Fans "thankful" for Nine Inch Nails CC music

MULTIMEDIA: Special music and interview with NIN remix artist, ninhurt.

READ: Fans are "thankful" for Nine Inch Nails music available under Creative Commons.

NIN The Slip Artwork
ninhurt - NIN fan and remix artist from Australia
If thousands of people took a song you’d made and tinkered with every beat, note, tune and result of months spent in the studio, what would you do?

If you were Trent Reznor, frontman of rock group Nine Inch Nails, you’d build a section in your site for all versions and host each of them, with your blessing and possibly a kind word.

The remix.nin project brings together remixed NIN songs by a community of users – fans, professionals and Reznor himself.

“As a dedicated NIN fan, having the ability to take something, recreate it and release it to other NIN fans is an opportunity I'm extremely thankful for, ” says ninhurt, also known as Josh, musician and NIN remixer from Australia, with 50 resampled tracks against his NIN profile as of July 2009.

While copyright laws make it expensive to get permission to remix songs, NIN turned conventional music distribution on its head and released multitrack versions of their material, including the entire 2008 album, The Slip, free of copyright, and for free.

The result is an active community of fans; a growing collection of NIN remixes from the banal and the blasphemous, to the innovative and the brilliant; and according to activists, a thumbs-up to free cultural expression.

“I wasn’t a NIN fan, but when I realised that the project that Trent Reznor was doing [on Ghosts I-IV] was about the end of the world, I realised it coincided with a project I was working on at the same time, and they flowed together,” says Stephan Carroll, composer from Wheeling, US.

Stephan’s orchestral remix of In This Twilight is a top rated song among the community, and finds a place in his album The Armageddon Overtures.

Stephan Carroll:

New v. original creativity

The remixers contend the allegation that their creations are unoriginal and built on the effort of another artist.

According to ninhurt, “Some remixes I have released are almost unrecognisable and might include samples and sounds from up to 10 different original songs. “For myself, it is a passion and this means much more to me than dollars in a bank account.”

“The song I chose to remix specially spoke to me and focussed my thoughts on my own project,” adds Stephan. “Now people are using my songs for various projects, and that’s interesting.”

Remix.nin was possible after 18 years of record contracts, when Reznor broke with his record label Universal. Reznor who has famously asked fans to pirate his music, is often quoted by music industry commentators as a successful example of independent music distribution that encourages innovation.

“When I did my first couple of CDs, I was very concerned with copyrighting them,” says Stephen who now releases his original material for free download.

“But with some of the more recent projects, I’ve been more focussed on getting the music heard by as many people as possible.”

But experts argue that the success of such attempts to create a “music sharing community,” was because NIN was already well established.

According to Dr. Sally Gross, professor of Music Business Management, University of Westminster, “Offering your music for free is sustainable only if you’re a large enough band.”

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