The Two Sides of NIN

poster_23052.jpgAt this weeks VON 07 conference I was accosted by a fanatic passionate Canuck Podcaster. He regaled me with tales of the Internet’s future and helpfully suggested I spend more time online; so I could better understand online communities and the changes they are likely to have on big media.

One of the many points he made was how NIN was using the Internet and specifically Last.fm to engage theirs fans. He spoke about it in such loving and rapt tones that I thought for sure that Trent and team had jumped from their label and were now doing things on their own. No such luck. Janko Roettgers over at the put up a post today highlighting just how well the labels can screw-up anything dealing with the Internet. The short story, a German fan participating in the NIN ARG (started by NIN’s label) got shakendown for $675 by NIN’s German label reps. Thats right he got sued by NIN label reps for participating in a game started by NIN’s label. After a few months and lots of pressure from the blogosphere the label woke up, ate crow, apologized and made good.

This struck me as such an apt example, especially after the WSJ article today, of how dysfunctional the labels are and how difficult it is to manage the diametrically opposed goals of control and engagement.

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