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Piracy Offers Heavy Metal a New Business Model

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the run-to-the-dollar-bills dept.

Music 246

hessian writes "Despite being extensively pirated worldwide, Iron Maiden have managed to put themselves in the £10-20m for 2012. This means that despite the growing popularity of the band on social media, and the extensive and pervasive torrent downloading of the band's music, books and movies, the band is turning a profit. This is in defiance of the past business model, and the idea that piracy is killing music. In fact, piracy seems to be saving music in Iron Maiden's case. One reason for this may be metal itself. It has a fiercely loyal fanbase and a clear brand and identity. The audience identifies with the genre, which stands in contrast to genericized genres. It doggedly maintains its own identity and shuns outsiders. As a result, fans tend to identify more with their music, and place a higher value on purchasing it."

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246 comments

Maybe, but... (3, Interesting)

jones_supa (887896) | about 5 months ago | (#45568643)

...Iron Maiden had established a strong reputation and fan base before Internet piracy became a problem.

Re:Maybe, but... (5, Insightful)

scream at the sky (989144) | about 5 months ago | (#45568653)

So had Metallica...and we all know how that turned out for them.

Re:Maybe, but... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 5 months ago | (#45568667)

Fair point.

Re:Maybe, but... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45568777)

Metallica drove away a lot of their early fans with the black (and subsequent) album, migrating to a more, dare I say, "fleeting" audience. And I say this as someone who liked the black album.

Iron Maiden always stayed true to their original music. To their detractors, it means "it's always the same thing". Which it is (I hate myself for saying that ;) ). To their fans, it means even you started listening to it in the 80s you can pick up a new album or go to a concert and you know you'll enjoy it.

Another point is Iron Maiden always put on a massive effort in their live shows. You get an awful load of bang for your buck.

The upshot is a very loyal fanbase. Including myself since 1990.

Last thing, Iron Maiden owns their music and always have. Makes a big difference...

Re:Maybe, but... (4, Insightful)

dc29A (636871) | about 5 months ago | (#45568841)

Iron Maiden always stayed true to their original music. To their detractors, it means "it's always the same thing". Which it is (I hate myself for saying that ;) ).

I challenge anyone to listen to the first three Maiden albums, then to Somewhere in Time, then to Brave New World, then to Final Frontier and come back with a straight face telling that it's the same. Maiden had always followed a slow but changing path. Ditching the punkish sounds in NOTB to introducing synths in SIT and SSOASS to more orchestration in BNW to a more prog approach in AMOLAD and FF.

Re:Maybe, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569459)

I... oversimplified :(

You're right, of course, but every experimentation was followed by a tack back, and nothing really ever was "all new, all different". For every "Wasting love", there was a "Remember tomorrow" before and a "Journeyman" later. An neither is too wide off, say "The mercenary". Which is great :)

Contrast, to take an example that had mates back then throw the T-shirts out the window, "Seek and Destroy" or "For whom the bell tolls" and (you know this is coming) "Nothing else matters".

Re:Maybe, but... (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 5 months ago | (#45568717)

in millions and sold out stadion and festival sized gigs at 100 euros per ticket?

but.. one of these bands encouraged people to share their handheld recorder audio and video captures of their gigs and went as so far as to have a place at the gigs specificially for that. why? to drum up fanbase.

then the internet came and they got their dicks in a knot about people using electrons instead of snail mail.

iron maiden would be making plenty of cash either way though, with or without internet, I'd wager.

Re:Maybe, but... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45568823)

Metallica is perfect example of what 'selling out' gets you. However I think it goes deeper than that. They simply aren't the same people anymore, except for maybe Lars, he has always been a moron. Kirk no longer gives a fuck. James is all born again 'sober'. ...and Newstead finally had enough of their shit and left.

They really died after Justice for all.

Re:Maybe, but... (3, Interesting)

turgid (580780) | about 5 months ago | (#45569819)

They really died after Justice for all.

Indeed. That album contained their highest-quality material. I got into Metallica when that was their current album. The subsequent Black Album was an Emperor's New Clothes moment for me. I bought the CD when it came out and sold it about 6 weeks later...

Jason's bass work on that album is magnificent. I was learning bass myself in those days and bought the Cherry Lane ...And Justice for All bass transcription book. I practiced really hard for months and could just about do Blackened, One, the Frayed ends of Sanity and ...And Justice for All. It's a crying shame that Jason's bass is so quiet in the mix.

I'd pay money for another ...And Justice for All CD if it were remixed properly so that Jason's bass could be heard in full.

Jason rules. Mrs Turgid and I and a couple of friends went to see him at the 100 Club in London this summer. I won't pay to see Metallica, even though they've got Rob Trujillo on bass.

When Metallica play live it's always a race between Lars and James to see who can get to the end of the song first and it sucks. Music sounds so much more powerful when it's played in time.

Re:Maybe, but... (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 5 months ago | (#45568857)

Metallica also did everything they could to destroy that strong reputation (Load, Reload and especially St. Anger) and antagonize their fanbase. Even without piracy, they'd be having issues.

Iron Maiden had a bit of a slump in the late 90s (a lot of metal bands did around that time), but they've been going very strong since Brave New World. Can't really compare the two.

Re:Maybe, but... (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 5 months ago | (#45568877)

That's because Metallica are a bunch of whining undertalented primadonas. Metallica, the original Nickelback.

