What will be more interesting is how he will distribute material following this tour. His contract with UMG is up, and I doubt he'll resign after this little escapade. I would bet that he's already got something up his sleeve to be so cavalier.
I was thinking the same thing. He clearly has some kind of plan...
I think it can safely be assumed that the vast majority of his money is coming from doing shows, and public performance royalties from radio, rather than record sales. His tracks are traded online like mad, and record sales are (pun intended) universally down. I think he might just get ballzy and ditch record sales as a revenue stream, focus completely on live performance and radio, and rely on marketing efforts like the ARG to promote himself.
The resulting royalties from radio become significant at the point were you get the rotation he does. If he can maintain that level of play, he doesn't lose the promotional effect from it or the revenue stream, which can exceed seven figures over the life of a big single. Live performance is always the biggest revenue stream...
Reznor has a very loyal core group of fans, so he can pull off things that are not options to most artists, and get massive "groundbreaker" points along the way..
That's essentially how he (and many others) built his career. PHM sold surprisingly well and had a very very tiny production budget. Even with all of the legal hassle with TVT, the money that he got for record sales off of that album just allowed him to put on a good tour, which allowed him to 'prepare' for the Lollapalooza slot which is what ultimately catapulted him into a different strata of artist.
Since then, he's managed to scrape by with album sales fueling 2 year long tours. I think now that he's rebuilt his financial position (he was nearly broke a few years ago after the split with Eric and subsequent rehab), he's in a much much better position to ditch record sales and focus purely on things that make him much more money for time invested. One thing that Trent does very well is produce tours. Putting together a DVD project that only cost about $20K to produce and sold well into the millions might look like "groundbreaking" but it's just basic business sense.
RE: Slashdot | Trent Reznor Says 'Steal My Music'