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Nine Inch Nails Free Download Experiment Nets Over $1.6 million

Band leader Trent Reznor now encourages user-generated videos for Ghosts I-IV album.

Nine Inch Nails raked in over $1.6 million on their new album in the first week it was sold on the band's Web site, and now the band is trying another experiment.

Ghosts I-IV, released March 2, sold all 2,500 copies of its $300 Ultra-Deluxe Limited Edition on the first day. Sales of other packages, including partial album downloads, entire album downloads, hard copies of CDs, and a limited deluxe edition were also popular. In all, the band reported more than 780,000 downloads as of Wednesday. As part of an experiment in online music distribution, the band made the first nine tracks available for free and offered the entire 36-track album for $5.

"First of all, a sincere THANK YOU for the response to Ghosts," NIN front man Trent Reznor wrote in his blog Thursday. "We are all amazed at the reaction for what we assumed would be a quiet curiosity in the NIN catalogue. My faith in all of you has been restored"

Reznor encouraged fans to create videos to accompany tracks from the new album through YouTube. A panel of judges, including Reznor, will review the submissions and whittle them down to present those deemed the best during a virtual "film festival."

"This isn't a contest and you don't win elaborate prizes," Reznor explained. "It's meant to be an experiment in collaboration and a chance for us to interact beyond the typical one-way artist-to-fan relationship. We've discussed some interesting ways this could go, including multiple installments of the online 'film festivals,' to broadcast TV specials, to a one-time live performance of the entire Ghosts record with your visuals involved. It really depends on how this progresses and develops."

Fans interested in contributing can check out the official NIN YouTube channel and watch a video of Reznor explaining the plan. They can also watch the videos that have already been submitted (more than 30 in the first 24 hours) and view participation rules.

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