Re:Maybe, but... (2)

gtall (79522) | about 5 months ago | (#45569593)

I don't care for the rest of Nickelback, but their drummer is top-notch. Metallica's drummer tried out to become Dream Theater's new drummer after Mike Portnoy quite and then wanted back in. The rest of DT claimed Portnoy really nailed the audition but frankly, I cannot see him coming close to Portnoy. Now they have Mike Mangini and he's great.

Another old group still touring is Deep Purple. Jon Lord left and then died a bit later (not so long ago, in fact). And Ritchie Blackmore is playing Renaissance music with his wife, but DP is still a good strong band with Steve Morse on guitar....they should put Ian Gillan out to pasture though.

Re:Maybe, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569973)

Let's not descend into hyperbole. Metallica used to make some pretty decent music before its downward spiral. Nickelback, to he best of my knowledge, has never released anything worth listening to.

Re:Maybe, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569095)

What, they couldn't buy a 5th mantion and 27th ferrari each? Metallica is nothing more than a punch of a-holes whining how they can't make another 100million from the same shit they've already done. Fuck them

Re:Maybe, but... (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#45569323)

Metallica's first album couldn't get into stores. No one wanted to carry metal, no-one ever has. The only reason they got big was because their fans made bootlegs and traded them across the country. This got them gigs, and eventually there was so much buzz about them that stores had to carry them. This is continuing today, but rather than simply be destitute the first few years of your carer you can now start touring, making money from that and merchandize sales. Touring metal bands do VERY well. They are one of the few touring acts that still attracts medium sized audiences. The arena acts today pretty much only hit the major cities, so there's no one left for the "larger than a bar but not an arena" size places. But if they bring in metal bands they can be sure they'll get a crowd. Bluegrass is kind of exploding in the same way, they've taken some notes from the metal guys. You can tour, be on the lower end of the "Famous" scale and make enough money to live on. That's not so bad, and I think if you look at how much money musicians are making now as an entire group compared with before the internet it's probably a lot bigger number... it's just spread out over a lot more musicians. We're returning to how music has always been, and how it should be. Decent musicians making a decent living and fewer and fewer PR created megastars sucking up all the entertainment dollars.

Re:Maybe, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569697)

So had Metallica...and we all know how that turned out for them.

It helps when you don't attempt to become the Biggest Dick in the Universe (yes Lars, I'm talking to you) in an attempt to combat the "problem" of piracy.

Also, most hardcore fans consider everything past the Black album as commercialized crap, so there's that too.

Re:Maybe, but... (4, Funny)

Nyder (754090) | about 5 months ago | (#45569889)

So had Metallica...and we all know how that turned out for them.

Metallica cut their hair.

Then they went on a rampage against napster.

Then the quality of their music started to suck.

But the biggest problem? They cut their hair.

Rockers have long hair. Anything else is just posing.

Re:Maybe, but... (5, Informative)

dc29A (636871) | about 5 months ago | (#45568793)

I know it's anecdotal evidence, having seen Iron Maiden at least 15+ times live since the late 80s, one thing you notice today that on their live shows there are a huge number of young teenagers. Their shows are not filled with old fans like myself. So there is this new wave of Maiden fans that probably don't even know what it is like to buy a CD. They did establish a strong reputation, sure, but their fans are not only the old ones form the 80s.

Also, unlike other big 80s bands, they don't sue their fans for downloading. They also didn't hop on every possible trend in music, they kept true to their origins. They also didn't became born again christians who refuse to play at festivals because some 'satanic' band plays. They also didn't create drama. When members left or where fired, it wasn't publicized and criticized by other members.

Despite making some of the most memorable heavy metal music, Iron Maiden was always ran as a business, since their early days. And this focus allowed them to go through the download era without issues. They never had major video exposure on MTV (yes, back when there was music on that channel) so music downloading didn't really impact them.

Up the Irons!

Re:Maybe, but... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 5 months ago | (#45569117)

Yep. They played here last summer and people started queuing outside the venue the day before the concert.

Young people. Not old farts from the 1980s.

Whatever it is they're doing, they're doing it right.

Re:Maybe, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569499)

I know it's anecdotal evidence, having seen Iron Maiden at least 15+ times live since the late 80s, one thing you notice today that on their live shows there are a huge number of young teenagers. Their shows are not filled with old fans like myself.

Up the Irons!

Ha ha, I beg to differ. I just saw them. I'm 42. Sea of Baldness.

http://flic.kr/p/hZY17B [Flikr]

Re:Maybe, but... (1)

gtall (79522) | about 5 months ago | (#45569611)

Actually, Nicko McBrain did become a born again Christian about 1999. However, he doesn't find that incompatible with Iron Maiden.

Re:Maybe, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45568873)

You're missing the point. Piracy is good for music, and it's good for everyone. Parrot that party line or don't post around here.

Re:Maybe, but... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 5 months ago | (#45568905)

You're right, Slashdot is a pro-piracy place.

Re:Maybe, but... (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 5 months ago | (#45569145)

Hmm...that's an interesting point. You notice some places you go on the internet are very anti-piracy, some pro-piracy, some have this odd middle-ground where you find both views. Slashdot is actually in a strange place of being mostly that last one with a slant towards piracy.

