How heavy metal piracy is gold-plating Iron Maiden

It’s probably the last thing you’d expect, but it seems like music piracy might be presenting a completely new business model to some bands. Requirements for making it work do, however, seem to include either very long or very short hair, a tendency to wear leather, a fondness of whiskey and beer and a tendency to point at stuff with your index and pinkie at the same time.

Right, stereo(which is actually a bit of a pun when you thing about it)types aside, what we’re talking here is how piracy might be offering heavy metal bands a new way of making their money.

As an example, the members of Iron Maiden are looking like they’re doing very well for themselves in spite of being one of the most heavily pirated bands around – and data seems to indicate that the band is making a lot of money in the exact locations where it’s also being heavily pirated. Basically what seems to be happening is that the heavy metal fans are downloading Iron Maiden’s music illegally, liking it and then going out and buying it.

“One reason for this may be metal itself. It has a fiercely loyal fanbase and a clear brand and identity, even down to the uniform-style black t-shirts that fans wear that differ only in band logo and art. The audience identifies with the genre, which stands in contrast to genericized genres like pop, rock and rap. 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,” as the website DeathMetal.org put it.

Of course using Iron Maiden as an example of how a new business model can save an industry is a bit like focussing on what some of the positive impacts are of lower banana prices for Chiquita, while disregarding what it means to banana farmers….

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