Slash Says Streaming Is ‘Definitely Not Doing Any Favors for the Actual Artists’

Slash Says Streaming Is 'Definitely Not Doing Any Favors for the Actual Artists'
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Slash Says Streaming Is 'Definitely Not Doing Any Favors for the Actual Artists'
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Photo of Slash by Raph_PH (CC BY 2.0)

Legendary Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash recently gave an interview in which he decried how royalty payments have gotten worse because of music streaming, echoing recent comments from cellist Zoe Keating.

In the interview, which was transcribed by Alternative Nation, Slash — whose real name is Saul Hudson — said, “This is a longer story than we have time for, but the whole streaming thing — if you remember in the late 90s, early millennium or whenever it was, when everyone was doing the file sharing thing, the internet basically killed the music industry. So now we’ve basically come out of it with these streaming services, but they don’t pay anywhere near the royalties that buying a CD or record pays.”

He went on to say that music streaming has “definitely hurt the music business in a big way. It’s easier for the customers, but it’s definitely not doing any favors for the actual artists.”

Slash also discussed during the interview how he found singer Myles Kennedy to front his band the Conspirators.

He said, “I jam a lot, and you meet people, I do a lot of sessions, and you meet people, and you remember people that you play with that you feel really comfortable playing with, or you thought were really good. I’ve been doing this a long time, so I know a lot of musicians.”

He added that Kennedy sang on his first solo record and was so amazing that “we ended up doing two songs on that record. Then I was like, ‘I have to do a tour to support this record, and I can’t bring all of these different singers on the road with me, would you like to do it?’ Because I knew that he had the type of range that he could do all of that different material, and then also Velvet Revolver, Guns N’ Roses, and Snakepit songs.”

11 Responses

  1. BAC

    Slash’s solo recordings get around 220,000 streams a day on Spotify. At the Zoe Keating average rate of .0037 per stream, he’s earning around $810 a day, or about $300,000 in streaming revenue. Add another $60,000 or so a year in mechanical and publishing off the sound recording. Spotify has 36% of worldwide streaming subscribers, so a fair guess is that solo Slash is earning about a million dollars a year from streaming services.

    Keep in mind that this is before record contracts, label advances, label creative accounting, agents, lawyers, and more lawyers. This doesn’t include money earned in sales, licensing, touring, and other uses.

    Velvet Revolver recordings get around 113,000 streams a day on Spotify, but that money is split at least 5 ways. Factoring everything worldwide and across services like above, Slash is probably earning about $100,000 a year from Velvet Revolver recordings just from streaming services before the contracts, lawyers, etc.

    Guns ‘n Roses gets around 2,800,000 streams a day on Spotify. That’s appx $10,360 a day, or over $14 million a year worldwide across all streaming platforms and related mechanical and publishing royalties. Who knows what cut of that Slash gets?

    Slash isn’t hurting, especially with that Not In My Lifetime tour by GnR, but I’d love to see his contracts and statements for the truth.

    • Jon

      You don’t actually know this BAC, you don’t know the numbers- are you the bands’ accountant? This is all speculation, so how can you say anything about the status of another persons’ business and why are you writing about it like you are the expert on the topic or trying to quantify what they deserve or are entitled to earn as a successful business? Streaming doesn’t benefit artists. This is echoed everywhere throughout the abysmal state of the industry.

  2. Johnny

    The music fans need to stop judging the business of music by how well the 0.1% successful musicians are doing. They need to look at the business from the perspective of the other 99.9% who are mostly losing money making new music. Sadly people read about Taylor Swift and others who do well in this new music business and think that all the musicians are like her. She too is in the 0.1% of musicians promoted by the big record companies. I wish DMN would dedicate one whole year to focusing on the 99.9% of musicians who are struggling and living in poverty. Slash is in good shape financially but remember most of the older musicians are now spending most of their time on the road. The guys in Toto told me that they have gone from a 90% recording band, 10% touring, down to 10% recording band, 90% touring band. The quality of music suffers as a result. And as you know many older bands (Professional musicians) have stopped recording new albums altogether. Plus adding an orchestra, choir or even a great sax solo to a song is no longer affordable. This again is all about QUALITY OF MUSIC. Try making Sgt. Pepper on a streaming budget! Metallica tried to help educate the music fans before but look what happened to them!

    • BAC

      Johnny – while I am enjoying DMN’s ongoing muckraking about the mechanical collective, their never-ending trashing of Spotify and streaming services in general makes no sense.

