DEE SNIDER on why he sold his catalog: 'it's math'
During an appearance on the “New Theory Podcast”, 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.
The songs in the catalog have been featured in numerous national commercials, films, television and the Broadway musical “Rock Of Ages”, which had a three-year residency at the Venetian and then a one-year residency at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas until January 2017.
Regarding why he chose to sell his publishing catalog, Dee said: “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.”
Snider went on to say that “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” are “the two most licensed songs of the ’80s. They’re like where ‘We Are The Champions’ and ‘We Will Rock You’ were in the ’70s,” he explained. “At first, there was a lull after the demise of the band and when grunge came in. But all of a sudden, I guess it was in the mid-to-late 1990s, this retro thing started, and there was this resurgence. And so we started getting this licensing. And that was great. And it just kept going. But now the song has transcended, particularly ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’, and it’s become… It’s almost a folk song. Not like it’s acoustic, but folk in the sense that it just is a staple. And so it’s now taken a life of its own, so it’s not even a retro thing anymore. It just keeps popping up. So you get a movie like ‘Ready Player One’, Steven Spielberg‘s movie, and there it is in all its glory. I’m, like, ‘Thank you, God.'”
“We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “Stay Hungry” were the biggest hit single and album, respectively, in TWISTED SISTER‘s career. Snider said “We’re Not Gonna Take It” is now part of America’s cultural fabric. “(It has proven) itself to be a folk song,” he said. “It was just in that Steven Spielberg movie, ‘Ready Player One’; it was the finale of that movie. Here, all these years later, the big finale of Steven Spielberg‘s big movie, and the guys holds up a boombox, and the entire battle scene is set to ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’.”
In a 2018 interview with SiriusXM‘s Eddie Trunk, Snider said that he is now glad he didn’t got an offer for the catalog a couple of decades ago when he really needed the money. “I bottomed out in the ’90s; I was dead broke,” he said. “If I had been made an offer for anything, for nothing, I would have sold. (But) there was zero interest — zero. (That stuff was thought of as) buried and over. No one saw it coming back. Metal was a dirty word. You couldn’t touch my catalog with a 10-foot pole — thankfully, because I would have (done it for) pennies (on the dollar). Because I was broke.”
“We’re Not Gonna Take It” has been used in commercials for hotel chain Extended Stay America, Claritin, Walmart, Stanley Steamer and Yaz birth control.
The song’s lyrics say in part “Oh you’re so condescending/Your gall is never ending/We don’t want nothin’/Not a thing from you.”
“We’re Not Gonna Take It” was first released as a single (with B-side song “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll”) on April 27, 1984. The “Stay Hungry” album was released two weeks later, on May 10, 1984. The single made #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, making it TWISTED SISTER‘s only Top 40 single, and the song was ranked #47 on VH1‘s “100 Greatest ’80s Songs”.
“We’re Not Gonna Take It” was written solely by Snider. As influences for the song, he previously cited the glam rock band SLADE, the punk band SEX PISTOLS, and the Christmas carol “O Come, All Ye Faithful”.