A viral marketing campaign has emerged to promote the album's concept. Clues from tour t-shirts have led fans to discover websites that describe an "Orwellian picture of the United States circa the year 2022," and a telephone number that returns a clip of "Survivalism." In addition, the Year Zero song "My Violent Heart" was reportedly found on a thumb drive in the bathroom stall at a NIN show in Lisbon, Portugal (as were other new tracks "Me, I'm Not" and "In This Twilight" at other European concert venues) ahead of their debut on MySpace. This suggests that the band itself covertly distributed the new music. Fan participation in this alternate reality game has caught the attention of the media; MTV News, USA Today, and Rolling Stone have cited fan-site The NIN Hotline, forum Echoing the Sound, fan club The Spiral, and NinWiki as sources for new discoveries.What's crazy about all of this is the scope of Year Zero. It's hardly just an album, and Reznor has created a whole world around it, including planning to make a movie version of the upcoming album which would be the second part of Year Zero, saying "Essentially, I wrote the soundtrack to a movie that doesn't exist."
Fans buying the CD yesterday discovered something more. Playing the CD causes it to heat up, and people found that when they ejected the CD, it had changed colors and revealed a code of 1's and 0's. It turns out that code points to one of dozens of websites that serve to create the entire intricate backstory for Year Zero. How extensive is it? Take a look for yourself. And here's a list of the websites that have been discovered so far that are part of a trail of clues into the story. From ninwiki:
The websites suggest that in Year Zero, there is no longer a distinct separation of Church and State. Perhaps due to an onslaught of bioterrorism attacks, the government has assumed totalitarian control and used the threat of future terrorist attacks to justify their absolute power.Like Nine Inch Nails or not, you've got to admit they're really into what they do, and their fans can't be anything but pleased with all of this. After all, some of the websites lead to additional free tracks as well.
Proven Related Websites
The Mailstrom, Free Rebel Art, U.S. Wiretap, The Price of Treason, Open Source Resistance, Viability Index, Exterminal, Grace The Teacher, Red Horse Vector, Church of Plano, Consolidated Mail Systems, 105th Airborne Crusaders, Be The Hammer, Another Version of the Truth, Act Patriotic, One Country At A Time, Art Is Resistance, I Am Trying To Believe, The Water Turned To Blood, Judson Ogram Correctional Facility, Hollywood in Memoriam, Cedocore, Secure Broadcast Informatics, Solutions Backwards Initiative, Operation Swamp 0000, Operation Chip Sweep, Brian Tsunoda, Mining For Life, Exhibit Twenty Four