Iron Maiden Uses Music Piracy to Plot Lucrative Tours
By Scott T. Sterling
British metal legends Iron Maiden have been playing to their legion of fans for more than 30 years, with new generations coming into the fold spurred on by classic albums like The Number of the Beast and Powerslave.
The group’s popularity, however, makes Iron Maiden a big target for illegal downloading, which has affected countless artists and the music industry as a whole. Where U.S. metal heroes Metallica infamously tangled with then-upstart file-sharing service Napster back in the year 2000, Iron Maiden have found a way to follow their most fervent downloading fans and turn them into paying customers.
According to CiteWorld, Iron Maiden utilized data generated by UK analytic company Musicmetric, which analyzes everything from social media activity to BitTorrent traffic, showing which countries and cities were most actively talking about (and illegally downloading) all things Iron Maiden.
Instead of pursuing legal action, the band used the information to target the locations where Iron Maiden music was surging. Noticing a huge upswing of popularity in South America, the group began plotting tours throughout the region, hitting countries like Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico extensively, selling out multiple shows in the process. They also saw tremendous growth in fans on social media.
“If you engage with fans, there is a chance to turn a percentage into paying customers,” said Gregory Mead, CEO and co-founder of MusicMetric. “Maiden have been rather successful in turning free file-sharing into fee-paying fans.”
Iron Maiden and Metallica were recently announced as headliners for returning touring European festival Sonisphere, which will be back in action over the summer of 2014 after taking 2013 off.