In a recent interview with Rock Feed, SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR singer Corey Taylor was asked what musicians can do to better facilitate opportunities for higher royalty rates for artists from music-streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. He responded: “I’ll tell you what they can do; they can start by all of them banding together and pushing the streaming services to stop appealing the legislation that’s already been put in place to pay us better. There’s a reason that TOOL waited as long as they did to put their stuff up on streaming services, ’cause they knew they weren’t gonna be compensated for something that they worked their asses off for. To me, it smells of two things, with TOOL: a) it’s perfect timing, because they have a new album coming out; and b) they probably worked out a deal with their label to make sure that they got a piece of the money that the label’s automatically going to get because of the money that’s being generated from streaming.
He continued: “That’s what people don’t understand. The difference between streaming and radio is you make money off radio because of the publishing that’s involved. With streaming, there really is no publishing that is promised. That money goes directly to — and technically it’s mechanicals — goes directly to the label. So the label is making huge amounts of money. And they are not contractually bound to pay us for that, because of what they call ‘new technology.’ And unless you have been able to renegotiate your contracts in a way that makes it viable for you — which we haven’t; which a lot of people haven’t, because you can’t keep up with the technology. Unless you are able to adapt with that — and legally, a lot of labels won’t let you do that — you get screwed. So from a publishing standpoint, the only way for us to make money, like that, off of the streaming is for that legislation to actually be signed into law. Which the fact that they are appealing it — most of them are, anyway — is just a smack in the face.”
Taylor added: “We don’t have a problem with streaming. We don’t have a problem with people listening to our music. What we have a problem with is these streaming services basically treating it like we owe them, which is not the way it should be.”
According to Corey, the vast majority of artists don’t own their masters (original or master recordings before the revenue split is calculated between involved groups) — the record labels do — which has affected their bottom line greatly.
“It’s a very occurrence [that a group will own its masters],” he said. “I can think of maybe three bands that have been able to do that. METALLICA is one. MÖTLEY [CRÜE] is the other. I’m not sure about AC/DC. But I know there are a handful of bands that actually own the masters and the rights for them. But we are talking about bands that not only own their masters, they also own the label that they release stuff out of. METALLICA has Blackened; MÖTLEY has Motley Records. It’s a very small class or group. You have to be done with your contracts — the original that you signed in the first place — and ready to go on to an independent basis to be able to do anything like that. And for bands like us, and probably a million other bands out there, you just simply don’t have the money to do it.”
This past January, the Copyright Royalty Board ruled the royalties songwriters receive from on-demand subscription streaming would jump 44 percent over the next five years. Spotify, Google, Pandora and Amazon — four of the major U.S. streaming services — later appealed the ruling, saying that it “harms music licensees and copyright owners.”
Back in 2015, Taylor said that record labels were continuing to lose the digital music battle or piracy war because they couldn’t “catch up with the technology.” He said during an appearance on the “Eddie Trunk Podcast”: “On one hand, you’ve got people who are streaming, but then they use that to decide whether or not they wanna buy the album, as opposed to illegal downloading. But then there’s the other side of it where people are kind of using it as, basically, satellite radio, where it’s, like, ‘I’m just gonna listen to this.’ But people still pay a subscription for it. So, in one way or another, the economy is still working. It’s just that… We can’t catch up with the technology; that’s the problem. There’s so many innovations that the powers that be can’t figure out… they can’t get ahead of it.”
SLIPKNOT‘s sixth album, “We Are Not Your Kind”, was released on August 9 via Roadrunner Records.