I grabbed that screencap from http://mashable.com/…6-million/ and I think it reports on some seriously great news. A couple of commenters to the post make good points, however.

While it's great that Trent Reznor (the guy behind NIN) has made so much money in cutting out the middleman (the distributor) a couple of things are worth noting:

1) The $1.6 million includes sales of the highly expensive $300 version of the "Ghosts" album with loads of tactile extras (things you can touch). Mashable commenter Preston theorizes that this set comes with so many things the profit margin probably isn't so high. Regardless, this proves that if you've got name recognition and a website, you can sell a lot of stuff!

2) Speaking of name recognition, the Mashable commenter calling himself "SoloProgrammer.com" points out that this will be more impressive when a noname band can do these kinds of sales.

As a self-publisher, myself, I agree with that second point.

There's a "gatekeeper" mentality out there where some people think your work needs to be vetted before anyone should be allowed to buy it. I think this is crap because I've pitched a couple of different projects around Hollywood only to get turned down because they weren't obvious money-makers. However, I'd rather let the public decide.

South American author Alberto Manguel gave a great lecture that TVO (in Canada) broadcast earlier this year about this kind of thing. If memory serves, he wondered what Jack London's books would have been like if his editor hadn't made changes things. Check out that lecture at the "Big Ideas" lecture series site on TVO.org here: http://snipurl.com/21sev

So, let's hear it for NIN's million+!

Oh and since a lot of us DIY folks (Distribute It Yourself) don't have the same name recognition as Trent, we should all remember that word of mouth is the best kind of advertising and often the only kind of advertising some artists can afford. If you listen to music, watch a video or read a book (like mine: http://snurl.com/thekeybook ^_^) that you like, please tell people about it. Besides, if someone tells you a book is good, aren't you more likely to believe them than some advertisement you saw in the paper?
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