Trent Reznor Reveals How Taco Bell Sponsorship Could Have Killed Legendary 90’s Band

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Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor discussed the state of the music business in a new Juxtapoz interview.

“The ability as an artist to make money, and to make a living as a musical artist, to be heard, to make an impact, to have a record even be noticed, has shrunk. I think relying on the corporate sponsor, the benefactor, has become more important. We were just talking about how, in the early ’90s, Sonic Youth would not be in a Taco Bell ad. That would have been the end of Sonic Youth. The equivalent of Sonic Youth today, they could be in a Taco Bell ad. They could be sponsored by any number of things that might be distasteful, but it’s also perceived as kind of okay.

It can also become a muzzle of expression, because now you might think, ‘Hmm, I don’t know if I should say this, but do I really want to piss off the person that might be sponsoring the fucking tour?’ We only have a few avenues of revenue and support. Maybe we don’t want to risk pissing them off. I understand it, but I do think that perhaps it is contributing to a dangerous climate where fewer people are speaking up.”