The new Nine Inch Nails instrumental release Ghosts I-IV finally got music release methods down to the way they should be. By self-releasing five different packages choices, the consumer can make a decision on how much they wish to invest into the product. The higher-end selections are for the hardcore listeners that decide quality and support for the artist are paramount, while the digital download or 2CD set attract the casual listener. For any package, you get the immediate lossless, DRM-free download link so you don’t have to wait for your package to ship. You can even sample 1/4 of the release in a shareware-like plan to invite listeners to purchase more. This range of selection doesn’t devalue music, as I felt Radiohead’s deceiving blind 160kbps MP3 fiasco introduced and Saul William campaign represented for its fully-free download option.

Within hours of release, there was so much immediate demand that the web servers handling orders were down to a standstill. This, of course, exposes the limits of HTTP as a delivery platform; this is why the über-nerds prefer BitTorrent for data transfer. I bought the $10 2CD release however my FLAC download cut off at 161mb out of 608mb done due to the server overload. Now the best part about the new album is its licensing under Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike, which means I can jump on The Pirate Bay to grab the album in full and it’s completely legal. The abandonment of outdated copyright law restrictions puts power completely in the consumer’s hands (hello to you, democracy). It doesn’t make the assumptive pretense that the artist or audience are a victim or criminal. They’re on equal ground and have the free will to define the value of a piece of art. I imagine in the next month you’ll find Ghosts I-IV is worth far beyond expectations simply due to the message its release represents.