How Trent Reznor won and didn’t even realize it…

Ran across this a couple days ago and really needed to comment on it.

Trent Reznor produced and distributed an album for Saul Williams last year and was complaining about the numbers. From 11/1/2007 to 1/2/2008, the album was downloaded 154,449 times. 28,322 people paid $5 for it. That works out to roughly 18%. Now, most advertising campaigns hope to get 1% sales. On top of that, the prior album sold 33,897 copies in about 39 months. Let’s say the old album cost $12.99 (current new price on Amazon).

Last Album Current Album
Sales 33,897 28,322
Price $12.99 $5
Gross Sales Total $440,322.03 $141,610.00
Gross Sales Monthly $11,290.31 $70,805.00
Duration Sold in Months 39 2

From a strict financial analysis standpoint, those numbers are pretty good. Granted, Trent mentioned there were a lot of one time expenses that ended up being pretty big, and some recurring expenses like bandwidth were more than expected. Those issues have been solved in the past. Cost of Goods Sold analysis, operational efficiency, budgeting, etc. $140k in two months of sales with no marketing seems pretty good to someone from outside the music industry. Can anyone out there provide some estimates on what studio time and A list artists cost?

I, for one, want to welcome our new industrial music distribution overlord!


1 Response to “How Trent Reznor won and didn’t even realize it…”

  1. 1 dtjedi
    May 6, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Cost of studio time varies depending on location and availability. This link pretty much summarizes that. A LIST talent cost also varies depending on time and availability.

    What would be great is if Trent and Saul were to open up those cost numbers so that we can a real handle on the cost/benefit ratio. In fact, I think it’d be great if they could keep the public updated on this effort and include data discussing the tour with ticket sales and merchandise numbers. It would then allow the analysis to continue. It would give us a long term into effort/results and would be of great benefit to up and coming artists interested in taking this road.

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