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Thread: What Was The Rollout For Pretty Hate Machine???

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    What Was The Rollout For Pretty Hate Machine???

    I would like to know from those of you that were around at that time. For a record like that to sell 3 million units i'm sure Trent and TVT must've came up with some clever ways of building awareness for the album upon release

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    TVT Records hated the album, so I doubt they really went the extra mile to promote it.

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    It didn't necessarily sell 3 million copies in 1989/1990

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    The only thing I know about PHM is that they toured for it. And then toured more. A lot. There were 8 tours for PHM.
    I remember hearing interview stories about how they just kept going around and every time they'd see the same people plus a few friends.
    I have a feeling a lot of the sales came from just hard work like that. And Lolla.

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    Here's an excerpt from a 2017 interview w/Steve Gottlieb offering his perspective on how he helped foster NIN:

    "I was very proud of the marketing campaign we did for him. It was, in my mind, revolutionary. I built my company having developed an expertise in grassroots marketing that was completely different from the major labels' approach to marketing. In 1989, record labels did not do two-year campaigns for alternative artists. They didn't go three singles deep for an artist who was at 400,000 units. Not back then.

    We were in a genre where people had very capped expectations about what was possible and about how much money and effort to put behind something. Our campaign with Nine Inch Nails broke the rules. From the beginning, the commitment was exceptionally high: from doing a pre-release single -- with a video, not waiting until it was a successful single 'til we did the video -- to all the pre-release promotion and hype we did. That whole summer we did late-night TV ads, 15-second spots that were just the video. To our use of getting mixtape of Nine Inch Nails out to every hip clothing store, every fashion store, to models, designers, our whole branding of the Nine Inch Nails logo and making it everywhere, distributing hundreds of thousands of stickers -- those didn't end up on kids' skateboards by accident. That all had to be fostered and cultivated.

    I haven't said the key thing in breaking a band: it's in finding and helping a band establish their first fans. The nature of grassroots marketing was to make sure that everyone who hears about the band hears about it from the cool kids. You gotta choose to reach the cool kids first and make them evangelists by super-serving them. That's a very specific kind of marketing concept -- I don't think they have it now, but they didn't have it then -- that we were very sensitive too.

    The tours that Nine Inch Nails was on didn't happen by accident. They happened because of my effort knowing the management of the two bands and my campaigning to get those tours. And the label giving him substantial tour support."

    This is the first promotion of NIN by TVT in Billboard magazine.
    Last edited by FULLMETAL; 06-05-2018 at 10:18 AM.

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    You can find the tour schedule here: http://nintourhistory.com/tours.php

    PHM tour was 185 shows long. Only other tours to come close or even eclipse the 100 show mark was the Self-Destruct (176) and With Teeth (164)

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    Gottlieb is a weird dude that takes credit for EVERYTHING. One of the many reasons TR hates the guy.

    I was a freshman in high school when PHM came out and a friend that worked in a record store gave me the tape because he was into metal and the album wasn’t heavy enough for him. I loved it immediately, but then a few months later radio and MTV started playing HLAH and Down In It and everyone jumped onboard. When a few cheerleader friends started singing HLAH in the hallway one day, I knew the secret was out!!

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    https://www.riaa.com/gold-platinum/?...search_section

    According to the RIAA site, Pretty Hate Machine (10/3/1989) was certified:

    Gold on 3/3/1992
    Platinum on 3/2/1995
    2x Platinum on 9/20/1995
    3x Platinum on 5/12/2003

    So yeah, the bulk of those sales absolutely did not take place until well after the album had already been released for many years.

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    Exactly. Didn't Gottlieb told Trent... "by the way, you're record is a piece of shit."?

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    Lollapalooza 91 playing in front of a bunch of dumb jocks did a lot for exposure....2 years after the album came out

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    Quote Originally Posted by FULLMETAL View Post
    You gotta choose to reach the cool kids first and make them evangelists by super-serving them. That's a very specific kind of marketing concept -- I don't think they have it now, but they didn't have it then -- that we were very sensitive too.
    Okay, Steve. The music industry 'now' is totally not exploding with incredible grassroots art or driven by a bloodthirst for the new new new hot shit. There are definitely no 'cool kid' tastemakers on the scene building hype for literally every type of music imaginable. Your idea was definitely fresh and unique - and the scene these days is totally non-existent because 'they' haven't continued your groundbreaking techniques.

