So we're left to make these decisions on our own critieria. Popularity is something that is important to me but not the be-all and end-all; Leonard Cohen never had a Top Forty hit, but he is in and obviously belongs. Artistic contributions are not even of paramount significance. The Supremes basically came in at the end of the Motown assembly line, and laying down their vocals was their only contribution to those records. But I don't think anyone begrudges them their enshrinement.
But one factor that is a deal breaker for me, at minimum, is that I have to enjoy listening to their music. I would never vote for an artist I wouldn't want to listen to, and I don't think that's an unreasonable standard.
Which brings us to the pioneering industrial band Nine Inch Nails. Trent Reznor and his crew created the music that set the backdrop for much of the Nineties with their innovative use of blah blah blah, but does anyone actually enjoy listening to this stuff? It's not just that it's unpleasant; its very purpose seems to be its unpleasantness. Reznor badly wants us all to know about his seething unresolved anger, although I was never quite sure what he was angry about. As my friend Rob Sheffield said about Live, never underestimate the ability of teenage boys to feel deeply about nothing at all.
And I'm not even sure how much of the NIN stuff was brand-new. I would appreciate it if someone who enjoys this music a lot more than I do would explain what NIN did that Ministry hadn't already done back in the 1980s. Plus, I have to deduct points from their score for foisting Marilyn Manson on the world - not cool, Trent.
I vote NO for Nine Inch Nails.