Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson: “People will pay for a book, but they won’t pay for an album”

The singer has spoken out about the struggle new musicians face in the wake of illegal downloads, and streaming services.

Iron Maiden‘s Bruce Dickinson has spoken out about the current state of the music industry, highlighting the strain illegal downloading has put on musicians.

Speaking to German music blog Comebackstage (there’s a ‘translate’ button on the page) he discussed how musicians starting out today face a different climate to the one he had.

He attacked the founders of Napster, the file sharing service which allowed fans to download music for free in the late 90s.


“[Musicians starting out today] have a tough job, actually, because digital downloading, well, not digital downloading now in itself, but the result of Napster and things like that,” he told the blog.

“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 founded Napster] should be locked up, maybe he has been, he deserves to be. It was an act of pure selfish destruction.”

Napster was founded by Sean Parker, Shawn Fanning and John Fanning back in 1999, before being shut down in 2002. Parker later went on to become an early investor in Facebook, and he worked on the board at Spotify, before leaving in June last year.

“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,” Dickinson continues.


“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 [from performing] live. Other bands, bands who are coming up doing great music, they don’t get that luxury.

“People who are brilliant musicians don’t get paid for doing amazing jobs.”

He goes on question why people will pay for anything but music.

“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,” the singer says about his memoir, ‘What Does This Button Do?’, which came out in October 2017.

“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 buy 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 energy drink or something else like that.

“So they’ll pay the price of an 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.”

When asked what advice he has for up and coming musicians, he replies: “It’s not enough to be just good, it’s not enough to be just above average, you need to be really outstanding. You need songs that touch people’s emotions.”

Dickinson isn’t the only musician who’s spoken out about Napster’s Sean Parker – back in 2012, The Black Keys‘ drummer Patrick Carney called him “an asshole” who he accused of stealing royalties from artists via Spotify.

Last year, Bruce Dickinson spoke to NME ahead of the release of his book , opening up being diagnosed with cancer, and the future of Iron Maiden.

Late last year he spoke out about the state of the world, saying we’re “only a heartbeat away from Auschwitz.