With the release of Ghosts I-IV comes with it an interesting selection of optional “editions” that simultaneously target and preclude the class of fan that has molded Trent Reznor into the artist he’s become.
The music itself is quite familiar: haunting, brooding, ridden with angst in even its moments closest to silence and major in tonality. If you’re a fan of Nine Inch Nails, if you’ve ever liked any of their work, or if you’re looking for some ambient music that can be inspirational without being uplifting, this collection is well worth your money and listening time.
However, the most interesting thing this time around is not the music itself, but the medium on which it is delivered, or should I say, the eclectic selection of media: you can download the entire collection directly in DRM-free format for just $5 US (thanks to the lack of album label and the freedom of independent wealth to release music as Reznor pleases). Not only that, but the first segment of the collection (Ghosts I, 9 songs), can be downloaded for free, in exchange for your email address, and included is a 40-page PDF of “visual aesthetic accompaniments to the music from the recording process and the outside world”. Or instead, one can head on over to the Artist in Residence site for the collection, which is where the fun begins.
Adoring fans who have cash burning holes in their pockets can select the Deluxe Edition, which, for $75 US, affords them all the music on two CDs, a Blu-ray DVD that includes “a slide show”, and a 48-page “art book”.
But if you’ve got even more cash to burn, check out the Ultra Deluxe Limited Edition, which nets you all of the above plus the set in vinyl, two limited edition prints, and Reznor’s autograph. As strange as it may sound, if I had the money to spare, I could think of worse ways to blow $300 US.
There are also two additional editions of In a Frozen Sea “art books” offered on the site, but at just $20 US for the basic offering and $150 US for the Deluxe Edition, and since I’ve never heard of Sigur Rós, before, these are hardly worth the mention (which they just got anyway).
Update: the pre-sale of 2500 Ultra Deluxe Limited Edition pieces has already sold out.