Even when you’re Avenged Sevenfold, record sales don’t pay the bills. In a new interview A7X guitarist Synyster Gates that touring is his band's main source of income.

Avenged Sevenfold are one of the few metal bands to score gold and platinum albums during the post-Napster era. Although they have accumulated a few billion plays in the streaming era, via YouTube and Spotify, some fans may imagine giant royalty checks flying in, but this isn’t the case. Spotify only pays artists between $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream and YouTube can pay as little as $0.0006 per view.

Even for a billion-play band like Avenged Sevenfold, the results don’t amount to chump change, and it’s not enough to keep the giant band afloat. “[Playing live is] 99.9 percent of it for us,” Gates tells WSOU 89.5 FM. “Fortunately, you can't download a shirt or live experience. I'm sure that will happen soon. Until it does, we still have a job and we enjoy those things. We're very lucky to be able to play big, successful shows and we don't take it for granted and we appreciate the fans for that."

He continues, "I just think rock music doesn't stream as much as other music, so I think hip-hop and pop is a lot more lucrative for streaming services. I personally don't hate on them for doing smart business. It hasn't affected us. Obviously, we could make more money off of streams than other platforms, but it's our job to write great music that hopefully brings a broader audience to those platforms. I think it will turn around. I really do. I don't think it's a numbers issue — it's a demographic. Fortunately for us, our audience still buys CDs and [downloads songs on] iTunes. They're kind of newcomers to the monthly subscription-based streaming platforms. Once those things turn around and become ubiquitous in all cultures, you'll see those things turn around and it will be more profitable for younger artists. We're happy, we're good, but the up-and-comer metal band definitely has it a lot tougher than we ever did."

Avenged Sevenfold recently released the new cut “Mad Hatter,” which is featured in the new Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 game. After a bit of backlash on the song’s mix, Avenged released a remixed version just a few days later.

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