One thing I've noticed though is that the bigger the forum, the more pro-piracy it is. Maybe this is true, maybe this isn't, I'd be interested in seeing data on what effect the size of the crowd has on whether or not the forum is pro-piracy.

Re:Maybe, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569321)

Slashdot is actually in a strange place of being mostly that last one with a slant towards piracy.

Do you ever see any anti-piracy posts that are modded up on Slashdot so they can be read without drilling down?

It almost never happens. And if it did, the opposing viewpoint or "refutation" in response would be modded up even higher. I think the young mods look over the entire forum and make sure it "looks right", i.e. is politically correct.

Re:Maybe, but... (4, Informative)

Travelsonic (870859) | about 5 months ago | (#45569541)

Do you ever see any anti-piracy posts that are modded up on Slashdot so they can be read without drilling down?

When the post is actually rational, does not involve assumptions, does not involve being hostile, does not involve taking people's words out of context? Yes. It's not often it is seen, however, because a lot of the posts flame people, take their words out of context, or just try to pass off opinion as fact without any citations... so no shit, they get modded down and responded to w/ hostility more often than not.

Re:Maybe, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45568935)

You're missing the point. Piracy is good for music, and it's good for everyone. Parrot that party line or don't post around here.

Did you know that Marcus Aurelius was actually a chicken? True story. Ask Professor Eddie Izzard.

Well, he said we was a pro. I just assumed he meant professor.

Re:Maybe, but... (1)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about 5 months ago | (#45568913)

...Iron Maiden had established a strong reputation and fan base before Internet piracy became a problem.

That's not really part of the argument, though - Maybe it should be, maybe it shouldn't be. Fact is, they have a strong brand that is valued by their fans.

Of course, you could always make a joke that the older fans don't actually understand the internet and its series of tubes.

Re:Maybe, but... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 5 months ago | (#45569127)

...Iron Maiden had established a strong reputation and fan base before Internet piracy became a problem.

So... how come most of the people I saw at the concert last year were youngsters? University student age.

Re: Maybe, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45570079)

Up th Irons!

Or their fans got older.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45568655)

and better paid and had less time to pirate when they can buy easily on line.

no (0)

dasacc22 (1830082) | about 5 months ago | (#45568671)

what a crockpot of gas. You mean there are people out there that identify with a brand (idolization) and want to give value to said brand over other "generics" that don't measure up? And this is found with, wait for it ... heavy metal fans.

I'm just going to hamper a guess and say idolization and acting on that is prevalent in any brand of music, and surely other areas of life.

Re:no (1)

TWX (665546) | about 5 months ago | (#45568847)

I like Maiden over other heavy metal in large part because Bruce Dickinson's singing is superb and the band is technically excellent in their musicianship. I can understand everything he's saying, and when one strips away the album art, the public controversies, and any of the 'myth' surrounding the group, one still has excellent music.

It's not a bunch of growling into the mic with uncoordinated thrash and a drummer with a double-bass pedal pounding out sixteenth notes for no good reason.

I've purchased three of their older albums in the past couple of years because of the music. The albums could have fallen into the, "it's like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black," realm and their music still stands on its own.

As to the nature of fans, there are plenty of follower-types that end up in one scene or another and really are just along for the ride. It happens in scifi-fantasy fandom, in sports, in gaming, in automotive enthusiasm, in the coffee shop scene, in the dance scene, everywhere. In music, many bands or acts realized that their bread and butter was in making music that the parents of teenagers hated , so that the teenagers would reactionarily buy it to spite their parents. That doesn't doesn't actually hold any bearing on how good or bad the music is though.

Re:no (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 months ago | (#45569527)

I've purchased three of their older albums in the past couple of years because of the music.

Just out of curiosity, which three?

Re:no (2)

TWX (665546) | about 5 months ago | (#45569799)

Number of the Beast, Live After Death, and the Best of the Beast complication album.

I like hearing how a band sounds live in judging how good a band is. I've only seen a handful of live shows, been impressed with some, not so much with others, and sometimes live show albums aren't so good, like AC/DC's from 1992, where they couldn't even get the bell for Hell's Bells timed right. Maiden's was pretty good, Dickinson hit most of the notes that he hits in the studio cuts but it's imperfect enough that it's obvious he's not lip-synching.

Re:no (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569129)

what a crockpot of gas. You mean there are people out there that identify with a brand (idolization) and want to give value to said brand over other "generics" that don't measure up? And this is found with, wait for it ... heavy metal fans.

I'm just going to hamper a guess and say idolization and acting on that is prevalent in any brand of music, and surely other areas of life.

You know why Iron Maiden has fans (old and new) ? Because they make good music.
Incredible isn't it. Good music sells. Always has, always will.

Re:no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569763)

I know I love Nickelback

**all** music fans not just metalheads (3, Interesting)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#45569379)

fans tend to identify more with their music, and place a higher value on purchasing it

this is so important but limiting the conversation to "hardcore" fans of any genre basically wipes out any progress we could make by applying this truth

it's not just metalheads, punks, rap fans, indie rock, EDM....or name the sub-genre...it's **anyone who loves music**

the industry makes a distinction between *active* and *passive* listeners....

