Remember Napster? The early file-sharing service that effectively gave rise to the advent of digital music piracy? Well, Iron Maiden’s frontman Bruce Dickinson certainly seems to, slamming the service, its creator, and those who partake in music piracy still in a new interview with German music blog Comebackstage.
While Metallica’s hatred towards Napster was so public that the band’s lawsuit effectively shut down the service in 2002, Napster’s effect on the music industry has continued to this day, with musicians rightly holding a grudge against the service.
“[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,” Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson explained in the interview, as transcribed by NME. “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.”
“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 continued. “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.”
The Iron Maiden vocalist also went on to share his disbelief at how the general public don’t value music as much as they should due to its easy illegal access, noting how people buy copies of his new memoir, What Does This Button Do?, but not his albums.
“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,” Dickinson noted. “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,” he continued. “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.”
Notably, Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napster and former President of Facebook, stepped down from his role as a member of Spotify’s Board of Directors back in 2010.