      It’s always the same thing. They profile an indie like Zoe Keating, who has released almost nothing new in the past decade, and use her as the poster girl for the “poor artist”. I actually believe Zoe Keating’s numbers. They look real. But she is not a good example due to her lack of recent output. Or they profile some rich old-timer like Slash who could never provide his contracts and accounting statements. If Slash isn’t getting paid what he thinks he should be paid, then the problem is somewhere other than what Spotify is sending his record company and managers.

      You never hear rappers and hip hop artists complaining about Spotify or streaming. Why is that? Because they know not to sign lousy contracts. They don’t have to do that anymore. They network. They diversify what they offer to fans. They build their brands. They release something new every month or two to keep fans happy and aware. Streaming is just a piece of their pie. They don’t look back on the alleged “golden era” of the record industry of vinyl and CDs with any love because they know it was all BS. Look at all the early rappers who got ripped off. Their stories are endless.

      Every time somebody shows up in the comments here complaining about Spotify or the streaming pay-out, I’ll be there asking them what they think Spotify should be paying out. How much should they be paying artists? How much should subscribers be charged every month to make that happen? How would that new price affect the company’s viability given the worldwide competition? These people never have an answer for these important questions. All they want to do is complain. They’re malcontents. They want stuff handed to them. That’s not how it works.

      • Not BAC

        It’s time that BAC revealed himself. He presents himself as an expert and I agree. He’s an expert at rooting for the favorites. We all know people like this. They cowardly hide in the corner while they dream about being a big shot. It’s classic psychological projection. If he simply offered his foolish opinions it wouldn’t be a problem. But when he acts like he knows the act’s accounting he’s over the line.

  3. Johnny

    BAC, are you a Professional (working) musician? The guy who started Spotify comes from a Torrent background. He was a part of the new Platforms who provided stolen music to the ‘fans’. It was hard to compete with ‘stolen’ and all that was left after Napster was advertising revenues. That is why the Record companies did a deal with Mr. Ek so they could retain something with Spotify as opposed to nothing with the illegal sites. Of course it pays out so little that between 50 and 60% of Pros have quit the business. Maybe you should go talk to these people or owners of all the Recording studios across the county who had to close down or go bankrupt. Oh and some Rappers recently stole one of my songs (Loop) in Brazil and had a huge hit with it. I have yet to receive one dollar from the band (nice guys!)

    • BAC

      Johnny, yes I’m a recording artist. Yes, I earn a living from it. I know people who worked in recording studios in the 80s / 90s / 00s. Most studios closed down because people bought computers and learned Pro Tools, Ableton, FL Studio, Logic, Cakewalk, Cubase, etc. It created real democratization so anybody can make music. Now we can distribute worldwide, easily and cheaply. It’s a wonderful time to be a recording artist if you make stuff that people want to hear. My last three years have been the best ever, and that’s all thanks to streaming, largely Spotify.

      If musicians can’t handle it because they don’t release often or don’t know how to promote it these days, then they should quit. Give up. Don’t try. Expensive recording studios, lousy record contracts, and the “good old days” that were never there aren’t coming back.

  4. D.

    Imo streaming can bring more money long term, more than fans would pay for a one time digital download or a physical sale. but short term its just pennies.
    I dont know how the industry lets spotify get away with 30% and let tracks play for 30 seconds without charging for royalties.

    • D.

      They claim monetized youtube videos because youtubers use 10 seconds of a track. But all the streams are basically monetized plays as well.

  5. Make Me A Bird

    I am STILL not receiving my real numbers and still finding my music listed in other profiles under my album image and name. 50cents for one play?



    The price they pay is also a lie Indies get paid a fraction of this
    And there are thousands of unsigned acts being pilfered fraction of pennies millions.

    if the recording industry knew how much money streaming services were stealing from their acts and Indies they would have made even more money than they did last year

    And those convenient licencing agreements that flutter in for the acts of those streaming services to use my music ( that supposedly only got one stream) licences that now all of a sudden I can’t reject for what ever reason Harry Fox says I have not seen a penny from either.

    All the new music New Acts as are being absolutely brutally gutted and it’s all ok as long as the streaming giants and You Tube are keeping us suppressed and the signed acts safe.

    Look round you…where are the indilendents? We should be pouring out new genres and talents all around. All the industry signed acts are INDUSTRY PLANTS!!!

    All plants have been well exposed and documented on You Tube not that you need an investigation New social media accounts, highly stylized photos?

    Your all not that dumb!

    Music is not a free market

    Wake Up