There's a new NIN album out--online only for now, and it's completely free. Reznor's been prolific lately, what with the Ghosts halo just late last year. As a friend said when he forwarded the announcement email, "Is there a new NIN album every month now?"
Maybe. Because--and I don't know the man, and he doesn't know me, so this is just conjecture--I suspect that Trent Reznor is really enjoying this. It seems to me like he's enjoying the feedback, and he likes being able to put out material direct to his fans, and perhaps most importantly, he's getting a real kick out of frustrating his label's plans to monetize his output.
I mean, this is a musician who has had a long, long history of label fights. There was the lawsuit and public struggle with TVT, followed by a lawsuit against the guy who helped him found Nothing Records, and then most recently his disparaging remarks about pricing in Australia and UMG in general. This is a musician who used to release something once every five years, and now it's more like every five months. It sounds like he's energized to me.
Which I'm not complaining about. But it is a real change from the guy who used to literally write songs based on his notebooks of goth poetry. Even if the music's not as good, I'm kind of happy for him.
Update: The music's not bad at all, actually. And Reznor's done a very cool thing with the MP3s: they've got huge, high-res, individual pieces of artwork as the "album" art for each, by longtime collaborator Rob Sheridan. It strikes me as a very cool update of the LP album art, which was thought lost after CDs created packaging that's so much smaller. Now the music's shrunk to insubstantial dimensions, but it's reacquired that visual, almost tactile element. Between his earlier commercial experiments and this small touch, it's obvious that Reznor has put a tremendous amount of thought into this whole online music thing.