TVT Records (Television Tunes) is the independent record label that Trent Reznor initally signed with to release Pretty Hate Machine and its accompanying singles, as well as Broken and its remix EP, Fixed. The label was founded by Steve Gottlieb in 1985.
Reznor became engaged in several disputes with TVT records which resulted in the secret recording of the angst-filled Broken EP. The label forced Reznor to work with producers he did not want to work with (specifically John Fryer, whom Reznor didn't get along with) and released Down In It as NIN's first commercial single. The version of "Down In It" which appeared on the album was not the completed version Reznor wanted on it but a remix done by Adrian Sherwood and Keith LeBlanc, two of the producers involved with Pretty Hate Machine, which also appeared on the single. Reznor has also stated in interviews that the record label called Pretty Hate Machine a "complete abortion" and paid little attention to Nine Inch Nails until the band started getting popular.
While NIN was touring both with Lollapalooza and other bands, relations between Reznor and TVT Records got much worse; TVT had released a ten song EP in the USA for Head Like A Hole which was actually a few minutes longer in length than Pretty Hate Machine. Reznor claimed that he should have received more royalties from the sales of Head Like a Hole because, according to contract, he should have received payment as though it was an album, not an EP; TVT disagreed. Also working to break down this relationship was TVT's restrictive attitude toward NIN; Reznor wanted more freedom with what he could do with Nine Inch Nails but TVT wanted him to make a specific sound and assign him producers (a problem other bands have also had with the company). Reznor countinued to tour to bring in money without having to make another album for TVT and recorded his next album, Broken, in secret with the personal funds he raised during the first Lollapalooza. He was also going to use that money to get a lawyer that would get him off the label ("I decided to leave the label at any cost, if that was the end of my career then that was the end of my career."). He eventually left TVT but the battles took up precious time which, along with touring, caused a long lapse in time between recordings.
Finally, in 1992, Reznor and TVT reached an agreement that allowed NIN to move to a different record label while a small amount made from NIN sales would still go to TVT Records. Reznor signed with Interscope Records, which agreed to give him complete artistic freedom and his own record company within Interscope: Nothing Records.
TVT References in Broken
Evidence of the dispute can be seen in the press sheet for Broken, as well as subtle jabs in the credits ("No thanks: You know who you fucking are. The slave thinks he is released from bondage only to find a stronger set of chains."). In the music video for "Gave Up," the words "Fuck You Steve" appear on a computer monitor, referring to Steve Gottlieb of TVT Records. The words "Eat your heart out Steve" can also be heard in the beginning of "Physical".
TVT References on Remastered Pretty Hate Machine
On the remastered version of Pretty Hate Machine, which NIN released in December 2010, the words "fuck you. steve gottleib and tvt" appear before the words "thank you. chris verenna, bart koster, ross rosen, michael patterson, bicycle"
On June 23, 2008 washingtonpost.com reported that "The Orchard, the digital music label, has bought out TVT Records after a New York bankruptcy court declared its bid the winner on Thursday."