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Corey Taylor Is Taking Aim At Streaming Service Royalties: “It’s Insane… Something Has To Change”

Brii Jamieson
Brii Jamieson 17 January 2020 at 10.07

"Until the artist is paid fairly, it is going to be a constant fucking battle" - Corey Taylor

It's no secret that the money artists are making from the streaming of their music is minimal. We're talking fractions of cents, not dollars here. 

In an interview this week, Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor has taken aim at the exploitative royalty rates of streaming services - and he's been refreshingly candid about exactly how much bands are making from the biggest streaming platforms.

When asked by the Irish Times whether a successful band like Slipknot could survive on their royalties alone, Corey shared, "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 Modernization 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."

He continued, "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."

So what exactly does Slipknot make off streaming services then? "The lowest rate is YouTube," Corey shared. "A million streams on YouTube is 0.04 percent 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 make 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."

Awful. For context, let's look at Slipknot's video for 'Unsainted', which was released roughly eight months ago. It's so far been watched 63 million times on YouTube. 

With record labels taking an average of 80% of streaming royalties, and if for ease of the model we split the royalties evenly between the nine members of Slipknot - that sees each member walking away with a $560 payout from YouTube royalties from 'Unsainted', from eight months worth of streaming.

Slipknot are currently on a massive UK and European arena tour. Check out the remaining dates below:


17 - NEWCASTLE Utilita Arena
18 - GLASGOW The SSE Hydro
20 - SHEFFIELD Flydsa Arena
21 - NOTTINGHAM Motorpoint Arena
22 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena
24 - BIRMINGHAM Birmingham Arena
25 - LONDON The O2
28 - AMSTERDAM Ziggo Dome
29 - FRANKFURT Festhalle
30 - PARIS Accor Hotels Arena


01 - LUXEMBOURG Rockhal
02 - LYON Halle Tony Garnier
04 - BUDAPEST Sport Arena
06 - LODZ Atlas Arena
08 - STUTTGART Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle
09 - MUNICH Olympiahalle
11 - MILAN Mediolanum Forum
12 - ZURICH Hallenstadion
14 - VIENNA Stadthalle
16 - HAMBURG Barclaycard Arena
17 - BERLIN Mercedez-Benz Arena
18 - DORTMUND Westfallenhalle
20 - COPENHAGEN Royal Arena
21 - STOCKHOLM Ericsson Globe
22 - OSLO Telenor Arena
24 - HELSINKI Hartwall Arena

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