Ornella Carlone of Comebackstage conducted an interview with IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson about his recently released autobiography, “What Does This Button Do?” You can now watch the chat below.
Speaking about the obstacles up-and-coming artists are facing in trying to make it in the music business, Bruce said: “They have a tough job, actually, because digital downloading… well, not digital downloading now in itself, but the result of Napster and things like that, 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 started Napster] should be locked up, and maybe he has been — he deserves to be. It was an act of pure selfish destruction. And what he did was he used the enthusiasm of the audience… Because the audience is not guilty — they could get all this great music for free. Why wouldn’t they do that? They didn’t realize that what they were doing was destroying an entire culture.
“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,” he 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 [by playing] live. Other bands, bands who are coming up doing great music, they don’t get that luxury. And it’s hard to see where a whole generation of musicians is gonna come from now. People who are brilliant musicians don’t get paid for doing amazing jobs.
“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. 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 pay for 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 an energy drink or something else like that. So they’ll pay the price of a can of 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.”
Last November, “What Does This Button Do?” landed at No. 10 on the New York Times “Hardcover Nonfiction” best sellers list. It was released in the U.S. on October 31 via Dey Street Books (formerly It Books), an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Bruce has said in interviews that he wrote his autobiography by hand in a notebook while sitting in his local bar.