MASTODON's Bill Kelliher On Being In A Major Band: "Everyone Has Their Hand In Your Damn Pocket"
It's easy to picture someone like Bill Kelliher of Mastodon being pretty well off. Mastodon does some major tours and sells pretty well, but Kelliher says that is not at all the situation. In an interview with Let There Be Talk, Kelliher makes three separate points (all put together for ease of reading) bemoaning how advances work, why Spotify essentially screws even major artists like themselves, and why merchandise can be so damn expensive at a show.
"When it comes to us doing a record… The record company fronts you that money. This is how it work: they give you the money up front, they say, 'Here's $600,000, you're gonna make a record that's gonna cost $575,000.' So there's that money. You owe that money back to the record company and they own your music."
"I could live a thousand years and if Spotify played all day long, I'd maybe make a couple of thousand dollars, I don't know. It's very miniscule. The only way to make any money is to get out here on the road and tour, tour, tour constantly."
"A lot of people say, 'Why are your T-shirts $50?' Well, newsflash, the venues take up to 20-25-30% of that right off the top. So our $50 T-shirt, we're only getting $30. But then that $30 has to be split up between management, lawyers, taxes, everything. Plus everything. Tour buses, just to rent for a month is $60,000. It's ridiculous… everyone has their hand in your damn pocket when you're out here."
It's almost like being in a band is like a business and all these dudes need to make money so they can not be broke as hell.