( 127730 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @12:34PM (#12255428) Homepage
    Who gives a rat's ass if this is a first or not!? If you're into firsts then go buy a stack of Guiness Book of Records -- it has plenty of fodder for you.

    What is cool is that he is a major recording artist (whether you like his music or not) and that he has made it trivial (rather than just "possible") for the masses to remix his music.

    It's not like it wasn't worth doing if someone had done it before.

  • by joel8x ( 324102 )
    Now, if only more artists did this... It would make mash-ups nice and easy if consumers had access to the raw files!

    Now we just have to wait and see how the RIAA overlords handle this since major label artists are giving back to their fans. Shame on you artists for being creative without a pricing model! SHAAAMMMEEE!!

  • Not the first time (Score:5, Informative)

    by G3ek ( 589803 ) <iclintb@mac. c o m> on Saturday April 16, 2005 @12:38PM (#12255454) Homepage
    This is not the first time Trent has done something like this.
    Right after The Fragile [amazon.com] [amazon.com] was released, Trent and David Bowie both put a song online from their new albums to be remixed by the public but you had to use a proprietary web based application.
    it was really fun getting to mess with the tracks, and I applaud Trent for this venture. I 3 NIN.
  • by metalligoth ( 672285 ) <metalligoth.gmail@com> on Saturday April 16, 2005 @01:05PM (#12255630)

    It's not as cool, but it does work in GarageBand 1.0 - Just be advised, you need to click through a seemingly endless string of warning dialogs.

  • by EnronHaliburton2004 ( 815366 ) * on Saturday April 16, 2005 @01:39PM (#12255859) Homepage Journal
    From http://www.nineinchnails.net/lyricshalo3-2.html [nineinchnails.net]


    Sec-ur-it-y HOLE!
    Blue scren your soul!
    I'd rather crash
    then give you control
  • by PenguiN42 ( 86863 ) <taylork@@@alum...mit...edu> on Saturday April 16, 2005 @02:12PM (#12256118) Journal
    First, you need to extract the .sit file: I got the demo of stuffit expander [stuffit.com]

    Then you need something that can burn the .dmg file, or something to convert it to an .iso: I used dmg2iso [eu.org] (the perl script seems to work better).

    Then I burned the .iso, but it's a mac file system, so you need something that can read mac filesystems. I grabbed the demo of macdrive [mediafour.com].

    With that I can grab all the .aif files from the "The Hand That Feeds 1.0.band\Media" directory and import them into my audio program of choice! I couldn't find anything to convert the garageband "projectData" file into another format (it's xml, but with a weird encoded data block), but the .aif files are a good enough place to start playing with the sounds.

    I'm sure there's equivalent utilities for linux, as well, but I don't know about them.
  • tracker music? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by radarsat1 ( 786772 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @02:36PM (#12256278) Homepage
    anyone else remember downloading XM and IT files, and loading them in and looking at the samples and the song structure...? ah.. those were the days. Learned so much about music that way.
  • by Simonetta ( 207550 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @08:43PM (#12258348)
    It's ironic that one major artist is releasing a single in remixable form when the music industry is shutting down ALL the MIDI file sites in the world.

    MIDI files are lists of instructions for playing a piece of music. For example, an instruction that says play G# on the trumpet for .68 seconds. These files are usually played through the wavetable synth in the sound card or audio chip. They sound somewhat ridiculous and are often laughed at. They do, however, have one very interesting and special property.
    With a notation program that recreates the sheet music from a MIDI file, they allow a music student to learn a song or piece or music. You have to learn how to read music to use it, but that is not very hard. MIDI files show you the chord patterns that beginner and intermediate players would not be able to derive from simply listening to a song over and over.
    It is the sheet music book publishers that are shutting down all the MIDI files on the web. They are doing this because they believe that ten thousand downloads of a Classic Rock song's MIDI file is the loss of ten thousand sales of the printed sheet music for that song at $5 for maybe five sheets of paper. So, a major music instructional resource is being destroyed to preserve an imaginary market. (Would you buy sheet music of a classic rock song? Would you even know where to get sheet music in your city?)
    This happens at the same time that every school in the country is ending or cutting back on music education in the classroom.

    The whole music industry is insane and out of control. These guys are going to end up destroying their entire industry and destroying a significant percentage of the 20th century's music recordings in the process. First by stealing the public domain by legally extending the copyright period indefinitely. Then by enacting extraordinarily brutal jail penalities for downloading and sharing music recordings, even music that is supposed to be out of the copyright period that was in effect when the records were originally made. Then by putting unbreakable encryption on recordings and passing laws preventing the sale of any music playback device that can play recordings without this encryption. Then raising the price on recordings to pay for all this beyond its value to listeners and collectors. And finally, removing the recordings from the market because "they don't sell".
    In this scenario, all the music recordings that are endlessly pumped into our heads in 2005 will be simply gone by 2055 (most of you reading this will still be alive then). All the music that you grew up will just ... be... gone. Almost all of the music that your grandparents listened to is gone.
    This is why downloading, sharing, and 'pirating' music is critically important to do. You simply can not trust the fools who run the music industry to protect and preserve a society's culture.
  • by L3WKW4RM ( 228924 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @10:10PM (#12258854) Homepage

    Here's a torrent of all the .aiff audio files extracted out of the .sit, for non-Mac users to remix with.

    http://www.echoingthesound.org/greg/thtfgbmedia.zi p.torrent [echoingthesound.org]

    ...and the rest: http://www.desult.com/greg/thtfgbextra.zip [desult.com]

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