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Trent Reznor and the evolution of marketing

May 13, 2008

Trent Reznor has long been a pioneer in the field of music and technology as well as Marketing. Yes, Marketing. Reznor is one of the few musicians to truly realise the essence of new platforms and new user behaviour, and to accordingly adapt and be able to translate and transform his creations presentation to his growing audience.

Last week, on May 5th, Reznor released his new album in its entirety, free, online to his fans (thanks here to Adam for alerting on time). A few months ago he called upon a YouTube competition for users to create his new video. Art and technology are free and open – this is probably a too big-a-statement for this blog, but it’s a fundamental principle upon which Reznor is exercising and operating on.

Sadly, with the quadrupling numbers of people downloading music, the album/CD cover is becoming less and less important. The paper and plastic that once created the concept around the musical art work, are becoming meaningless and non existent.

To replace and revive the elements that create the ‘album concept’, Reznor created a promotion campaign for his ‘Year Zero’ album (one before the new one) encompassed of a series of hidden websites, flash drives with b-sides, anagrams on t-shirts – an interactive game for his fans to participate in to thoroughly experience his ‘Year Zero’ message. There is a wonderful article on ‘Year Zero’ and interactive marketing in last year’s ‘Wired’, that is describing his cooperation with ’42 Entertainment’ to build this ground breaking, genious, campaign.

This is, no doubt, the future of (music) promotion and marketing.

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