Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson has proposed a simple solution the problem with music streaming, which is that Spotify pays artists a low rate and the company itself struggles to be profitable.

Aside from singing in one of metal's most legendary bands, Dickinson is an experienced businessman in and outside of music. He understands there are many factors to consider in establishing a viable business model that not only meets the demands of investors and top executives, but satisfies its consumers as well.

In a new interview with Mexico's ATMosferas Magazine, the Maiden frontman confronts Spotify's biggest challenge and offers his thoughts on the massively inflated prices of concert tickets. And he shares some gripes about financial compensation for a DJ's live performance versus that of a full band, such as his own.

Bruce Dickinson on DJs

"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," the singer contends.

While he doesn't like "how the world has gone on its ass" in regards to it being acceptable for a DJ to turn up to a show with a "memory stick" and "pretends" to do something performative, it's out of his and anyone else's control.

"There's not a lot that any one individual can do about that," Dickinson laments, acknowledging, "You just have to work with the way the world is."

Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson
Kevin Mazur, Getty Images for Power Trip

Bruce Dickinson on Music Sales + Spotify

Dickinson proposes that, in business, neither party is winning when it comes to music sales, downloads and the overall mechanisms involved in music consumption by fans.

"I think it's a lose-lose situation for everybody," he asserts, "I mean, you have all the things like Spotify and stuff like who are basically ripping off musicians by paying them next to nothing for playing their work."

"And still, [Spotify] can't make money," Dickinson notes.

Last year (2023), Spotify cut 17 percent of its workforce (approximately 1,500 jobs). As Wired reported in December of last year, despite Spotify commanding 30 percent of the music streaming market by late 2022, being profitable at a consistent rate has been difficult. The company has also heavily invested in podcasting in recent years.

"So they're not making money [and] the musicians aren't getting paid. New bands can hardly afford to start up, but they do," Dickinson continues. He cites the drive that exists within musicians that causes them to pursue their goals despite the growing odds stacked against them.

Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson
Kevin Mazur, Getty Images

READ MORE: Bruce Dickinson Names the Most Challenging Iron Maiden Song to Sing Live

Bruce Dickinson's Solution

Over the last decade-plus, countless musicians have bemoaned the streaming payout model, but very few realistic solutions have been proposed.

Dickinson contends that Spotify users may not object to his proposal. But given the rising costs of, well, just about everything, as well as the general reaction to other subscription service price hikes in TV and movies, it could be more of a bitter pill than he suspects.

The 65-year-old frontman says, "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."

It's reasonable to think that diehard music fans would see more than $10.99 per month to access a library of 100 million songs as still being a nice deal. For those who enjoy music casually, perhaps as background mood music, it could drive them away.

Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson, The Mandrake Project
Nathaniel Shannon

Bruce Dickinson on Rising Concert Ticket Prices

Before taking aim at U2's $1,200 tickets for their Sphere residency shows in Las Vegas, Dickinson notes that the cost of a ticket "depends what the show is and kind of who the audience are."

He says he'd "maybe" pay $100 to see the rock icons at the multi-billion dollar venue.

After that loose digression, the Iron Maiden singer expresses a desire for tickets to be made available at a price point and location within the venue that respects the level of fandom.

"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 because the people who are going to go there to the 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 that need to be down the front; they're the people that are gonna keep this music alive," he contends.

For those who want to bring a significant other and not get all hot a sweaty, he says there are tickets further back that should be priced differently.

Again acknowledging the many facets of business, he goes on, "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 got to make their money back. So, it's a delicate balance, but in general, ticket prices have gone through the roof."

Dickinson also suggests the people footing the massive bill for some of these tickets may "think it's worth it." As for his responsibility to his fans and Iron Maiden fans, he adds, "We've always tried to keep the ticket prices within the normal boundaries. And the same with Maiden."

Bruce Dickinson + Iron Maiden on Tour in 2024

Dickinson will embark on a solo tour this year in support of his new album The Mandrake Project. Later in the year, he'll head back out with Iron Maiden on a North American leg of The Future Past Tour.

How Many Songs Each Iron Maiden Member Has Written

Here's a breakdown of Iron Maiden's song-writing credits.

Gallery Credit: Joe DiVita

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