Trent Reznor has slammed streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, claiming their paltry payouts have “mortally wounded” artists.

The Nine Inch Nails mastermind dished his thoughts during a recent interview with GQ.

“I think the terrible payout of streaming services has mortally wounded a whole tier of artists that make being an artist unsustainable,” Reznor explained. “And it’s great if you’re (multi-platinum rapper) Drake, and it’s not great if you’re (indie rock group) Grizzly Bear.”

To those who argue the streaming structure will eventually sort itself out, Reznor had a clear message.

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“The reality is: Take a look around. We’ve had enough time for the whole ‘All the boats rise’ argument to see they don’t all rise,” the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer declared. “Those boats rise. These boats don’t. They can’t make money in any means. And I think that’s bad for art.”

The irony is that Reznor once worked for one of streaming’s biggest companies. In 2013, he joined with music executive Jimmy Iovine at Beats Music. It was later taken over by Apple Music, where Reznor maintained a prominent role. In the conversation with GQ, the NIN leader noted how he learned from the experience.

“I thought maybe at Apple there could be influence to pay in a more fair or significant way, because a lot of these services are just a rounding error compared to what comes in elsewhere, unlike Spotify where their whole business is that,” he explained. “But that’s tied to a lot of other political things and label issues, and everyone’s trying to hold onto their little piece of the pie and it is what it is. I also realize, I think that people just want to turn the faucet on and have music come in. They’re not really concerned about all the romantic shit I thought mattered.”

Trent Reznor Is Planning New Nine Inch Nails Music

Reznor has found great success with his musical partner, Atticus Ross. The two have taken home a pair of Academy Awards for their scores to the films The Social Network (2010) and Soul (2020). Still, Nine Inch Nails – which Ross is also part of – hasn’t fully gone away.

“[Doing movie scores] managed to make Nine Inch Nails feel way more exciting than it had been in the past few years,” Reznor admitted. “I’d kind of let it atrophy a bit in my mind for a variety of reasons.”

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“I do feel excited about starting on the next record,” Ross added. “I think we’re in a place now where we kind of have an idea.”

The duo has also started a new company, With Teeth, which will cover storytelling in multiple mediums, including film, fashion and a music festival. They already have a TV show in development with Christopher Storer, the creator of The Bear, with more projects coming down the line quickly.

Still, Reznor is insistent that With Teeth will stick to its creative morals.

“Trent was very clear when we started,” Ross noted. “We cannot let this get into Apple terrain.”

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