According to Trent Reznor, social media stifles creativity.
Trent Reznor teamed up with Atticus Ross once again to score the Hollywood flick, Patriot’s Day. The movie deals with the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and injured 264 others. Both Reznor and Ross have worked together to score The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Gone Girl. However, in a recent interview with Yahoo, Trent Reznor took the time to address the effect of social media on music.
He first spoke about how challenges in the music making process have changed since he first started out.
“Any time I sit down to write something, even today, I have to remind myself that it needs to be as honest as who I have become when I’m doing this stuff. And I can look back at my catalog and say with honesty that it’s the best I can do when I did it and it was the most true I could be to myself. The challenges are different today.”
When asked what changed, he blasted social media, calling it a “toxic environment.”
“When I took so long between albums, I was afraid to open that book up and see what was inside my head. Now I think I’m more confident in my abilities, but doesn’t make it any less painful to write at times or do anything about the feeling of being naked when I release this stuff out to the world. But what has crept in is that everyone’s a commentator now. The internet is giving voice to everybody thinking that someone gives a shit what they have to say and they have the right. I think, in general, that has created a toxic environment for artists and led to some very safe music.
According to Reznor, people’s opinions on social media, instead of motiving artists, actually stifle their creativity. Artists now have to make music to please who he calls “the tastemakers.” These tastemakers, in turn, tell the sheep what to like. Thus, musicians are stuck in a vicious cycle.
“Artists are trying to make music to please the tastemakers that tell the sheep what to like. It’s a vicious cycle and I think it’s unhealthy. I don’t see any Princes emerging on the scene today. I see a lot of people making formulaic, made to please, vegan restaurant patron-type s***. And I think it creates an environment where people are too f***in’ worried about what other people have to say. And people who have never made anything think it’s OK to talk s*** about stuff they have no right to talk about. You got a Facebook account? Nobody gives a f***. You haven’t achieved anything.”
Patriot’s Day came out on December 21 and has grossed $13.1 million. The National Board of Review chose the film as one of the top ten films of 2016.