We wondered what repercussions Radiohead's In Rainbows independently released, pay-what-you-want maneuver would have on the record industry. Let this serve as Exhibit A: After years of disagreeing and downright bad-mouthing his record label, Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor has finally been cut free contractually from Universal Music Group, allowing him to reach his avid fanbase as an artistic free agent. Recently, Reznor attacked how his record label boosted the price on Year Zero CDs in the foreign market, telling fans during a concert to just download his music illegally, a move that likely foreshadowed the fallout. Reznor posted on the official NIN blog today that after eighteen years of being signed to a label, it gives him "great pleasure to be able to finally have a direct relationship with the audience as I see fit." Reznor also told fans to "look for some announcements in the near future regarding 2008." Will we see the sequel to Year Zero (and the resurrection of its alternate reality game?) The real question now is, who will be the next artist to follow Thom Yorke and Trent Reznor down this new, unbeaten path?
• Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor Slams Records Labels for Sorry State of the Industry
• NIN's Trent Reznor Pitching TV Show Based on "Year Zero" Concept Album
• Year Zero Project: Fahrenheit NIN