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Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson discussed the massive impact the internet and filesharing had on the music industry, telling Globo News during a recent interview.
“The music industry exploited its customers. The record companies were making a lot of money for not doing very much.
“They believed the downloading would just disappear. But it didn’t, and they didn’t do anything about it. They didn’t see downloading as being a great way to access their fans, their customers, if you like.
“But bands did – the bands were way ahead of the record companies. Brazil, for example, had one of the youngest audiences of any country in the world,. And consequently, they had a huge uptake on internet activity.
“So, for a band like Iron Maiden, who, we embraced the internet very early on, we were making contact with people in Brazil directly. And that was great for us. But the record companies failed to understand that because they were too arrogant, they were too old, they were too slow.”
“The result of Napster and things like that – even though downloading is now kind of mainstream – Napster destroyed the concept of music having any value, which is terrible.
“I think the guy [who started Napster] should be locked up, and maybe he has been – he deserves to be.
“It was an act of pure selfish destruction. And what he did was he used the enthusiasm of the audience… Because the audience is not guilty – they could get all this great music for free. Why wouldn’t they do that? They didn’t realize that what they were doing was destroying an entire culture.
“For a band like us, actually we still make records, but we pretty much accept that we don’t really make hardly any money out of making a record. We still do it because we have to, because we love it and we have to do new music.
“But the great thing with us is we can tour and make money by playing live. Other bands, bands who are coming up doing great music, they don’t get that luxury. And it’s hard to see where a whole generation of musicians is gonna come from now. People who are brilliant musicians don’t get paid for doing amazing jobs.
“I get paid when they sell a copy of my book. The difference is, I took two-and-a-half months to write this book, and I get paid a royalty, and, actually, it’s very reasonable, it’s very fair.
“If this book was a record and I took two and a half months to make it, I would have to give it away, because people will pay for a book, but they won’t pay for an album. That is really sad and it’s wrong.
“Now, I don’t know where we’re gonna get to in the future. It’s possible that the digital downloading world will start to charge a little bit more money and artists will get paid a little bit more.
“When you consider that most people, when they sit down and listen to an album, they might drink a pint of beer or have a can of an energy drink or something else like that. So they’ll pay the price of a can of energy drink, but they won’t pay the price for the album. And it’s sad.
“I think everybody needs to be educated about the fact that music has real value and musicians have real value; they spent years working on their craft to entertain people.”
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