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Corey Taylor Reveals If Slipknot Could Exist On Their Streaming Royalties Alone


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Slipknot/Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor remains critical of the historically low payouts streaming services have been paying to musicians and publishers over the years. It’s an issue he’s vented on in the past, arguing that the business models of streaming services have effectively been ‘pricing artists out of their careers.’ In a new interview with The Irish Times, he has once again spoken about about the the issue.

When asked if Slipknot could survive on their streaming sales royalties revenue alone, he replied:

“You could if the streaming system wasn’t set up the way it is. You are being paid less than pennies. In the United States they have passed the legislation [the Music Modernisation Act 2018] but it is being appealed. I am hoping that it will be struck down. If the streaming systems paid more online with how publishing in radio pays – people could make a living.

I have had friends of mine who have had to retire and they are popular bands because they can’t make a living. Mid-card bands and lower, it is hard for them. It almost pays better to play the local pub and do the door deal. You make more money doing that than making an album. Labels don’t take the same chances but they are taking the lion’s share of the money because of the way it is set up.

Until the artist is paid fairly, it is going to be a constant fucking battle. I saw this coming years ago. I haven’t got a problem with streaming. I have got a problem with how these streaming services rip off the artist and I’ll say that until the day I die.”

When asked what the going rate was for a million streams, Taylor offered:

“The lowest rate is YouTube. A million streams on YouTube is 0.04 per cent of a penny. On a million streams you get $400 and that’s just me doing shitty math in my head. People can’t live on that and there’s not a lot of people who get these numbers. The majority of this goes to the record label anyway.

The streaming services are not willing to pay the talents who write the songs and makes the music and yet they are sitting on billions of dollars. They are buying whole blocks of buildings and then taking over floors in there and yet they don’t want to pay the people who made the money for them. It’s insane. It’s tough all over in a lot of ways. Something has to change. I don’t know what that will be.”

Indeed, a 2018 report on streaming payouts done by digitalmusicnews.com on the matter that has since been updated to reflect 2019 numbers painted a bleak picture. According to their findings, YouTube are currently now thought to be paying out $0.00069 a stream. This would require 2,133,333 million plays to meet a U.S. monthly minimum wage of $,1472.

The aforementioned report found Spotify paying $0.00437 per stream, while Amazon were seen to pay $0.00402. Apple Music and Google Play Music pay out better at $0.00735 and $0.00676 respectively. Meanwhile, TIDAL and Napster boast the highest rates with Napster offering $0.01900 per stream and TIDAL paying out $0.01250 per stream.

As Taylor mentioned, the bulk of these payouts have been going to the record labels, generally in a bid to recoup on their advances and such. However, there have also been numerous grey areas with improperly identified mechanical license holders for the streams. In turn, this means that there have been multiple instances where some artists weren’t seeing anything at all for their streams.

The Music Modernization Act signed into U.S. law in October of 2018 aimed to alleviate many of these issues with a the establishment of a comprehensive music copyrights database to ensure all rightsholders were properly compensated.

It also included legislation to have the music streaming royalty rates for songwriters and music publishers raised by 44% per cent to narrow the gap between them and record labels. Spotify, Pandora, Amazon and Google went on to appeal the act, effectively tying it up in the courts for the time being.

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