Trent Reznor Adds Value for a Good Cause

Stan Schroeder posted a story on Mashable today about Trent Reznor raising over $850.000 for a fan who needs a heart transplant. Nine Inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction set up a site to take donations for Eric De La Cruz and offered special gifts and access to the bands for larger donations.

Trent Reznor by bampop

Trent Reznor by bampop

Schroeder’s insights about NIN’s business model are enlightening:

“Once again, NiN prove that fans are very willing to give money (even significant amounts of money) for CDs or digital downloads, if they come with added value that seems fair to them.”

Likewise, his analysis of the mainstream music industry is biting:

“The music industry, on the other hand, has been doing exactly the opposite for years…they even tried to decrease value by introducing DRM to digital copies, which is now a scorned and widely abandoned tactic. No wonder they’re now complaining about how Internet is bad for the industry.”

Do you agree with Schroeder’s analysis?  Would you consider a similar fundraiser/giveaway?

Ryan Sohmer Rails Against Internet Regulation

Ryan Sohmer is the author of the wildly succesful webcomics Least I Could Do, and Looking For Group.  His recent post in the LICD forums is a response to the Writer’s Guild of Canada’s calls to begin regulating the internet in Canada, especially in the realm of online video.

“Say what you will about the web, and there is much to be said, it breeds innovation. The reason for that is because it’s non-regulated, because an ass like me can produce whatever he likes, however he likes in an effort to entertain others. The majority of the things we try don’t/won’t/shouldn’t work, but if 1 out of every 100 projects works, that’s a success.” – Ryan Sohmer

excerpted from “Union Woes” – Least I Could Do Forum.

As one of a select few who make their entire living from independently publishing content on the web (and associated merchandise sales), Ryan’s opinion should certainly carry some weight.  

Canadian media has typically been less reactionary in new media intellectual property concerns, with the CBC going so far as to release a DRM-free, high quality version of “Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister” via Bittorrent last March.

Spore is the worst game ever…

Field of Spores Image from elvissa…if you believe the Amazon reviews. Out of approximately 1400 reviews, over 1,300 rate the game with 1 star, most complaining of draconian DRM. Electronic Arts’ DRM for Spore prevents users from installing the game more than 3 times (even on the same computer, after upgrades or HD crashes, for instance) without a call to EA support, and possibly purchasing another license.

At this point in the digital age, how can EA not understand that DRM is a bad idea? If you don’t give fans content in the way that they want it, they will go elsewhere for it. EA is shooting itself in the foot and turning one the most anticipated games of the year into a potential PR debacle.

Following last month’s development about the computer gaming industry suing families who downloaded games without paying in the UK, it seems the computer game industry has learned nothing from the mistakes of the RIAA.

Game pirates in the UK face penalties of nearly 10 times the cost of the games (£300, about US$525) to settle out of court or risk a repeat of the £16,000 (about US$28,000) decision handed down to one unemployed mother of two.

While I don’t advocate piracy, there must be a better way for the industry to deal with this problem than extorting court settlements from their fans or imposing unreasonably limited DRM.