Trent Reznor, the music man behind shock rockers Nine Inch Nails, has introduced a NIN iPhone app, which is now available on Apple’s App Store. Working with NIN’s art director, Robert Sheridan, Reznor developed the new app after a backstage iphone encounter with fans. Realizing the fans were using their iPhones to send photos from the scene, Reznor utilized Twinkle, the same Twitter app the fans were using, to send out photos from backstage. And the idea was born. The resulting free NIN iPhone app is a mobile window featuring the band’s music, photos, videos, message boards and — through a GPS-enabled feature known as Nearby — the fans themselves.
“Nearby is kind of like Twitter within the Nine Inch Nails network,” Sheridan said. “You can post a message or a photo by location, and if you’re at a show you can see conversations between other people who are right there.”
The new iPhone app takes that a step further. NIN.com has a Google Earth plug-in that fans can use to see conversations and photos from across the planet, or at a specific location. A feature on the iPhone app’s Nearby tab enables them to post messages and photos from their iPhones to the website and have them pop up in Google Earth.
Development of the new NIN iPhone app actually began around 18 months ago when Nine Inch Nails left its label, Universal Music Group’s Interscope, a process the artist describes as “liberating and terrifying.” The iPhone app is part of a larger, fan-centered business model Reznor has pioneered. According to Reznor, the band’s embrace of “freemium” pricing (aka giving music away for free), torrent distribution, fan remixes and social media have helped him forge deeper connections with fans.
“Anyone who’s an executive at a record label does not understand what the internet is, how it works, how people use it, how fans and consumers interact — no idea,” Reznor said. “They have built a business around selling plastic discs, and nobody wants plastic discs any more.”
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