Yes — no middleman at all. That’s why he can afford to offer a $5 option — because that is more money than he would receive from a record company.
To me, this is the perfect way to issue an online-only release — offer a free option, for part of the album, ridiculously cheap to download (where else can you get 36 tracks for 5 bucks?!?), a physical media option for only $10, and two crazy collector editions which are sure to please. Nine Inch Nails and Tool have always had respect for the consumer of their art, and it shows in the way that it is presented.
I have bought 3 online releases this way (not from iTunes). I purchased Radiohead’s latest album that way (off of the website, no record company involved – and it was done with a pay-what-you-want feature, so you could literally pay only $.01 for it), Saul Williams latest (a totally free option for the entire thing, or pay $5 for it) and this one. It really seems to be the perfect way to keep costs down on their end, while not totally screwing the customer in the process.
I love Trent. He’s the fucking man.