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    He is a "legit" "toilet".

    "Cock hole" was not an option, unfortunately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Seaward View Post
    Okay, Steve. The music industry 'now' is totally not exploding with incredible grassroots art or driven by a bloodthirst for the new new new hot shit. There are definitely no 'cool kid' tastemakers on the scene building hype for literally every type of music imaginable. Your idea was definitely fresh and unique - and the scene these days is totally non-existent because 'they' haven't continued your groundbreaking techniques.
    No kidding.

    Yeah, genius plan by Gottlieb- no one ever thought of that stuff he discusses.

    If it wasn't on some unknown, shit label like TVT it would've been discovered sooner. It took awhile for people to find out, you know, the music was good!

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    Thank you, very informative

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    As much as I love Trent as an overall creative it still seems crazy that his records still managed to find such a huge audience. If an act like NIN signed to a label today the chances of them moving that many units would be slim. Mainly because it seems that the employees at these labels today are idiots

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    Are there any labels today that would take a risk and actively promote an act that’s in the same lane?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheNullCorporation View Post
    Are there any labels today that would take a risk and actively promote an act thatís in the same lane?

    It's completely different now, compared to what labels did 30 years ago. Social media and the internet in general make it much easier to reach more people. When it comes to sales, I'd think that's a different entity entirely. People couldn't just stream the music based on a bad-ass advert years ago. My point, I guess, is that marketing and other promotion is nowhere near what it used to be, so it'd be hard to find something today that is comparable to PHM's original release.

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    Quote Originally Posted by halo eighteen View Post
    https://www.riaa.com/gold-platinum/?...search_section

    According to the RIAA site, Pretty Hate Machine (10/3/1989) was certified:

    Gold on 3/3/1992
    Platinum on 3/2/1995
    2x Platinum on 9/20/1995
    3x Platinum on 5/12/2003

    So yeah, the bulk of those sales absolutely did not take place until well after the album had already been released for many years.
    Woodstock '94 much?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheNullCorporation View Post
    Are there any labels today that would take a risk and actively promote an act that’s in the same lane?
    I feel like the difference between "actively promoting" in the late 90's and today is pretty disparate. Back then, you'd pay thousands and thousands of dollars for TV spots and billboards and radio play, but today, you drop a few hundred on social media ads. Everything just gets lost in the noise though...EVERYONE has a song or band or web series or IndieGogo or fucking Kickstarter...

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    Quote Originally Posted by paul_guyet View Post
    Woodstock '94 much?
    It probably helped, but it was more TDS (and the Closer single/video) IMHO. NIN fucking grew into a monster after that album. I know Trent is on record as saying he didn’t wanna do Woodstock, but they would’ve been an arena act regardless. I think Woodstock was a PPV event anyways, correct?

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    I was a senior in high school around the time PHM was released (1989). I live in a smallish California city and the closest big city is San Jose, 45 minutes away. As far as promotional roll-out, I saw very little at the local record shop. Back then, it was dominated with hip hop/pop/R&B. Obviously, there was no social media/Internet, so, we got no exposure to such music save for MTV (back when they played videos). I think it was 120 Minutes (my main source for "alternative music") where I first saw the "Head Like A Hole" video and just fell in love with the band. I didn't get to attend my first NIN show until the 1994 club tour, in support of TDS. Been a fan ever since...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruined View Post
    I was a senior in high school around the time PHM was released (1989). I live in a smallish California city and the closest big city is San Jose, 45 minutes away. As far as promotional roll-out, I saw very little at the local record shop. Back then, it was dominated with hip hop/pop/R&B. Obviously, there was no social media/Internet, so, we got no exposure to such music save for MTV (back when they played videos). I think it was 120 Minutes (my main source for "alternative music") where I first saw the "Head Like A Hole" video and just fell in love with the band. I didn't get to attend my first NIN show until the 1994 club tour, in support of TDS. Been a fan ever since...
    “Yeah, well... you weren’t one of the COOL kids we ended up giving stickers to at the skate park.”
    - SG

    I just re-read that article. Good god what a tool, lol. Shocking he doesn’t have a dozen multi-platinum bands under his belt by now. :O

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    Quote Originally Posted by ultimatebdp View Post
    Gottlieb is a weird dude that takes credit for EVERYTHING. One of the many reasons TR hates the guy.

