Trent Reznor Slams Streaming & Reflects On Time At Apple

8 April 2024 | 9:36 am | Mary Varvaris

Trent Reznor believes streaming services have "mortally wounded a whole tier of artists" with "unsustainable" royalty payments.

Nine Inch Nails @ Rod Laver Arena

Nine Inch Nails @ Rod Laver Arena (Credit: Jay Hynes)

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Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has made his stance on streaming services known, claiming that the platforms have “mortally wounded a whole tier of artists”.

Reznor’s comments about streaming services arrived in a new GQ interview alongside his longtime collaborator, Atticus Ross, where the pair confirmed that they’re ready to “start working on” the next Nine Inch Nails album.

According to Reznor, the current royalty payments model is “unsustainable”, with the singer voicing his critiques: “I think the terrible payout of streaming services has mortally wounded a whole tier of artists that make being an artist unsustainable.

“It’s great if you’re Drake, and it’s not great if you’re Grizzly Bear,” Reznor continued. “We’ve had enough time for the whole ‘All the boats rise’ argument to see they don’t all rise. Those boats rise. These boats don’t. They can’t make money in any means.” To Reznor, only some boats rising is “bad for art.”

Reznor also mused on his time working with Apple to create a new streaming service. “It was a unique opportunity to work at the biggest company in the world at a high level,” he said before revealing that he went into the collaboration with potential rose-coloured glasses on:

I thought maybe at Apple there could be influence to pay in a more fair or significant way, because a lot of these services are just a rounding error compared to what comes in elsewhere, unlike Spotify where their whole business is that… [but] everyone’s trying to hold onto their little piece of the pie, and it is what it is.

In November, Spotify launched its new royalty payment threshold, meaning songs won’t earn revenue from streaming on the platform until they pass a minimum number (a reported 1,000 plays) of annual streams.

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Last year, Cradle Of Filth frontman Dani Filth blasted Spotify and described the company’s decision-makers as “the biggest criminals in the world”.

In an interview with Rock Hard Greece, the vocalist got candid about what a successful-on-the-outside band actually makes from streaming services. “I think we had 25, 26 million plays last year,” he said, “and I think personally I got about 20 pounds, which is less than an hourly work rate.”