*passive* listeners just want some white noise basically...they'll listen to whatever their peers listen to...they may have "opinions" when asked about what they like, but **in action** they really don't care

*active* listeners *know what they like* and *seek it out*....they have opinions based on action rather than social perception...they like what they like not b/c it makes them 'cool' but because they genuinely like the music

active listeners, music lovers of all kinds, and yes fuckin' metalheads....we **all** will **pay for music** from **artists we respect**

EVEN THOUGH IT IS AVAILABLE FOR FREE

this fact of altruism could ruin everthing the RIAA does in one fell swoop if we just all could rally behind the fact that **all music lovers will contribute to artists they love**

Re:**all** music fans not just metalheads (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 5 months ago | (#45569497)

I would contend that even a lot of 'music lovers' have opinions based on social perception. They like what is 'cool' and they attempt to be 'cool' in what music they listen to.

It might include rebelling against their parents by listening to music they know their parents wouldn't like. It's rarely a pure aesthetic choice.

no room for snobbery (0)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#45569539)

I would contend that even a lot of 'music lovers' have opinions based on social perception. They like what is 'cool' and they attempt to be 'cool' in what music they listen to.

no...see, that's the defining characteristic...persuing music b/c you **actually like it** is the thing

don't you get it?

whatever example you can think up, if the person likes the music **because they like how it sounds** then they are **active listeners**

that's it...no counterpoint...

Re:**all** music fans not just metalheads (0)

Nyder (754090) | about 5 months ago | (#45569915)

I am an active listener.

I do not pay for music.

I will NOT support the copyright cartels at all.

Plus I've never been an Iron Maiden fan. But then I've never really listened to their music.

Now I'm sort of curious. Do you think I'll pay for their albums?

Nope.

Re:no (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 5 months ago | (#45570061)

Depends on timescale. Generic bands/singers rarely last for long. Do you know of any still strong going fanbase for Spice Girls or Brittney Spears, to name a few? Pink Floyd, on the other hand...

Piracy as people think about it is an invention (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 5 months ago | (#45568679)

of the record labels. Before records, musicians made money by playing in live concerts. That's what musicians should do today, and "piracy" would cease to exist, along with the vampiristic record companies: live gigs would turn a profit, and free recordings (Youtube, MP3 and others) would be like film trailers, something to draw you to the live concerts.

Famously, the Grateful Dead encouraged people to record their concerts and saw nothing wrong with that, because 1/ every gig was different, and 2/ they considered their concerts to be where the interest, and the money, was.

Re:Piracy as people think about it is an invention (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45568785)

Yup. In particular, metal heads go to concerts, like religiously. So even if your fans pirate your music, they'll fight over the chance to see you live too.

Re:Piracy as people think about it is an invention (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 5 months ago | (#45568861)

of the record labels. Before records, musicians made money by playing in live concerts. That's what musicians should do today,

I agree, but what do you mean "should do", it's what they do do. Search for "$ARTIST_NAME tour dates" and you'll either find the option to buy tickets or see evidence of recent touring activity.

Re:Piracy as people think about it is an invention (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45568933)

Before records, musicians made money by playing in live concerts. That's what musicians should do today

As usual, Slashdotters are on their high horse when it comes to talking about OTHER PEOPLE should adapt to the changing times. When it's their careers and livelihoods at stake, e.g. H1Bs, mass IT layoffs and offshoring of tech jobs, then the government needs to step in to protect good-paying American jobs. C'mon, WTF are they waiting for??

"Before records"? That was long ago, well before the First World War. There was no computers or even an electronics industry back then, and most people worked on the farm, in a factory, or as a small craftsman. Maybe you should start 'adapting' by waking up at the crack of dawn seven days a week and heading out to the farm for twelve hours of manual labor.

The hard work of change is for others. Us? We sit here in Starbucks and post our precious insights.

Re:Piracy as people think about it is an invention (4, Insightful)

UPi (137083) | about 5 months ago | (#45568993)

Is it just me, or does the word "offer" in the article title sound biased?

"Piracy forces upon heavy metal a new business model" might be closer to the truth. At this point the fact is that the music industry must adjust its practices and find revenues outside the sale of physical media. They can turn to live tours, merchandise or whatever else, but calling this an "offer" is just as much a misnomer as "piracy".

Re:Piracy as people think about it is an invention (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#45569179)

Is it just me, or does the word "offer" in the article title sound biased?

"Piracy forces upon heavy metal a new business model" might be closer to the truth.

Wrong again. It's an old business model. Copyright forced a new business model upon the world. Copying is what we had before copyright. Granted, you couldn't copy a song, because there was no audio recording equipment, but copyright predates audio recording. If someone wrote something down, you were free to copy it if you could see it. Ideas could not be "stolen" until the invention of intellectual property. Before that, we just had ideas.

Re:Piracy as people think about it is an invention (1)

gtall (79522) | about 5 months ago | (#45569635)

If by music industry you mean "record companies", I don't think they can survive on tours because any decent band is going to keep the reins to themselves. There isn't enough easy money to skim off. Not so decent bands won't draw. Individual performers already are managed by sharks, they don't need music companies sponsoring their tours.

Re:Piracy as people think about it is an invention (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569071)

I never liked the sound of live concerts... If they only play live concerts there is no incentive for them to create good-quality studio recordings other than a demo to attract people to their show, they will keep most of their songs secret until the live event. So no more MP3 and we're back to the Mozart era, where you need to travel to hear his music, good luck if you like an artist from Europe or Asia.

