As streaming continues to inch towards becoming the medium of choice for most music consumers, getting a physical release of something is increasingly becoming a joyless exercise, with CDs coming in cardboard sleeves with minimal liner notes. It’s no wonder that vinyl continues to sell. However, if you ordered the physical version of Nine Inch Nails’ December EP Not the Actual Events, you were in for a surprise. The $12 “physical component,” which is now sold out, didn’t promise you the music on CD or anything. In fact, all you got when you ordered was the EP in your choice of digital formats and the promise of a “physical component.”
That physical component started showing up, and came with a disclaimer printed on it. In short, as you can see above, it promises to make a mess. As this imgur page shows, opening it will get you thick card stock papers of the lyrics. There’s a kind of soot that’s on the lyrics, and as you flip on, your fingerprints wind up on the lyrics. The last card is totally covered in soot, but by the time you’ve looked through it all, you’ve got a one-of-a-kind artifact that’s as unique and individual as Reznor and Atticus Ross are.
— Lydia Munster (@LydiaMunster) March 1, 2017