COREY TAYLOR Doesn't Think He Will Ever Sell Rights To His Songs

June 18, 2023

SLIPKNOT frontman Corey Taylor says that he doesn't ever foresee himself selling the publishing rights to the songs he has written with his various projects over the past couple of decades.

Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks and Neil Young are some of the iconic musicians who have recently sold off substantial rights to their music, whether it's just for publishing or the original recordings, known as masters. Investors, major music companies and private equity firms have poured billions of dollars into buying song catalogs, believing that the rise of streaming and growing music revenues will make song rights acquisitions highly lucrative in the long term as they can be exploited for up to 70 years after a musician's death.

When musicians sell their songwriting catalogs, they take a lump sum now, rather than counting on royalties from their music on whatever platform might be most popular in a few decades.

In a new interview with Belgium's Graspop Metal Meeting festival, Taylor was asked if he thinks he will ever be able to sell the rights to his catalog. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I still own all my publishing, yeah. Absolutely. Yeah… I've had offers in the past [to sell it], and I've been, like, 'Nah. Nah. We're good.' Because, to be honest, I'm still writing. I'm still modern in a way. I'm still kind of looking towards the future. My releases still do really, really well. So I'm still building that publishing up."

He continued: "I don't think there'll ever come a day when I'll sell it because it's just such a great thing that I can then pass on to my family that can help take care of my family if, God forbid, something happens to me. And to me, it's also a sign of the accomplishments — over 20 years of solid songwriting, solid production, solid publishing. And it's reflected in the fact that I can come back here [to Graspop Metal Meeting] with STONE SOUR or my solo thing or with SLIPKNOT tonight, do a completely different show, and every song would still hit like that. So it's something I'm really, really proud of."

Two years ago, KISS frontman Paul Stanley told Ultimate Classic Rock that the idea of older musicians selling their publishing rights in multimillion bundle deals makes perfect sense to him. "As far as I know, we only get one trip on this earth, and you can't take it with you, so I totally get it," he said. "If there's money to be had and it's going to make your life better, then why not? It's a different business model, but it makes total sense... At some point in your career, you look at what you've created and what it's worth. Artists do that; it's what painting's about. You don't stash your artwork — you sell it."

Earlier this month, Dee Snider spoke about his decision to sell his Snidest Music music publishing catalog of 69 songs — including the classic TWISTED SISTER rock anthems "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock" — to Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) in 2015. Regarding why he chose to sell his publishing catalog, Dee told the "New Theory Podcast": "It's math. And I was told there'd be no math [laughs] in rock and roll… But when you are getting your royalty checks every year, and they're big — I'm in the 50-percent tax bracket between state [and federal taxes] — so they're chopping off 50 percent. But capital gains on a sale of property is, like, 15, 20 percent. So if you can — they call it multiples. They give you 10 years' worth of royalties in advance, or whatever that number is. When you do the math, you look at it and you go, 'Okay, I'm gonna save 30 percent on taxes.' It's not even guaranteed that 10 years from now… I believe these songs will still have value. They're taking a chance. And I can take this chunk of change and I can invest it and secure it and make it my retirement fund, which I did. So it goes from being a thing that comes in and you're getting half of it taken away by the government every six months to a thing, guaranteed, 'Okay, I know I can work with this.' So a lot of people are doing it for just that reason."

Less than two years ago, Dylan sold the rights to all of his recorded music since 1962 to Sony Music Entertainment for a reported $200 million. Dylan had previously sold the songwriting portion of his catalog — which include music and lyrics — to Universal Music Publishing Group for a reported $300 million. In 2021, Nicks sold her portion of publishing rights to her songs to Primary Wave for a reported $100 million. That same year, Springsteen reportedly sold his catalog to Sony for more than $500 million.

"A lot of the artists that are selling their catalogs are getting to a point in their lives where they are planning their estates, sort of planning for the future and they are at a point in their lives where it makes sense to sell their music to provide for their families," Hannah Karp, editorial director at Billboard, told CNN in January 2022.

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