When Radiohead let us pick our own price for their seventh album In Rainbows last year the music industry went crazy. No band – let alone one as big as Radiohead – had ever done anything like it before. Apart from a £40 discbox, the element of choice with In Rainbows only extended to the price, but now American industrial rockers Nine Inch Nails have gone one step further.NIN's new album Ghosts I-IV was made available on Sunday night with no fewer than five different format options: three of them physical with another two download packages. The first nine tracks of the record are available for nothing, but just $5 will bag you all 36 tracks in 320kbps MP3, lossless FLAC or Apple Lossless formats. Both also come with a 40-page PDF book, a load of wallpapers and stacks of other artwork graphics. If you'd prefer a disc version there's a 2xCD set for $10, or a $75 deluxe package with added DVD and Blu-ray extras.Top of the pile, though, is the already-sold-out $300 ultra-deluxe limited edition package which includes (deep breath): Ghosts I-IV on a four-LP set of 180 gram vinyl, double-disc CD, a data DVD containing the multi-track session files of the record allowing you to remix it yourself, a Blu-ray disc of hi-res audio and accompanying slide show, and two books of photographs and art prints. Oh and the download too. To top it off each one is signed by Trent Reznor himself. Phew.OK, so it's perhaps a little over the top, but this kind of offering is exactly what's going to make digital music a success. It's becoming clear that there are two types of music fans out there: one that wants a physical product with artwork and gift boxes and other trinkets, and one that just wants cheap music direct to their computer. Offering the high-quality MP3s for just $5 right next to the expensive limited edition packs will really appeal to those who aren't so geeky about their music.The days of paying the same for downloads as CDs should be behind us – and bands like NIN and Radiohead are leading the way forward.
Nine Inch Nails: so much choice for the download generation
When Radiohead let us pick our own price for their seventh album In Rainbows last year the music industry went crazy. No band – let alone one as big a