In this article, we were discussing the concept of how giving away content for free can help generate interest in a product. The latest example of this in the marketplace is Trent Reznor’s decision to give away a portion of his new Nine Inch Nails product, the four part “Ghosts” album for free online. Mr. Reznor released the first part of the project to internet sites like the Pirate Bay and intends to release the entire album online for a very low price as a sign of his dislike of the record industry.
Regardless of the motivations, the move to release the portion of the album for free is intelligent marketing. Though the Nine Inch Nails are a successful musical group, this project is a departure for them, a completely instrumental album. Allowing the public to hear a portion of the album for free is a great way to introduce it to the public at large without forcing them to buy it. It allows the public to sample this new style of product without damaging the customer’s loyalty to the usual style of product.
The decision, especially given the well known feelings of Mr. Reznor, also gives the project something of an outlaw feel. Getting this product for free and in a manner which runs counter to the established authorities in the music business dovetails nicely into the alternative elements of the Nine Inch Nails brand. It gives the fans something for free and allows them to feel like part of an organized effort against the music industry. This feeling of community through marketing can go a long way towards unifying the fandom and strengthening their loyalty to the brand.