Rock albums don’t usually have the most extensive marketing campaigns; most of the time it’s just some online ads, a plug on The Daily Show and calling some other artist a twat in an interview with a tabloid if we’re talking about a British band. Trent Reznor’s Year Zero, on the other hand, had 17 websites and a massive alternate reality game devoted to it.
Reznor’s main method for spreading information to his fans, by the way? The bathroom stalls of Nine Inch Nails concert venues.
It all started with a Nine Inch Nails Tour T-shirt: among the words on the back, certain highlighted letters spelled out the phrase “iamtryingtobelieve.” This was actually the URL for a strange website that described a drug called parepin, an alleged immune system booster distributed by the U.S. government through the water supply to protect its citizens from biological warfare. The website posited that it was actually a hallucinogenic and narcotic drug meant to control the populace. Because people are way easier to keep in check when they’re tripping balls, apparently.