Nothing Records was an American record label, specializing in industrial rock and electronic music, founded by Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails) and John Malm, Jr. in 1992. It is considered an example of a vanity label, where an artist is able to run a label, with some degree of independence, from within a larger parent company, Interscope in this case. Nothing Records is now defunct.
The Nothing record label is most famous for its two original signings, Trent Reznor's own band Nine Inch Nails and then-obscure shock rock band Marilyn Manson (Nothing released all of Marilyn Manson's records up to Lest We Forget – The Best Of in 2004). Other artists signed to the label rarely reached the height of support, marketing and name-recognition that both Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson had attained.
Still, the label gained semi-iconic status within the industrial rock scene, and even acquired its own online-fanzine in Sick Among the Pure, although this later became a more general industrial fanzine, and ceased to exist at all in 2005. The Nothing label would often reward its fanbase over the Internet — one form of this outreach was Radio Nothing: an exclusive collection of free MP3 music streams, compiled by Nothing label artists, producers and fans.
In September 2004, coinciding with Trent Reznor leaving New Orleans for the west coast, the Nine Inch Nails website announced "nothing studios: 1994-2004", suggesting that Nothing Studios was no more. This later proved to be the end of the associated record label as well. Speculation among listeners that the label could continue ceased when Trent Reznor successfully sued co-founder John Malm, Jr. for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty (amongst others), ensuring that the Nothing era was over.
In a May 5, 2005 post to nin.com, Trent wrote, "To be clear: my involvement with Nothing Records is over. Is Nothing Records alive or an entity? You'd have to ask John Malm (we're not really speaking that much these days)... Nothing studios is still in New Orleans and I'm not sure what I'll do with it. I'll figure that out when I finish touring."
While Nine Inch Nails' With Teeth and its following singles carried the Nothing Records logo, Reznor has publicly stated that this was at the insistence of John Malm, Jr.
Beside You In Time, released in February 2007 also carries the Nothing Records logo on its packaging. The logo also appears in the end credits. Year Zero, released in April 2007, and its accompanying single, "Survivalism", however do not carry the Nothing logo.
In addition to Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, the label hosted industrial rock luminaries Pig, Pop Will Eat Itself, Prick, 12 Rounds, Einstürzende Neubauten, The The, and Meat Beat Manifesto. Additionally, Coil was under contract for a record, but it was never delivered (due to the untimely death of Jhonn Balance). John Bergin was also signed briefly under the name Trust Obey, but the album he recorded (Hands of Ash) was instead released in 1996 on Fifth Colvmn Records with a sticker that quoted Reznor's reaction to the completed work: "Not a great commercial potential."
Nothing also distributed music from Warp Records, Sheffield, England's venerable electronic music label, under an exclusive license in the U.S., with albums by Autechre, Plaid, and Squarepusher. (Although Warp's most illustrious artist Aphex Twin appeared on the Further Down the Spiral release, he was already under a contract with Sire Records in the U.S. at the time.) This distribution deal ended when Warp expanded operations into the U.S. market in 2001.
The studios, located on 4500 Magazine St., were apparently not seriously damaged by Hurricane Katrina. On the Los Angeles radio station KROQ, Reznor stated during an interview (Breakfast with Kevin and Bean) that the studio in New Orleans was not a studio anymore. He later put a collection of his photos on nin.com, detailing the aftermath of the hurricane on his former studios and the surrounding area, before his band played a scheduled concert (which had become a benefit for the survivors). As of December 6, 2006, the former site of Nothing Studios in New Orleans is up for sale, for approximately $1.3 million.