I think the best solution is on-demand streaming, convenience and nice GUI. Where you register to a huge library of music like Pandora, Xbox Music, Google Music, etc... You pay maximum $10 per month and you can listen to anything. The artists put their songs and their album arts (for their identity) there and get a cut every time people listen to them, so it will depend on their popularity. The problem is that like video-games, there will be exclusives and country locks... That's why piracy will always be alive and well.

Reminds me of the tense conversation in Spinal Tap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45568685)

that led to the resurrection of the band:

"The album is #3 in Japan."

You Are Not Special (5, Insightful)

Dialecticus (1433989) | about 5 months ago | (#45568701)

The audience identifies with the genre, which stands in contrast to genericized genres.

I'm pretty sure that fans of any genre of music think that their genre is special and that all the other genres are homogenous and generic. This is not something special about heavy metal. To paraphrase Tyler Durden, heavy metal is not a beautiful or unique snowflake.

Re:You Are Not Special (1)

Jonah Hex (651948) | about 5 months ago | (#45568783)

Whovians, Browncoats, Trekkies, etc, etc, etc...... Yes people place value on actually buying things they are into, but they'll pirate the fuck out of it in order to watch it. *looks at my hard drive and bookshelf* Yep...

Re:You Are Not Special (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 months ago | (#45568925)

Not so sure. You don't see elaborately embroidered denim jackets with "Justin Timberland" on the them.

Re:You Are Not Special (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569119)

I've noticed that too, but I always assumed that was because Justin Timberlake's fans know how to spell his name.

Re:You Are Not Special (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569909)

The majority of Justin Timberland's fans can't even spell their own name.

Aninomus cowerd.

Re:You Are Not Special (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569015)

It certainly isn't unique to metal, but metal does have a certain barrier to entry and thus tends to have less casual listeners, so the effect is amplified.

Re:You Are Not Special (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 5 months ago | (#45569641)

Japan is the perfect example of an entire country utilizing a completely different business model.
First and foremost, "piracy" is deeply embedded into the cultural fabric of the country.
By way of example, in 2012, Japan had 3 albums & 3 singles go platinum and 8 albums & 8 singles go gold.

As a result, the entire music industry revolves around concerts and merchandise.
Albums are a footnote; a marketing tool, not a profit center.

Second, Japan is the perfect example of generic genres.
J-Pop groups are manufactured from start to finish and tightly controlled by corporate handlers.

It's no surprise that Iron Maiden is rolling in dough by focusing on concert tickets and t-shirts,
instead of obsessing about marketing campaigns and album sales.

Count me in (2)

gman003 (1693318) | about 5 months ago | (#45568745)

I've been an Iron Maiden fan for a while. I first got into them (and a bunch of other bands) by pirating basically everything they ever made.

I have been trying lately to make up for it, usually by buying merchandise (since many bands don't get anything from CD sales). I hadn't gotten around to Iron Maiden yet, but I'm looking at their store now and their merch prices seem extremely low given how huge of a band they are. Normally big-name bands charge like $50, sometimes even $100 for a simple t-shirt, but they're charging £10 to £15, which should come out to $20-25, not much more expensive than any printed t-shirt. Definitely buying some of them.

I do have to wonder who the hell is buying "The Trooper" golf balls, though.

LOL @ n00b (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 months ago | (#45569595)

I've been an Iron Maiden fan for a while. I first got into them (and a bunch of other bands) by pirating basically everything they ever made.

LOL. When I got into them piracy meant ignoring the "home taping is killing music" label on the inner sleeve, where they'd cunningly made the cassette into an skellington.

Piracy is good because someone else might pay (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45568763)

Another breathless story about how piracy is maybe good because it might somehow act as free advertising, wow this one is just totally different from the last 43, because this time it's heavy metal. I'm finally convinced, let's roll back the clock and turn napster back on.

Re:Piracy is good because someone else might pay (1)

znrt (2424692) | about 5 months ago | (#45569109)

Another breathless story about how piracy is maybe good because it might somehow act as free advertising, wow this one is just totally different from the last 43, because this time it's heavy metal. I'm finally convinced, let's roll back the clock and turn napster back on.

even before napster was shut down there were already quite a few serious studies demonstrating that p2p actually increases the sales of the few top titles (incidentally representing 90% of media business volume) while lightly decreasing visibility of the rest (representing at the time grossly 10% and thus screwed anyway). this is no news whatsoever and has nothing to do with iron maiden, of course. it's just hard fact and all what big media has been claiming all these years was nothing but pure bullshit. this is old news, the whole issue is so old it doesn't even matter any more, the business has already changed.

Re:Piracy is good because someone else might pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569615)

If I write a "breathless story" about how blue the sky is, it won't make the sky any less blue.

Re:Piracy is good because someone else might pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569727)

And with no evidence that they would have made less if their stuff wasn't being pirated. Funny how the mantra of "correlation does not equal causation" doesn't seem to have her apply when it comes to studies on piracy.

