Nine Inch Nails's Music Experiment Successful

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 5, 2008
Updated • Dec 4, 2012
Music, Music and Video

Radiohead was the first band that used the Internet as their main distribution method for their music and that gave their fans the best price ever for their music by letting the downloaders decide what they would pay. This premiere was not perfect by all means though but it was definitely a step in the right direction.

The second band that created such a stir was the band Nine Inch Nails with the release of their album Ghosts Volumes One though Four. The first nine songs of the album were available freely on the NIN website with lots of extras including digital extras and a 40-paged PDF document.

Three additional packages were on sale that would add value to the free package. The most expensive one was a $300 deluxe release signed by Trent Reznor that was limited to 2500 copies. That limited release sold out after a couple of days which alone marks this experiment an success.

It should also be noted that the full release has been released under Creative Commons and can be downloaded from various Bittorrent sites throughout the Internet.


The first nine tracks of the Ghosts collection are still available as a free high-quality download on the Nine Inch Nails website. All 36 songs can be bought for a $5 download, a $10 two CD set, or a $75 deluxe edition package.

If you select the free download, you are still required to enter your email address to receive the download link as an email in your account. You do not need to enter payment information or other identifiable information though on the form.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Justin said on November 30, 2011 at 10:18 am

    The warning message about AAC streams when you load streams is because you don’t have the free Orban AAC/aacPlus Player Plugin installed.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

      Justin, thanks for the information.

  2. santosh said on December 1, 2011 at 12:43 am

    does this support AAC ? or only mp3 streaming

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 1, 2011 at 1:43 am

      I’d say it supports all pls streams but I have not tried that so cannot verify it 100%.

  3. Barnabas said on August 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Thank you Martin for a most informative and viable solution (it allowed me to play streams from a Netherland internet radio station in my WMP)! Continued success to you!

    Barnabas (USA)

  4. AppleRome said on October 7, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Your steps’ recommendation is still valid until 7th October 2012.. Thank you very much !!

  5. Laura said on December 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you!

  6. sak2005 said on December 9, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    You must convert file.pls to file.m3u
    because file.pls open with winamp and file.m3u open with wmp.

  7. Lithium said on February 10, 2017 at 11:10 am

    2017 still kicking on Windows 7
    Thx a ton

  8. Dennis said on April 18, 2017 at 4:05 am

    Hey, even i can do it, i stumbled through it and it works great! The only instruction advice i will add as i had to figure this out, when the wmp box opens that says save or open the bar on right says wmp click that drop down and select “open pls in wmp” once you do that it will work . Took me quite some time to discover that as i am no computer expert by any means. Having said that, previously i had downloaded codec packages and something about aac. None did any good. This rocks, i listen to a lot of internet radio and a number of them have dropped flash player and getting wmp to work had been a nightmare. So many thanks for this great solution to another problem that Micro-Hell will not even address. Peace- Out

  9. stephen marshall said on March 19, 2019 at 2:07 am

    openplsinwmp came in a zip file. I unpacked it, and didn’t find anything that looks like an executable, and even the files in the “doc” folder were in a format windows didn’t recognize. I’m not stupid. you said it would open effortlessly. It didn’t. This a rabbit hole I don’t want to go down.

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