BRUCE DICKINSON Says Concert 'Ticket Prices Have Gone Through The Roof': 'I've Got No Interest In Paying $1,200 To See U2'

March 25, 2024

In a new interview with Mexico's ATMósferas Magazine, IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson discussed the changes in the music industry over the last four decades. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "The music industry has done two things. On the one hand, if you're an artist, it's contracted, as in it's shrunk in terms of the amount of money you get paid for your art — unless you are some massive social media thing, or whatever it is, or unless you're a DJ who turns up with a memory stick and gets paid five times what a band gets paid. And they have to split it eight ways, and he just turns up with his memory stick and pretends he's doing something, and goes away with a huge amount of money. So the world has gone on its ass from that perspective. And there's not a lot that any one individual can do about that. You just have to work with the way the world is."

He continued: "I have no desire whatsoever to be a DJ. I'm a singer, I'm a musician, I have bands and people like that, and they all have to make a living playing with me. So I do the best I can to make sure that everybody's happy, everybody's making a living and we can go out and play great music.

"In terms of the way that records are sold — well, records, downloads, things like that — I think it's a lose-lose situation for everybody," Dickinson added. "I mean, you have all the things like Spotify and stuff like that who are basically ripping off musicians by paying them next to nothing for playing their work. And still, [Spotify] can't make money. So they're not making money [and] the musicians aren't getting paid. New bands can hardly afford to start up, but they do. Why? Because they love what they do. It's that that drives them. It's that that motivates them. So, if the streaming services could manage to actually pay people properly for when people listen, which probably means that people listening have to pay more, which I frankly don't object to, and I don't think probably most listeners would. Maybe less people would listen, but it would be people who care, not people who just do it because it's cheap."

Asked if he thinks the skyrocketing concert ticket prices are having a negative impact on the music industry, Bruce said: "Well, two things. One, it depends what the show is and kind of who the audience are. I mean, I'm not gonna go around and say specific artists, because most of the artists that are charging, like, 1,200 dollars a ticket — like in Las Vegas, if you wanna go and see the U2 show, I think it was 1,200 dollars per seat in the sphere. I've got no interest in paying 1,200 dollars to go and see U2 in the sphere — none. A hundred bucks, maybe. But for me, what's important is to try and 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 the stage, which everybody says should be the most expensive tickets. Actually, no, they should be the most reasonably priced tickets, 'cause the people who are gonna go there to the front of the stage are gonna be people who are real fans, people who are kids, people who can't afford the crazy money, but they are the people that need to be down the front; they're the people that are gonna keep this music alive. And then you get the people that they might be fans, but they wanna bring their wife and they don't wanna get too hot and sweaty and all the rest of it. So, there's some seats at the top or something else like that, what they're gonna pick, and those get priced differently."

Bruce continued: "I understand how promoters try and do it to try and not lose money, because promoters are part of the whole ecosystem. Without promoters, there would be no shows. The promoters have somehow gotta make their money back. So, it's a delicate balance, but in general, ticket prices have gone through the roof. And some of the ticket prices that people pay, well, some of the prices people pay, for me, it's insane. I would never pay that price, but then again, I'm probably not a fan of that particular artist. People who are, maybe they think it's worth it. I mean, certainly with my shows, we've always tried to keep the ticket prices within the normal, normal boundaries. And the same with MAIDEN."

Dickinson's new solo album, "The Mandrake Project", was released on March 1. Bruce and his long-term co-writer and producer Roy "Z" Ramirez recorded the LP largely at Los Angeles's Doom Room, with Roy Z doubling up as both guitarist and bassist. The recording lineup for "The Mandrake Project" was rounded out by keyboard maestro Mistheria and drummer Dave Moreno, both of whom also featured on Bruce's previous solo studio album, "Tyranny Of Souls", in 2005.

Featuring the singles "Afterglow Of Ragnarok" and "Rain On The Graves", the ten-track collection has been receiving swathes of critical acclaim, with rave reviews running around the world.

"The Mandrake Project" is Dickinson's seventh solo album and is released via BMG worldwide on multiple formats.

Last month, Bruce revealed the addition of two new guitarists to his solo touring band. Swedish-born guitarist, songwriter and multi-platinum-credited producer Philip Näslund and Swiss session and touring guitarist Chris Declercq (who incidentally played on Dickinson's current single, "Rain On The Graves") will accompany previously announced members Moreno, Mistheria and Tanya O'Callaghan (bass). Roy Z will not be part of the touring lineup.

The first chance to see the six-piece live will now be at The Observatory in Orange County, California on April 15.

Roy played guitar on Dickinson's 1994 album "Balls To Picasso" and went on to produce, co-write and perform multiple instruments on Bruce's subsequent three solo albums, "Accident At Birth" (1997),"The Chemical Wedding" (1998) and "Tyranny Of Souls" (2005).

O'Callaghan is an Irish musician who joined WHITESNAKE in 2021 and toured with the David Coverdale-fronted outfit the following year. She also hit the road with Dickinson last year as part of a performance of Jon Lord's "Concerto For Group And Orchestra" on nearly a dozen dates in Europe and South America.

Californian drummer Moreno previously played on "Tyranny Of Souls" and has worked with BODY COUNT, Jizzy Pearl, Dizzy Reed and Steve Stevens, among others.

Italian keyboard wizard Mistheria has collaborated with an array of artists live and in the studio, including Rob Rock, Mike Portnoy, Jeff Scott Soto and Joel Hoekstra.

Dickinson made his recording debut with IRON MAIDEN on the "Number Of The Beast" album in 1982. He quit the band in 1993 in order to pursue his solo career and was replaced by Blaze Bayley, who had previously been the lead singer of the metal band WOLFSBANE. After releasing two traditional metal albums with former MAIDEN guitarist Adrian Smith, Dickinson rejoined the band in 1999 along with Smith.

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