Iron maiden is always on tour (2)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#45568809)

That's how they make money
I doubt they care if anyone pirates their music since it sells concert tickets in huge soccer and Olympic stadiums

And they probably have enough money to finance their tours themselves instead of relying on loan from record companies and livenation

Not so new (2)

swillden (191260) | about 5 months ago | (#45568829)

It's been well understood in the music business for decades that different genres have different business models, and metal's has always been to use album sales as a way to promote concert attendance. It was rockers who first began giving performances in sports stadiums, because the nature of the music is quite amenable to being played over low-fidelity sound systems, especially because the sheer energy of a big crowd all rocking out far more than offsets any loss in audio quality. And even as stadium rock died out, hard rock and heavy metal bands still made the majority of their money by touring... concert tickets and merchandise, especially t-shirts.

So, while I think it's awesome that Maiden is continuing to make good money doing their thing (I'm a fan, though not hardcore), and that the Internet is even helping them execute their old business model with even greater efficiency, by allowing them to track their fan base through bittorrent statistics, it's not a new model at all. And I think there's a good argument to be made that it's a model that won't work as well for other genres, especially pop and other more "casual" genres. Which may not be such a big loss.

Snark aside, I have no doubt that pop stars will continue to be able to rake in big bucks even if the current model of selling copies of music vanishes entirely. Whether they get paid for touring, or for shilling products, or whatever else, if they can achieve widespread fame through their music, then there will be a way for them to make a living. IMO, the Internet makes the first part of that equation -- achieving widespread notoriety -- much easier. I look at some of my favorite YouTube acts, Lindsey Stirling and The Piano Guys, and I think the success they're achieving would have been impossible pre-Internet, and they've done it by essentially giving their music away for free in a model that's partially ad-supported, but mostly just about building notoriety which they can then exploit in other ways (currently, by selling albums, but other models of exploiting fame would work as well).

Don't all bands make (3, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 5 months ago | (#45568947)

the majority of their money touring? Last I heard unless you made it through your first few record deals with your popularity intact and could re-negotiate you weren't making anything on record sales. Heck, at times you were paying the studio to sell your records in the form of loan interest.

Re:Don't all bands make (5, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | about 5 months ago | (#45569231)

the majority of their money touring? Last I heard unless you made it through your first few record deals with your popularity intact and could re-negotiate you weren't making anything on record sales. Heck, at times you were paying the studio to sell your records in the form of loan interest.

No. The big pop acts make their money from record sales. Yes, it's true that early in their careers they tend to get a lower royalty rate than later on, but if their early albums are going multi-platinum, they make lots and lots from royalties.

(I should mention my source: I spent a while working for Universal Music Group, building a royalty calculation engine, and in the process talked extensively with several label account reps who'd been around for a long time. I spent lots of time with the guy who managed U2 for most of their career.)

The way the labels work is that for new bands they do give them with a moderately low royalty rate, meaning the band gets a fairly small percentage of each album's wholesale price. But that's not where they stick it to them. Where they stick it to them is in all of the other deductions and fees. Basically, every penny the label spends to promote the band is recorded and -- usually -- dramatically inflated. During the band's recording session, the label puts the band up in a swanky hotel (either owned or partially owned by the label, or with inflated prices and some kickbacks), provides a limo (owned by the label) to whisk them to and from, buys all their drinks and meals (and drugs and hookers), provides the sound studio (owned by the label) and engineers (employed by the label), etc., etc., etc., all at very inflated prices. Plus there's also all of the expenses around promotions, getting airplay, etc., and all of the touring expenses. Oh and typically there's also an advance on the royalties, cash paid to the band up front.

The labels tally up all of that stuff, with interest, and "recoup" it from the royalty payments that the band would otherwise be due. It's not uncommon for the recoupable expenses associated with an album to reach almost to seven figures. Combine that with the low-ish royalty rate and the band has to sell a lot of records, tapes or CDs to pay back what they "owe" before they ever see a dime. Most bands never do, because most bands don't reach the level of sales required.

There are some other tricks as well, such as "breakage". Back in the days when music was sold on shellac records (before nylon), it was common for a high percentage of records to break in transit. Since it was too hard to track what the actual percentage was, the labels just assumed a certain breakage percentage (10% IIRC) and deducted that from the retailer's price, and passed the deduction on to the artist, taking all of it out of the artist's royalties, not sharing the pain. When new technology came along, more durable nylon, and later very durable 8-track and cassette tapes and CDs, labels continued this practice, giving the retailers a free discount on the wholesale price and making the artists eat all of it. When questioned they say "oh, it's just a promotional discount, under the old name". And promotions are charged to the artist.

However, bands that really make it big do sell enough records to recoup, and start making big bucks on royalties. Later they get wealthy enough -- and smart enough -- that they don't take all of the extremely expensive handouts from the record labels. They have money so they don't need advances. They have their own cars and drivers and don't need limos. Maybe they use the label's studio and maybe they don't, but if they do they have lawyers and agents who negotiate more favorable terms. And they buy their own hookers and blow. So recoupment becomes less of an issue. And eventually they may even negotiate better royalty rates, though that's less common than you might think. The really big stars eventually just create their own labels and contract out distribution through existing label channels.

One unique variant I heard about while working at UMG is that Frank Sinatra used to just tell his label that he'd show up with a new record, recorded mixed, with cover art, etc., completely press-ready and he'd give it to them in exchange for a flat fee of $10M. And the label would happily buy it, knowing they would make several times that. But that's an extreme outlier.

