Iron Maiden Using Music Piracy to Drive Concert Ticket Sales

John McMurtrie

Iron Maiden

Update: The CiteWorld story referenced below has been updated noting that, despite previous reports, "Musicmetric did not work directly with Iron Maiden," and that there is no evidence the band actually used the data in question to help plot its tours. Andrew Teacher, the company's head of PR, told Rolling Stone that the article in question "misrepresents our position by stating that the success was down to use of analytics, which we simply never said nor implied."


Many artists might try to quash piracy of their music to the best of their ability. Iron Maiden is using it to potentially get ahead.

The British metal outfit has teamed up with an analytic company to determine where its music is being pirated from -- and then plotting tour dates in the most lucrative areas.

According to CiteWorld (and originally reported by The Guardian), Iron Maiden and U.K.-based Musicmetric are working together to figure out hotbeds of piracy of the band's music; though Musicmetric specializes in multiple aspects of the analytics business, one of its services is monitoring the traffic on the BitTorrent network.

Partnering with the company showed the band that, in addition to its usual major markets in the U.K. and U.S., there was a noted spike of traffic in South America, while also determining that a large chunk of the band's Twitter followers were from the continent as well.

"Iron Maiden's BitTorrent data suggests Brazil is a huge driver of fans -- and given Brazil is one of the biggest file sharing nations on the planet, this is a strong indicator of popularity," Gregory Mead, CEO and co-founder of Musicmetric, told The Guardian last month.

In response, Iron Maiden has focused much of its touring efforts in the continent over the past few years, seeing great gains in tickets sold, as well as social media interactions.

As actual music sales continue to dwindle, Musicmetric could be a formidable partner for bands in determining its strengths -- and weaknesses -- across the globe, potentially driving more and more ticket sales.

"With their constant touring, [the] report suggests Maiden have been rather successful in turning free file-sharing into fee-paying fans," Mead said. "This is clear proof that taking a global approach to live touring can pay off, and that having the data to track where your fan bases lie will become ever more vital."