It’s quite an amazing time in Trent’s career. He as well as Radiohead have spearheaded an unheard of idea for artists of their popularity; giving their albums away for free. There’s been tons of hoopla surrounding the free release of In Rainbows, Niggy Tardust, and Ghosts (Ghosts has already reported 1.6 mil in profit) What’s interesting, though, is that this isn’t the first time Trent’s done it. Kinda…
It starts with the advent of Doom. Released in December of 1993, id Software’s Doom took the PC gaming world by storm. The successor to Wolfenstein, Doom represented the best in cutting edge graphics and playability. Along with an addictive style of play and a very important new feature, multi-player support, doom changed the lives of many. One of whom was Trent himself. It’s been said that he spent many an hour forgoing the rock star party life and instead chose to lock himself away in his tour bus and get lost in the depths of Doom’s world.
After the success of Doom, id carried on with the development of it’s next game, Quake. This game would herald a completely 3D graphics engine that allowed the designers unprecedented freedom to create anything they desired. Along with this amazing engine was to come an amazing soundtrack. id Software was able to reach a contract with Trent that would put him in control of not only the soundtrack but the sound effects as well.
The final product came together as a tightly knit collage of dark hallways and possessed demons all backed by a murky stream of ambient tracks. Only the sounds of screaming monsters and the thunderous reports of shotguns and rocket launchers broke the eerie soundtrack.
Id handled the distribution of Quake in a similar fashion to it’s previous titles. Released under a Shareware license, the Quake demo allowed people to discover the game without having to pay for the whole thing at first. The CD was available from stores for roughly $10. This included the demo and a locked copy of the final game along with the full soundtrack as CD audio. After purchasing the CD, the customer could call in to order the full version and receive an unlock code to install the remaining game content. The soundtrack, however, was all there from the beginning. Being CD Audio, played directly by the computer’s CD Rom, there wasn’t a way to lock that off. Thus, the whole ‘Album’ of music was available for free alongside the demo game. Nine Inch Nails has continued this trend with Ghosts. You can get the ‘demo,’ Ghosts I online for free. And if you like that, you can pay a minimum of $5 to download the rest of the album: Ghosts II - IV They’ve also offered the album in CD form and a deluxe package with tons of extra goodies.
Visit Last.fm for some preview clips of the soundtrack. As the CD has long been out of production, it may be incredibly hard to find an original copy. Thus, I suggest the more adventurous users look elsewhere for a copy to listen to. It’s my favorite work by Trent to date and I hope you find time to enjoy it too.