Metal bands were always too niche to make their money from record sales. They have very loyal fans, certainly, but those fans constitute a fairly small percentage of the listening population, and therefore they just don't sell that many copies. If you can find a record store, check out the shelf space allocated to different genres, as it's a good proxy for overall sales by genre.

So metal bands have always made their money on tour. Yeah, the labels do much of the same crap there, paying for everything at inflated prices, then recouping it, with interest, and they recoup from ticket sales just like they do royalties, but metal bands tend to have more revenues from concerts and merchandise than they do from album sales.

Of course metal bands are doing well... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45568837)

They are supported by Satan!

Well DUH (1)

metrix007 (200091) | about 5 months ago | (#45568879)

People sharing something they like, promoting and advocating it which leads to new sales? Nothing groundbreaking here.

Piracy is a net benefit for society. Piracy leads to an increase in sales. Piracy is unstoppable and inevitable, as it should be.

Tired of people who don't get that, and are only narrowminded and can only be concerned of their potentially lost sales.

Re:Well DUH (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45568903)

Go back to the Soviet Union, communist.

Wait second (3, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | about 5 months ago | (#45568937)

So, bands that have halfway decent music, that produce new material, that go out on tour, and that have a loyal fan-base actually MAKE money long term compared to bands that perform artificial commercialized crap that is shoved down teenagers' throats by the likes of Disney et al, who only make money while the commercial spots are running?

Re:Wait second (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569335)

Having gone to an Iron Maiden concert without knowing their music beforehand, it's very much like a Disney-run musical that happens to be based around some decent metal. The show included several set changes, as well as the lead singer having multiple costume changes. I enjoyed the show, and might some day buy some of the music, but don't pretend it's any less commercial than Katy Perry. The same thing goes for KISS or AC/DC and I'm sure other bands I haven't seen. Those three all also happen to be bands whose new music is stuff even most of their fans don't care about.

Take them to the iron maiden! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45568941)

Excellent!

Piracy is good!

Bogus!

We've all seen the pie chart. (5, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 5 months ago | (#45568973)

We've all seen the pie chart showing just what a tiny fraction of the pie the artist receives for a sold recording owned by a record company. Iron Maiden is losing so little it's unnoticeable. Far better for them to have their fans pirate the recordings they don't own, leaving more available disposable income for spending on things of which the band gets a much better cut, like their merchandise and concert tickets. Basic economics.

And yes, despite the herpaderp sarcasm of the anonymous coward at the bottom of the comments, it really is acting as free advertising, exposing an entirely new generation of potential customers to their music. Cory Doctorow was right: “Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.” Eric Flint echoed the sentiment when the Baen Free Library was established. Then he proved it with sales numbers.

Holding a gun to people's heads and demanding money does not make you liked. It makes you hated. People prefer to spend money on what they like. Finding what they like is tough, and getting tougher every year as the amount of entertainment material in the world explodes even faster than world population. So yeah, free downloads work. This is only a surprise to the MAFIAA and their persistent shills on Slashdot.

Re:We've all seen the pie chart. (1)

brit74 (831798) | about 5 months ago | (#45569545)

Holding a gun to people's heads and demanding money does not make you liked.

Oh, is that the analogy we're using now? Remind me again when musicians "held a gun to their fans heads and demanded money". Oh right - copyright works the same way that the entire merchandise market works: if you want something you pay for it, if you don't want it you don't pay (and you don't get the stuff). Saying that musicians held a gun to people's heads and demanded money is about as ridiculous as saying every single store holds a gun to your head and demands money (because they won't give you their merchandise for free). I don't know what universe people live in where "they won't give me their stuff for free = they hold a gun to my head and demand money". It's a retarded analogy and it's meant to elicit sympathy for pirates (or, to continue the analogy, shoplifters).

Re:We've all seen the pie chart. (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 5 months ago | (#45569619)

When did anybody hold a gun to people's head and demand money? People don't need to listen to an artist's music. If you pose it as an extreme situation, you get to be all militant and snappy. That's fun and you can make yourself feel like you're a righteous extremist. But you're still just ranting around about entertainment.

If you want to participate in what you perceive as 'more free' markets, fucking do so. That means, uh, removing yourself from the mainstream market. Not pirating it.

Ouch. (0)

bhlowe (1803290) | about 5 months ago | (#45568979)

Whether £10-20m is net or gross... its still a pretty paltry sum if they're being showcased as an example of "pirating leads to success". Iron Maiden has had years to build their brand and they started before piracy was as prevalent--so they rightfully should be earning royalties and income from earlier investments. Unfortunately this model doesn't work for 99% of the musicians who don't have a large bankroll from earlier times.

Re:Ouch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569493)

Whether £10-20m is net or gross... its still a pretty paltry sum if they're being showcased as an example of "pirating leads to success". ....

I think one of the root causes of problems in the world is that someone can complain 10-20 million pounds is a paltry sum. Even if that is split 100 ways, it still leaves a very comfortable amount for someone to live on.

Re:Ouch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569609)

Yup. That'll pay for a million hours of labor.

Did Iron Maiden work for a million hours?

As long as they aren't living above their means (and that would be their fault), doing just fine.

Re:Ouch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569583)

I hope you are kidding.

One band is pulling in the equivalent of capturing the total economic output of thousands of people (GWP per capita).

