“New bands can hardly afford to start” – cialisdfr
“New bands can hardly afford to start”
“New bands can hardly afford to start”

The music industry in 2024 is a bleak place for non-mainstream bands. Streaming services don’t pay much (or sometimes not at all if you’re not popular), merch cuts go into the pockets of touring bands, and the prices of everything are skyrocketing.

In an interview with ATMósferas magazine, Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson we talked at length about the changes in the industry and how difficult it is for new bands. Dickinson start by talking about how little artists are paid and then you have to split that measly salary between the band members.

“The music industry has done two things. On the one hand, if you’re an artist, it’s shrunk because it’s shrunk in terms of the amount of money you get for your art—unless you’re some massive social media thing, or whatever, or unless you’re not a DJ who shows up with a memory and gets paid five times what a band gets.

“And they have to split it eight ways, and he just shows up with his memory and pretends to do something and walks away with a huge amount of money. So the world stood up from that point of view. And there’s not much any single person can do about it. You just have to work with the way the world is.”

“I have no desire to be a DJ. I’m a singer, I’m a musician, I have bands and people like them and they all have to make a living playing with me. So I’m doing the best I can to make sure everybody’s happy, everybody’s making a living, and we can go out and play great music.

Dickinson then followed up with some criticism of Spotify, because of course he did – the streaming giant makes things extremely difficult for artists. Unless you’re a fake artist, in which case you’re rolling in cash.

“In terms of how records are sold — well, records, downloads, things like that — I think it’s a no-brainer for everybody. I mean, you have all these things like Spotify and things like that that basically rip off musicians by paying them next to nothing to play their work. Anyway, [Spotify] can’t make money. So they don’t make money [and] musicians don’t get paid.

“New bands can hardly afford to start, but they do. Why? Because they love what they do. That’s what drives them. This motivates them. So if streaming services could manage to pay people correctly for when people listen, which probably means that people who listen have to pay more, which frankly I don’t mind and I don’t think probably most listeners would. Maybe less people would listen, but people who care, not people who just do it because it’s cheap.”

Dickinson he was then asked if ticket prices skyrocketing in recent years had a negative impact on the industry. Dickinson noted that perhaps front seats should be cheaper so that big band fans can afford to get closer, but that’s obviously a delicate balance.

“Well, two things. First, it depends on what the show is and who the audience is. I mean, I’m not going to go around and say specific artists because most artists that charge about $1,200 a ticket – like in Las Vegas, if you want to go and see the U2 show, I think it was $1,200 a seat in the sphere. I have no interest in paying $1,200 to go and see U2 at the Sphere – nothing. A hundred dollars, maybe.

“But for me what’s important is to try to keep, on the one hand, the right type of tickets at the right price. So by that I mean the right type of tickets, I mean the tickets that are in front of a stage that everyone says should be the most expensive tickets. Actually no, they have to be the most reasonably priced tickets because the people who are going to go there in front of the stage are going to be people who are real fans, people who are kids, people who can’t afford the crazy money, but they are the people who should be in charge; they are the people who will keep this music alive. And then you get the people who might be fans, but they want to bring their wife and they don’t want to get too hot and sweaty and everything. So, there’s a couple of seats at the top or something like that, what they’re going to choose, and they’re getting at a different price.”

“I understand how promoters try and do it so they don’t lose money because promoters are part of the whole ecosystem. Without promoters there would be no shows. The promoters have to somehow get their money back. So it’s a delicate balance, but overall ticket prices have gone through the roof. And some of the ticket prices that people pay, well, some of the prices that people pay, to me it’s crazy. I would never pay that price, but then again, I’m probably not a fan of that particular artist. People who are might think it’s worth it. I mean, certainly with my shows, we’ve always tried to keep ticket prices within the normal, normal range. And the same with a girl.”

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