Interscope Records is the record label to which Nine Inch Nails have been signed to from 1992 to 2007 after a much-publicized feud with TVT Records, the first record label to sign the band. Ultimately TVT entered into a joint venture with Interscope Records that allowed Trent Reznor to begin releasing NIN albums on his own Nothing Records imprint, set up with his then manager, John Malm.
Interscope is owned by Universal Music Group, and operates as one third of UMG's Interscope-Geffen-A&M label group.
Universal Music Group & Year Zero Pricing
On May 13, 2007 Reznor made a post on his blog on the official Nine Inch Nails website condemning Universal Music Group for their pricing and distribution plans for Year Zero. The full text of that post is as follows:
"As the climate grows more and more desperate for record labels, their answer to their mostly self-inflicted wounds seems to be to screw the consumer over even more. A couple of examples that quickly come to mind:
After the above post, Reznor stated in an interview that he was interested in self-releasing future material:
"I have one record left that I owe a major label, then I will never be seen in a situation like this again. If I could do what I want right now, I would put out my next album, you could download it from my site at as high a bit-rate as you want, pay $4 through PayPal. Come see the show and buy a T-shirt if you like it. I would put out a nicely packaged merchandise piece, if you want to own a physical thing. And it would come out the day that it's done in the studio, not this 'Let's wait three months' bulls---."
"Hello everyone. I've waited a LONG time to be able to make the following announcement: as of right now Nine Inch Nails is a totally free agent, free of any recording contract with any label. I have been under recording contracts for 18 years and have watched the business radically mutate from one thing to something inherently very different and it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally have a direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate. Look for some announcements in the near future regarding 2008. Exciting times, indeed."
In a posting on nin.com on 11/20/2007, Reznor explained that the launch of remix.nin.com that was supposed to accompany the release of Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D and all Year Zero multitracks had been delayed due to a legal hitch caused by Universal:
"My former record company and current owner of all these master files, Universal, is currently involved in a lawsuit with other media titans Google (YouTube) and News Corp (MySpace). Universal is contending that these sites do not have what is referred to as “safe harbor” under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and therefore are in copyright violation because users have uploaded music and video content that is owned by Universal. Universal feels that if they host our remix site, they will be opening themselves up to the accusation that they are sponsoring the same technical violation of copyright they are suing these companies for. Their premise is that if any fan decides to remix one of my masters with material Universal doesn’t own – a “mash-up”, a sample, whatever – and upload it to the site, there is no safe harbor under the DMCA (according to Universal) and they will be doing exactly what MySpace and YouTube are doing. This behavior may get hauled out in court and impact their lawsuit. Because of this they no longer will host our remix site, and are insisting that Nine Inch Nails host it. In exchange for this they will continue to let me upload my Universal masters and make them available to fans, BUT shift the liability of hosting them to me. Part of the arrangement is having user licenses that the fans sign (not unlike those on MySpace or You Tube) saying they will not use unauthorized materials. If they WERE to do such a thing, everybody sues everybody and the world abruptly ends.
The full post can be read here
In late 2008 Trent Reznor revealed he was planning to film the last handful of shows in 3D for a DVD and theatrical release with director James Cameron. He also revealed that due to issues with funding and producing he was unable to fit filming into the schedule and dates at such short notice, after recovering the project and finding alternate support. Although Interscope was not mentioned in the nin.com blog revealing this, it is widely accepted that the company is that referred to it holds the rights to the majority of Nine Inch Nails material and has an almost infamous reputation with fans for refusing and delaying projects in the past, such as the launch of remix.nin.com.
"File this one under lost opportunities.