The future of Nine Inch Nails is now completely in the hands of frontman Trent Reznor following the Oct. 7 expiration of the band's contract with Interscope, for which it had recorded since 1994. Reznor made the announcement yesterday on NIN's Web site.

Sources close to the situation say in the short term, Reznor will get busy in the studio working on the follow-up to this year's "Year Zero," a process he couldn't begin until the Interscope deal was complete due to contractual reasons.

In addition, Billboard understands Reznor, in keeping with past practices, will not decide how to actually release, market and promote the next album until the music is finished.

There will be new Nine Inch Nails product before the end of the year, however. The remix album "Y34RZ3R0R3MIX3D" is likely to be out in late November via Interscope and feature remakes of "Year Zero" songs by Fennesz, the Faint, Ladytron and Saul Williams, among others.

Interscope holds the rights to release a greatest hits collection at some point in the future, but it is unknown when such a project could see the light of day. It is also unclear what the fate would be of any potential Nine Inch Nails archival releases, particularly if the material was recorded during the band's Interscope tenure.

And while observers are already grouping Reznor in with Radiohead as the first heavyweights to jump ship from major labels and release music completely independently, one industry veteran believes the differentiation between the approaches of artists in this position will actually be what changes the game.

"Most of the time with a label, they try to squeeze that differentiation out," the source says. "Now, there's nothing that stops Reznor or Radiohead from doing it uniquely