I was going to talk about this earlier this week, but after purchasing Nine Inch Nails Ghosts 1-IV I had trouble downloading it due to the huge demand. Getting the music from Amazon is not an option for me because the Amazon mp3 store is not yet available in Canada. Trent was good about the situation and reactivated the download links so today, after making sure the site was performing okay, I finally downloaded my copy in the flac format. I chose flac because it is an open and lossless format, though mp3 and apple lossless formats are also available.
I think Nine Inch Nails made the right choice with their distribution method, even though they were not prepared for the demand. If they ever do something like this in the future, which I obviously hope that they do, then let us hope that their server infrastructure is better prepared for the onslaught of rabid fans. For the record I consider myself one of those.
The most impressive aspect of this is that the albums are very experimental and consists of strictly music tracks. Note that I said albums. The I-IV refer to the fact that the music is broken into four volumes with each volume corresponding to a vinyl album. There was a limited run of actual albums created with all of them selling out the first day even though the cost of that set was a premium $300. That alone would have axed the project if it would have gone through a big music label. Even if the label allowed the concept album to go ahead, I suspect it would have not been properly supported.