You might have derived from some of our recent writings the impression that Nine Inch Nails can do no wrong. This isn't quite true, and we're not refering to the midsection of The Fragile here.
What piqued our interest was the news from the first day of NIN mainman Trent Reznor's court case against his former manager, John Malm, whom he naturally is alleging robbed the sensitive little artst blind. It's mostly been a series of exchanges along the lines of "Why on earth did you sign such a ridiculous deal, Mr. Reznor?""Er, I was really wasted." So far, so rocktacular.
And then wwe're going through the coverage in the penny dreadful's online edition, which isn't the password-protected beast we had expected, and saw this line:
Reznor said he delayed shutting down his money-losing Nothing Records because he agreed with Malm's advice that they had an opportunity to sell the label. He later pulled the plug.
Ah, Nothing Records, for which you can find a nice little potted history here. Nothing Records started out as a dodge to get NIN out of an earlier record deal, and then turned into a sort of drill n' bass vanity label. Only without the commercial success that Analis vomited all over Madonna's Maverick Records.
Not that it wasn't a worthy venture. The idea of Meat Beat Manifesto, Autechre and Squarepusher getting a US hearing is very noble, even if Nothing also brought the world Marilyn Manson and Pop Will Eat Itself. But lucrative it was not.
We thought that Trent, who has shifted 20 million albums, would be able to just point to his empty bank account and have the verdict in the bag. Now we're not so sure. Note to the defense: a couple of bars of PWEI's "Auslander" will probably serve as a rather effective answer to "where did all the money go?"