Nine Inch Nails (abbreviated as NIN) is an American industrial rock band that was formed in Cleveland, Ohio circa 1988 by Trent Reznor. As its main producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist, Reznor is the only official member of Nine Inch Nails and remains solely responsible for the musical direction of the band. His lyrics are largely concerned with dark explorations of the self, and the time between major studio albums (bridged by releases of remixes and live albums) has been extended by Reznor's battles with personal issues. After recording a new album, Reznor usually assembles a live band to tour with him extensively; this live component is generally considered a separate entity from Nine Inch Nails in the recording studio. On stage, NIN employs spectacular visual elements, and the performances often culminate in the destruction of musical instruments.
NIN's music straddles a wide range of genres and techniques while retaining a characteristically intense sound. Underground music audiences warmly received the band's early activity, and Nine Inch Nails went on to produce several highly influential releases in the 1990s to international acclaim, including two Grammy Awards. Media coverage of NIN reached a peak in 1997, when Time magazine named Trent Reznor one of the 25 most influential people in America. The RIAA estimates that Nine Inch Nails has sold at least 12 million units of all of its albums in the United States alone. In 2004, Rolling Stone placed Nine Inch Nails at 94 on their list of the 100 greatest music artists of all time.