Nine Inch Nails, in a surprise move, posted access to a free download of its complete new album, "The Slip," on its Web site at 12:01 a.m. this morning (May 5).

Nine Inch Nails, in a surprise move, posted access to a free download of its complete new album, "The Slip," on its Web site at 12:01 a.m. this morning (May 5).

The ten-track album is available in several formats -- including MP3 and high-quality, lossless options like FLAC -- via a link on NIN.com. All of the formats come free of digital rights management.

A statement on the site from frontman Trent Reznor says simply, “Thank you for your continued and loyal support over the years -- this one's on me."

Nine Inch Nails plans to release “The Slip” on CD and vinyl in July and will use traditional brick-and-mortar distribution. Further details about the physical product have yet to be announced.

Manager Jim Guerinot tells Billboard.com that the timing for the free digital download felt right because "we just put a record out [and] we're going on-sale with tickets."

He adds that Reznor's "been in a prolific phase and we didn't want 'business' to get in the way of getting the art in the hands of the fans. We've looked at the climate and the many advantages of being able to do whatever we want without bureaucracy."

"The Slip" features Reznor on vocals and various instruments,
as well as Josh Freese, Robin Finck and Alessandro Cortini. Guerinot also reports to Billboard.com that Reznor "worked again with his team of Alan Moulder and Atticus Ross out of his garage" on the recording and says word of the album came late.

"T[rent] let me know there was some new music coming and the next thing I knew there was a full-length record done.... It's very exciting to be finishing mixing on Thursday, mastering Friday, finishing artwork on Saturday and having the world hear it [Monday morning]!"

To get the download of “The Slip,” site users need to provide an email address, to which a link is sent that includes access to all format options. All downloads also include a PDF with lyrics and artwork.

This is the first time Nine Inch Nails has made a new album available completely and exclusively for free as a digital download.

Demand for the new music appeared to be immediate and heavy. Just after 9:30 a.m. ET, the site was slowed to a crawl due to traffic.

A free single, "Discipline," was released last week to terrestrial radio stations and their websites, while the track "Echoplex" is available on social networking site iLike.

In addition to giving away the album's finished tracks, Nine Inch Nails is also making freely available the multi-track files for “The Slip,” which can be reconstructed and then posted to Nine Inch Nails’ fan remix site, remix.nin.com.

Like the band's previous album, "Ghosts I-IV," "The Slip" is being released under a Creative Common license, so it can be redistributed freely.

As previously reported, Nine Inch Nails is reserving premium seats to its upcoming summer tour for fans who register through NIN.com prior to exclusive pre-sales.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print