Just under a fortnight ago, Nine Inch Nails announced the release of their upcoming ninth album, Bad Witch. Originally planned to be released as an EP, the decision to release the new record as an album caused a number of fans to criticise Nine Inch Nails, leading to Trent Reznor feeling the need to set the record straight about the categorisation of new releases in today’s day and age.
Back in 2016, Trent Reznor announced the release of Not The Actual Events, the first release of Nine Inch Nails music since 2013’s Hesitation Marks. It was soon revealed that this was just the first in a series of three EPs, with Add Violence being released in 2017, leading fans to wonder when the last instalment in the series was set to drop.
However, at the start of May, it was announced that the next release by the band was set to be a new album, rather than an EP. Titled Bad Witch, fans quickly noticed that the record consisted of only six songs, with a runtime of just over half an hour.
In addition to being their shortest album yet (and only three minutes longer than Add Violence), some fans raised questions about why the record was considered an album instead of an EP, as had been initially planned.
Over on the Echoing The Sound fan forum, one user going by the name of ‘Quantum550’ made a post in which he outlined his thoughts on the new record, attracting a lot of criticism, and even inspiring Trent Reznor himself to take the time to reply.
“I wonder why the “representative” of NIN is even in the music business to issue a statement like that? I know very well how an album length is and a EP length is. This is an EP,” wrote Quantum550.
“You can consult every source out that this duration is of an EP. An album would be 7 tracks at minimum and over 30 minutes. Fucking hate music industry sometimes.”
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Posting under his username of ‘Teitan’, Reznor responded to the fans with a rather clear statement, which also included a rough dig at Quantam550. “Want to know why it’s being labelled an LP instead of an EP?” Reznor began. “EPs show up with singles in Spotify and other streaming services = they get lost easier.”
“EPs feel less important in today’s music-isn’t-as-important-as-it-once-was world. Why make it easier to ignore?” he concluded. “We’re not charging any more for it so why get worked up about it?” before adding, “Quantum550: suck my entire cock.”
Of course, this isn’t the first bit of criticism that Nine Inch Nails have drawn in recent weeks, with the group’s decision to sell only physical tickets for their upcoming US tour being slammed by even the most diehard of fans.
“The promise of a world made better by computers and online connectivity has failed us in many ways, particularly when it comes to ticketing,” explained Reznor at the time. “Everything about the process sucks and everyone loses except the reseller. We’ve decided to try something different that will also likely suck, but in a different way.”
“We’re hoping many of you will be happy with the results, while some may do what they always do and bitch about it.”
“You may actually encounter other actual human beings with similar interests likely wearing black clothing during the process and potentially interact with them. The experience has the potential* to be enjoyable. Nine inch nails has always been about bringing people together, living life to the fullest and good times.**”
**not entirely true
However, when tickets went on sale in the US yesterday, some dedicated concertgoers took to Twitter to deride this decision, noting that it backfired in many cases.
“8 hours is a really REALLY long time to wait in line tho. Had more fun waiting all night for Lallapalooza1 tickets but I was a lot younger too,” said Twitter user @kate93055. “Also the people around me had earbuds in the whole time. So no getting to know my neighbors.”
“Great for people who live near the venues you’ve chosen, shitty for those of us who don’t,” wrote another. “Appreciate the reason for the effort, but you’ve just forced me to use the secondary market you’re trying to defend against.”
While Trent Reznor is yet to respond to the harsh reaction from fans about the new ticketing method that they trialled, there’s a fair chance that he’s hoping that the actual business of going out on tour in a few months will be far smoother than it has been so far.