Nine Inch Nails (abbreviated as NIN) is a Grammy-winning American alternative rock act, founded in 1988 by Trent Reznor in Cleveland, Ohio. As its main producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist, Reznor is the only official member of Nine Inch Nails and remains solely responsible for its direction. NIN's music straddles a wide range of genres, while retaining a characteristic sound using electronic instruments and processing. After recording a new album, Reznor usually assembles a live band to perform with him. The touring band features a revolving lineup that often rearranges songs to fit a live setting. On stage, NIN often employ spectacular visual elements to accompany performances, which frequently culminate with the band destroying their instruments.
Underground music audiences warmly received Nine Inch Nails in its early years. The band produced several highly influential records in the 1990s that achieved widespread popularity: many Nine Inch Nails songs became radio hits, two NIN recordings won Grammy Awards, and the band has sold over twenty million albums worldwide, with 11 million sales certified in the US alone. In 1997, Reznor appeared in Time magazine's list of the year's most influential people, and Spin magazine described him as "the most vital artist in music." In 2004, Rolling Stone placed Nine Inch Nails at 94 on its list of the 100 greatest rock artists of all time. Despite this acclaim, the band has had several feuds with the corporate side of the recording industry. In 2007, these corporate entanglements resulted in Reznor announcing that Nine Inch Nails would split from its label and release future material independently.
Since 1989, Nine Inch Nails has released eight major studio releases. The most recent releases, Ghosts I–IV and The Slip, both released in 2008, were released under Creative Commons licenses. Both were initially released digitally, with physical releases coming later. The digital release of The Slip was made available completely free of charge. NIN has been nominated for ten Grammy Awards and won twice for the songs "Wish" and "Happiness in Slavery", in 1992 and 1995 respectively.