SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR singer Corey Taylor believes that record labels are continuing to lose the digital music battle or piracy war because they "can't catch up with the technology."
Digital music sales are continuing to fall as the music business inches closer to an access-over-ownership model. Sales of digital albums fell 9 percent in 2014 to 117.6 million, while songs dropped 12 percent to 1.26 billion, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Meanwhile, there was a 54 percent growth in on-demand streams of audio and video music-related content. (Total streams were up from 106 billion in 2013 to 164 billion in 2014.)
Millennials are among the biggest adopters of this ever-growing trend. They don't care as much about owning everything, as long as they can obtain these things when they need them.
During an appearance on a recent edition of VH1 Classic "That Metal Show" co-host Eddie Trunk's podcast, "Eddie Trunk Podcast", Taylor spoke about kids' preference for having access to items rather than owning them. He said: "People have been doing for a while on YouTube. Like, they would pull up YouTube on their phone and just listen to it there. 'Cause everybody puts the official video up there, or there's the lyric video, so you don't need to necessarily watch the video to hear it."
He continued: "For me, it's an interesting dichotomy. Because, 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."
According to Taylor, rejecting the streaming business model has been a losing battle for the labels even if fighting for higher royalties from streaming services is noble. However, hoping the likes of Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music all just die so we could return to the age of $18 CDs is simply not realistic.
"It's funny, 'cause I look at it like chasing a serial killer, basically," Corey said. "It's, like, you're constantly trying to get ahead of them, following the evidence of what's going to happen next, so you can stop it. The labels have kind of started doing that — they're trying to see where it's going to head — but because the technology's so frenetic, you can't really get ahead of it. So you've got people like me… And I'm very fortunate — I kind of established myself before any of that happened. I mean, we were the last generation… We got grandfathered in, as I like to say."
Corey went on to say that being on radio and selling millions of records is not as important to him as it used to be. "To me, [SLIPKNOT is] a band that… We just hope people know the music. Because we're always gonna go out and tour for a year and a half. We're all about the touring, we're all about putting the art into the video. We love putting the art together for the album, but now it doesn't necessarily have to be the end-all, be-all. You want people to be at the show and feel that emotion. Because there's still nothing like getting that pop from the audience when they know the tune. Twenty thousand people losing their minds — there's no way to download that, there's no way to stream that. It's just something you have to experience. And I think until that dies, I think they'll just be chasing its tail."
SLIPKNOT's new album, ".5: The Gray Chapter", sold around 132,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 1 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD arrived in stores on October 21, 2014 via Roadrunner.
Photo by: Chris Skiles @ctskiles