    I was a freshman in high school when PHM came out and a friend that worked in a record store gave me the tape because he was into metal and the album wasn’t heavy enough for him. I loved it immediately, but then a few months later radio and MTV started playing HLAH and Down In It and everyone jumped onboard. When a few cheerleader friends started singing HLAH in the hallway one day, I knew the secret was out!!
    I was also a freshman in high school when PHM came out and your high school is clearly cooler than mine. At my high school I only knew of nin because I every once in a while saw the logo on a t-shirt from one of the "weird people." It wasn't until college when I got exposed to more music and my roommate bought TDS the week it was released that I even heard them and at first it was just noise but it slowly grew on me and I became a rabid fan before Closer hit the radio and MTV so I just barely squeaked in before it became trendy lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by paul_guyet View Post
    I feel like the difference between "actively promoting" in the late 90's and today is pretty disparate. Back then, you'd pay thousands and thousands of dollars for TV spots and billboards and radio play, but today, you drop a few hundred on social media ads. Everything just gets lost in the noise though...EVERYONE has a song or band or web series or IndieGogo or fucking Kickstarter...
    It would be cool if there were channels within social media. Like what if there was an online network built for alternative/left-field artists where they all could self-distribute their content (vids,ads,singles) directly to that channel from whatever social media app they use. That would definitely filter out the noise

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krazy View Post
    It probably helped, but it was more TDS (and the Closer single/video) IMHO. NIN fucking grew into a monster after that album. I know Trent is on record as saying he didn’t wanna do Woodstock, but they would’ve been an arena act regardless. I think Woodstock was a PPV event anyways, correct?
    I think the whole NIN performance was, but I know some of it showed on MTV all summer long that year. Plus, the live performance of "Happiness In Slavery" won a Grammy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheNullCorporation View Post
    It would be cool if there were channels within social media. Like what if there was an online network built for alternative/left-field artists where they all could self-distribute their content (vids,ads,singles) directly to that channel from whatever social media app they use. That would definitely filter out the noise
    100% agreed...but, how would people find out about it? There ARE smaller, less mainstream music sites out there, but people just don't know about them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paul_guyet View Post
    100% agreed...but, how would people find out about it? There ARE smaller, less mainstream music sites out there, but people just don't know about them.
    It would have to be a service rather than a site. Just like how various labels/brands/companies can distribute and advertise their products through tv and radio, there should be a service that pulls content from all sites (Instagram, Twitter, FB, YT, SoundCloud) and filters them based on genre and aesthetic

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheNullCorporation View Post
    It would have to be a service rather than a site. Just like how various labels/brands/companies can distribute and advertise their products through tv and radio, there should be a service that pulls content from all sites (Instagram, Twitter, FB, YT, SoundCloud) and filters them based on genre and aesthetic
    Like an curatable aggregation service? I feel like that must be an app somewhere...

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    From a book called The Making of Pretty Hate Machine & The Downward Spiral:

    "But after Trent handed in the finished product, he heard nothing from Gottlieb for two whole weeks. Finally, there was a phone call. Gottlieb hated the record, calling it "an abortion" and accusing Trent of messing up some perfectly good pop songs by making them too hard and heavy. Gottlieb went even further, predicting that MTV and radio would avoid the record like the plague, and as a result, the label would be lucky to sell 20,000 copies."

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    I remember picking up a 4 track cassette sampler from Details magazine with HLAH, Down In It, sin, and The Only Time on it. Repeated both sides. Got it from an indie record shop in Tampa when it first came out. I didn't buy the full album until a year later, but did get all the 12" when they were released. I still have the cassette packed away somewhere. Seeing the current selling price on Discogs, link below, I better try and find it.

    https://www.discogs.com/Nine-Inch-Na.../master/309717

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