Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor says he quit his job at Apple because he felt “guilty” over abandoning his work as an artist in favor of a product design and marketing job.
“I have a mixed set of feelings about the whole thing,” he admitted in a recent interview with Stereogum. Reznor joined Apple back in 2014 as part of the $3 billion Beats acquisition. After joining, he worked on a secret project which turned out to be the launch of Apple Music.
Reznor admits to being an Apple fanboy. “Apple had been one of those companies that I really looked forward to what they were going to present,” he said. “It’s like Willy Wonka. I thought Steve Jobs was a genius and he brought things to the world that I think made significant changes and I looked forward to what was ahead. Steve wasn’t there anymore, but this was an opportunity that if I didn’t do it, would I feel like I would’ve wondered what would have happened if I did do it.”
He went on to describe the challenge of suddenly working alongside, “engineers who didn’t want you there.”
However, he said that working in product design and marketing, along with trying to guess what customers want, ultimately didn’t sit well with his artistic ambitions. “I’d find myself speaking the language of the marketing guy because I’d been in a room with 40 people that were talking about brand identities and sh*t like that,” he said. “I felt like, guilty that I wasn’t being an artist –and a part of that’s my own madness but it made me realize I’m not that interested in that.”
Ultimately, it sounds like Reznor’s tenure at Apple just wasn’t a good cultural fit on either part. That’s certainly not the fault of either party. But after being a freewheeling rock star for so many years, it must be kind of tough to suddenly be working for the world’s most valuable company. Even if, as Eddy Cue has said in the past, Reznor turned out to be pretty good at his job.