Iron Maiden turning music pirates into paying customers the smart way

Iron Maiden turning music pirates into paying customers the smart way

A recent article in a tech geek magazine, CITEworld, raises some interesting points about how artists can use data to combat music piracy and turn the illegal downloaders into paying customers without resorting to legal battles and having people thrown into jail.

According to the article, a UK based firm, Musicmetrics, that aggregates all kinds of data for artists, ran an analysis on the 'performance' of veteran heavy metalheads Iron Maiden in the illegal download market. Turns out that in South America, especially Brazil, content thieves are extremely fond of Maiden's music. In the case of the 1986 track 'Wasted Years' alone the Musicmetrics data showed it averaged 2,000+ BitTorrent downloads a day in the region. South Americans, according to the data, also make up the largest section of the band's social media following.

Musicmetrics makes no claim that Bruce Dickinson and Co ever saw their data specifically, but they saw something as the countries where the largest numbers of illegal downloads of Maiden music originate are also the places that the band have been touring a great deal over the last few years. So what they lose in CD sales they make up for in concert tickets and the sales of band merch. After all, you can't download a t shirt. And the tactic works, as Iron Maiden LLP was recently listed on the London Stock Exchange's "1000 Companies That Inspire Britain" list.

The lesson is not so much the data as the band merchandise thing and more and more artists seem to be getting that, especially if they happen to appeal to the very lucrative 13-18 year old market.

For example, post hardcore/metalcore bands like Oz's own Parkway Drive and Hands like Houses along with many of the other 'Warped Tour' type bands - Pierce the Veil, Black Veil Brides, Bring Me the Horizon and so on - who all have a large teenage fanbase, seem to have figured out that while they might lose out on traditional CD sales because tech savvy teens know exactly where to go to download music for free they can make up for that by selling $25 t shirts and limited edition vinyls to a band merch obsessed generation, with many also debuting their own clothing lines to tap into the market even further, more than making up you'd have to think, for the illegal downloads.

There are all kinds of discussions going on about how music can save itself as record stores continue to close and plugged in fans turn not only to illegal downloads to get their music fix but to legal, stream anywhere service like Spotify. And while the big corporations like Sony still seem to be relying on lawyers and political challenges to 'fight' piracy as usual the more creative souls are beginning to find a different way.

Watch Iron Maiden - Wasted Years

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