Well, of course he is, given that the Nine Inch Nails star has been the chief creative officer of streaming music service Beats Music since before its launch, and has continued his work within Apple since its $3bn acquisition earlier this year.
‘Trent ♥ Streaming’ isn’t a startling story, then, but his comments in a Billboard interview hinting at plans to convince fellow artists are much more interesting. “I am on the side of streaming music, and I think the right streaming service could solve everybody’s problems,” says Reznor.
“Ownership is waning. Everybody is comfortable with the cloud – your documents, who knows where they are? They are there when you need them. That idea that I’ve got my records on the shelf doesn’t feel as important even to me as it used to. I just think we haven’t quite hit the right formula yet.”
His initial silence when the Apple/Beats deal was announced – as well as some old, angry comments about a Nine Inch Nails app rejection – led to speculation that Reznor wouldn’t be working for Apple. That’s certainly scotched by the latest interview. “They expressed direct interest in me designing some products with them. I can’t go into details, but I feel like I’m in a unique position where I could be of benefit to them… This is very creative work that’s not directly making music, but it’s around music,” he says.
Music delivery? “It’s in that world. It’s exciting to me, and I think it could have a big enough impact that it’s worth the effort,” he says, before talking in measured tones about U2’s iTunes-delivery “misstep” and competition posed by YouTube.
“When you put your music on, or allow your music to be on, YouTube, which is free, is that [devaluing music]? There’s a whole generation of kids that listen to music on YouTube, and they’ll suffer through that ad if there is one. They’re not going to pay a dollar for that song – why would you? It’s a complex problem…”