Essentially Trent Reznor decided to release a small number of songs from his new album, Year Zero. He did this by leaving usb drives with the music at various venues that NiN was performing. The songs released were approved by Trent and the record label signed off on the concept.
In a slightly related story, New York Times calles RIAA "boneheads"
Between the lawsuits, the abuse of power, butting in where they are not wanted..... I wonder how long the labels themselves are going to stand for this. When are they going to say enough is enough and pull out from the RIAA?
More importantly, if DRM goes away (thanks Apple!), Will more artist abandon labels and go direct?