Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor is known for his love of technology. He was responsible for the original music from both Quake and Call of Duty: Black Ops II, called the alternate reality game Year Zero – based on the NIN concept album of the same name – “a new entertainment form,” and is chief creative officer at Apple Music.
It turns out, however, that Reznor has a real dislike of YouTube. “I find YouTube’s business to be very disingenuous. It is built on the backs of free, stolen content and that’s how they got that big,” he said during an interview with Billboard. “I think any free-tiered service is not fair. It’s making their numbers and getting them a big IPO and it is built on the back of my work and that of my peers. That’s how I feel about it. Strongly.”
YouTube has come under fire recently from a number of artists and those in the music industry, partly because it is attempting to rework copyright legislation to grant the service safe harbor status for content uploaded without the copyright holder’s permission.
In an open letter to Alphabet CEO Larry Page, musician Nikki Sixx wrote: "Artists from every genre are finding it impossible to pursue their art in a world dominated by YouTube. Without changes, young musicians will no longer be able to make music for a living and the next generation of fans will be robbed of great artists. Dreams of breaking into the music industry will effectively be unattainable."
Reznor’s role at Apple does mean that he has extra reasons to dislike “free-tiered” streaming companies. The Nine Inch Nails founder is doubtlessly referring to Apple Music rivals such as Spotify and Deezer when using the term; their ad-based free tiers could hamper the growth of paid-for services such as the one offered by Reznor's employer.