Radiohead vs. Trent Reznor: who's 'really' first?

It looks to be an all-out skirmish between Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Radiohead over who really took the digital plunge first. Trent’s argument is that Radiohead offered fans a poor quality stream of their latest release, In Rainbows, before reverting to a standard record-release model, while claiming that he truly broke rank with his new four-volume (!) instrumental work, Ghosts I-IV, available as a $5 stream, a $10 double CD, a $75 set with bonus visual content and, for the superfan, a $300 box set including vinyl and the NIN frontman’s John Hancock. (Radiohead has remained characteristically mum about the whole thing.)

And now, "coincidentally," both bands are offering fans the opportunity to create videos for their music. Radiohead is offering $20,000 in prizes (actually a grand prize of $10,000 and $1,000 for 10 semi-finalists to be used towards the creation of their final clips) and Trent is offering, well, exposure on YouTube. (See the above clip for one fan’s work — surely one of you can do better than this!)

What do you think, PopWatchers? Are you siding with Trent or Radiohead? Would you participate in either video competition? Or do you not give a whit and just want more new music already?

Comments (19 total) Add your comment
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  • Andie

    This makes the rumors that they’re both playing Lollapalooza more interesting. I’m just not sure in what way.

  • Stephanie T.

    As talented and intelligent as Trent is, he needs to grow a pair and stop sucking his thumb. It does not matter. Both bands are truly gifted in their own rights.

  • Cara

    Maybe if Reznor was more concerned about him music than about who gets credit for it, I would have listened to it sometime after the ninth grade.
    Jeez. Reznor is like Morissey, only not funny.

  • paige

    slideshows are wack!

  • Liz

    THIS “FEUD” WAS CREATED BY THE MEDIA NOT BY EITHER FRONTMAN.
    But Trent Reznor is far superior. Radioheads release was for show and publicity and Trent’s was a true effort.

  • Anonymous

    Seems to me like an odd rivalry. I could picture NIN duking it out with Ministry or KMFDM, but Radiohead? That’d be like that great “crips vs. Celtics” rivalry or the “Green Bay Packers Vs. Muhammad Ali” rivalry.
    That said, I think it’s cool that artists are allowing their songs to be downloaded, and Radiohead gets credit for allowing people to download it for free. So props to both bands. I don’t care who went first, let’s just be glad they both did it.

  • Ep Sato

    Seems to me like an odd rivalry. I could picture NIN duking it out with Ministry or KMFDM, but Radiohead? That’d be like that great “crips vs. Celtics” rivalry or the “Green Bay Packers Vs. Muhammad Ali” rivalry.
    That said, I think it’s cool that artists are allowing their songs to be downloaded, and Radiohead gets credit for allowing people to download it for free. So props to both bands. I don’t care who went first, let’s just be glad they both did it.

  • Snarf

    Ok I expect this behavior from the rap/hip-hop gangland set, but this just seems like a waste of time for artists of this calibre when they could be writting or performing.

  • Martha

    I don’t see what’s so “poor quality” about Radiohead’s online release. It sounds as good as everything else I download from iTunes. Methinks either the media or Trent Reznor are making a lot of noise about nothing here.

  • Nat X

    Both “groups” are awesome. Who cares who’s first. They’re trying to be innovative. Good for them. Of course, if they were just getting started in their careers now as opposed to 15+ years ago, they would not be able to afford to make these decisions.

  • mike a

    The reason the radiohead download sounds just like itunes downloads is because both of them are crappy quality, only 128kbps. trent’s offering i believe 320kbps which is a absolute difference if you listen to both side by side

  • Stephanie T.

    Cara, I agree with your statement. I saw Morrissey last November. The man’s hillarious.

  • G-Dog

    Why is NIN even in the news? This guy hasn’t been relevant since 1995! Seriously…are people still buying that drivel? Radiohead is the opposite of NIN. Constantly changing and moving forward.

  • Artemisian

    I love so many commenters here dismiss NIN out of hand as outdated, irrelevant and arrogant.
    Nine Inch Nails is definitely still relevant. This is the third album in about three years (not checking dates, correct me if I’m wrong) and each has received a lot of attention, and expanded the fanbase. God, just looking at fanbases – Radiohead’s cannot possibly be as rabid and organised as NIN’s. The Ninternet is not a small thing.
    I adore both of these bands, frankly. And as someone already pointed out, /there is no rivalry/. For an audiophile like Reznor, 160kbps isn’t satisfactory, I understand that. But he wasn’t exactly talking smack the way every blogger on the planet seems to think.
    And Martha: it is low-quality, precisely that. I have the album, I listen to it often, and it’s not that it sounds bad. It simply is a low-quality MP3. You can’t exactly argue with that.

  • Martha

    If the sound quality on MP3s is so poor, why not improve it? Most people’s computers can handle the bandwidth and memory needed to download and store larger files. But putting that aside, if most people are happy with the sound quality from iTunes or its equivalent, where’s the problem? I understand that audiophiles prefer higher quality, but if everyone else is happy with the download, I don’t get Reznor’s hair-splitting.

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