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Slipknot Guitarist Says the Band Has Never Made “a Penny” from Record Sales


Jim Root
This one’s a bit of a head-scratcher coming from the biggest band in metal this side of Metallica: in a recent interview with The Morning Call, Slipknot guitarist Jim Root made the following claim:

We don’t see a penny off of record sales and we never have.

How could this be? Slipknot have sold more than 5 million albums in the U.S. and 20 million worldwide.

Here are a few guesses as to how this could possibly be the case:

1) Root is exaggerating for hyperbole. He goes on to say that “For us it’s all about touring,” which is something we hear often from many bands, and I’m sure is true for Slipknot too: the fees Slipknot make to perform at arenas and festivals are surely gargantuan, and the band absolutely cleans up on merch. Compared to that money, what they get from incremental record sales revenue is basically nothing. And split up between nine members (now seven, but still), it’s even less than nothing.

2) Root has no idea what he’s talking about. I’m not privy to the exact setup of Slipknot’s business arrangement, but I’m guessing Root and all the other members just receive checks periodically from the band’s business manager, and I’m guessing those checks aren’t broken out into line items describing how much revenue came from which source. He sees those checks jump during touring cycles, and dwindle when the band is dormant — ergo, “We don’t see a penny off of record sales.”

3) Root personally doesn’t get anything from record sales, but other members do. Again, I’m not privy to how Slipknot’s business is set up, but perhaps the shares of the Slipknot, Inc. corporation are not equal and Root doesn’t get the same share other members do. This is obviously just conjecture.

4) Slipknot actually don’t earn anything from record sales. This seems highly unlikely given how many records they’ve sold, but maybe it really is the case. Record advances are notoriously hard to recoup, and I’d wager Slipknot are getting some pretty hefty advances at this point. Couple that with all the money Roadrunner is spending on promotion — music videos, photo shoots, advertising, radio promo, etc (all recoupable) — and it seems not entirely impossible that the band hasn’t recouped yet.

Nevertheless, don’t feel too sorry for Slipknot: they’re doing pretty well for themselves these days! I don’t think we’ll have to worry about Root begging for change any time soon, although if Slipknot are indeed not earning money on record sales that’s a most unfortunate situation.

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