Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson says that people need "to be educated about the fact that music has real value."
In a candid interview with German website Comebackstage, Bruce reflected upon how aspiring artists struggle to make money from record sales today and accused illegal downloading sites like Napster (which closed in 2002) of setting in the rot.
Bruce said: "(New bands) 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 formed 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.”
Bruce continued: "For a band like (Iron Maiden), actually we still make records, but we pretty much accept that we don't really make hardly any money out of making a record.
"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 from performing 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 going to come from now. People who are brilliant musicians don't get paid for doing amazing jobs.
"I get paid when they sell a 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 going to 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.”
On a roll, Bruce continued: "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."
Iron Maiden play seven UK shows in July and August on The Legacy of the Beast UK tour. Newcastle, Aberdeen, Manchester and Birmingham tickets are available from Planet Rock Tickets now.
They play the following shows:
Newcastle Metro Radio Arena – Tue 31st
Belfast The SSE Arena – Thu 2nd*
Aberdeen BHGE Arena – Sat 4th
Manchester Arena – Mon 6th
Birmingham Genting Arena – Tue 7th
London The O2 – Fri 10th*
London The O2 – Sat 11th*
* For Belfast SSE Arena and London The O2 tickets, head to the venue box office to check availability.