That seems fairly successful.

Re:Ouch. (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 5 months ago | (#45569885)

Whether £10-20m is net or gross... its still a pretty paltry sum if they're being showcased as an example of "pirating leads to success". Iron Maiden has had years to build their brand and they started before piracy was as prevalent--so they rightfully should be earning royalties and income from earlier investments. Unfortunately this model doesn't work for 99% of the musicians who don't have a large bankroll from earlier times.

Unbelievable the arrogance in calling even the low estimate of 10 million gross a "paltry sum". Louis C.K. gave away quite a bit of his earnings when he charged only $5 for his DVD. I suppose he's just another failure because he chooses not to hoard tens of millions he'll never spend, or sell out and put his face on everything from bubble gum to waffle irons.

I'd also love to see how this model will work for 100% of today's pop artists who think that Autotune and a pirated bass line will also make their careers last 30 years.

Not only Iron Maiden (1)

Spinalcold (955025) | about 5 months ago | (#45568985)

MP3's have helped so many heavy metal bands gain exposure and allow them to tour. Most metalheads have found new bands by talking with friends and then downloading albums. This in turn gives the band enough exposure to allow them to tour. On tour they actually don't make much per concert, most make about 100-200 which would be losing money. However, at these shows they are able to sell album and merchandise. Can anyone think of another genre that people are so willing to advertise for? There are so many people walking around with metal band t-shirts and hoodies, and, like me, all they own are band t-shirts.

In talking to most of these bands, they are happy you hear of them through downloading MP3's. Most of these bands can't do it for a living, they have regular jobs so they just want their music out there. And every once in a while a band gets enough exposure that can do it for a living. But the only way to get that exposure in through the internet. Hell, you ask any metal band how they found their musical influences and how they find new bands, they'll all tell you they downloaded the music.

Metal survives despite the music industry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569063)

When metal fell out of favor with the music industry's formula it more or less vanished off the face of the earth. Metal has seen a recent revival but it's single mode of promotion has been through piracy and through youtube.

I was pirating Maiden in the 80s (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569097)

Back then it consisted of giving a blank tape to a friend who had the album. Now that I'm a few years older I have all of their albums on CD and go to their gigs whenever possible. The revenue they're generating now, from me at least, can be considered as a deferred payment from the 1980s when, as a teenager, I lacked the funds to pay up front.

NO kidding.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569219)

But think of all the Billions of dollars they are losing due to piracy! I mean each song downloaded is a loss of profits (even though they don't have any associated costs or advertising or legal responsibilities or overhead) Piracy is obviously killing the economy (even though the money obtained by the anti piracy groups eg ACTA never makes it to the artists, Big name groups get some about 20c for each dollar others get nothing) /end sarcasm

Piracy isn't just about some people getting stuff for free the issue that still isn't addressed and why alot of people pirate is simply because of availability and restrictions of material in certain country's or limited/reduced/censorship, I live in NZ and some shows are cancelled in their first seasons here Eg justified and we have no other way of seeing them, we have on demand TV and almost all Internet stream and region blocked.

PIracy for me is about freedom of speech, I buy when I can but don't feel bad in the slightest about downloaded what I can get otherwise. I have no interest in what the "TV/Media" finds appropriate when seems to be low budget/cost Cooking/gardening shows combined with a plethora of ads.

The Trooper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569267)

Love Iron Maiden. I never buy CDs anymore (I use Spotify) but try to go see bands play live and in case of Iron Maiden, drink their beer [ironmaidenbeer.com]. I guess that any band that believes in their music and respects its fanbase is at least not piracy-hostile. So yeah, f*** you Metalica.

Sue them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569297)

You heard it: Iron Maiden supports stealing! Better sue the living shit out of them for millions of dollars so we can instead support artists like the RIAA. Unless the RIAA and its lawyers get at least 50 million out of this, music will cease to exist.

TADA!!! (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 months ago | (#45569325)

And that's the way it's supposed to be done. The problem with the big copyright industry is that the big artists are harder to control and especially harder to take advantage of. Once their ridiculously abusive contracts are up and the band or artist has a strong and loyal fan base, the copyright clowns have no further control over anything new these people create. They won't tolerate it. So what have they been doing? They have dumbed down the products and the producers. They have genericized them to the point they lack originality and quality.

Why do we have 20+ year old bands out there as popular with people today as they were when I was a teenager? Quality is the reason, in my opinion. We had it long ago, and we don't have it today.

It has always been clear to the people here that it was never about artists and has always been about the copyright industry at large. Why else would we read so much about people being sued for copyright infringement over works which the plaintiffs have no clear title to? It has always been about this and always will be. Artists -- the good artists -- will always be fine so long as big copyright is unable to screw them over.

More like (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 5 months ago | (#45569469)

Piracy offers Heavy Metal it's old business model back.

Loyal fans pay money for music they enjoy. Who'd have thought?

Branding and identity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45569575)

The point about branding and fan identification with the the genre is important. Ironically, in the 80's and 90's, this was largely enhanced by the advertising but also by the general culture of the time. Now the culture is one of greater inclusiveness and the idea of genre crossover is pretty much moot. This plays into the the file sharing phenomenon where the kids have 1000's of song on their phones of all genres and they don't care who is singing what.

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