Live & Touring

Did Iron Maiden Find New Fans Through Filesharing Data? [Updated]

Pirates-of-the-carribeanThe idea of using data regarding unauthorized filesharing to identify and reach out to fans has been floated quite a bit but the actual examples are fairly rare. Iron Maiden was recently identified as doing exactly that though the timeline seems a bit questionable. The idea is that one identifies where filesharing is heaviest and then reaches out to those fans ideally by touring the area. But Iron Maiden was already touring said region and so data on their filesharing and social media fanbase seems to simply confirm that the fans that will go to shows are revealed in that data. Update 2: Musicmetric has clarified that the initial story was based on a misuse of their data that stretched the facts quite a bit.

Updated: This was even more false than I thought.

Some studies have shown that filesharers buy more music than those who don't share. Others reveal that they they also subscribe.

So if data related to filesharing and social media shows you have a fanbase somewhere, shouldn't you tour there?

Zoë Keating discussed her embrace of Songkick Detour as a way to connect with such fans. She said that when she gathered and considered the data from a wide range of sources she discovered that her fans were too spread out to base a tour on that alone.

So she turned to Songkick Detour to focus concert crowdfunding efforts on areas with evidence of a high fanbase. The crowdfunding process allowed her to productively put that data to use by digging deeper into demand.

A legacy act like Iron Maiden builds much of its business around touring and has a much broader range of fans and analytics from which to draw.

Andy Patrizio discusses (via TorrentFreak) data gathered by Musicmetric that showed Iron Maiden has a huge filesharing and social media following in South America.

This data matches Iron Maiden's touring experiences in South America which has become an increasingly important area for them. So it does show a correlation between one's filesharing and social media following in terms of a monetizable fanbase for live shows.

The story's getting spread as if it reveals that Musicmetric found the data, contacted Iron Maiden and then Iron Maiden based their touring plans on that data but, given the dates under discussion, that doesn't seem to be the case.

Which leaves me wondering if there is a really solid, impressive example of a band discovering their audience through filesharing stats and then connecting with them. I've seen great examples from the gaming community but little signs of such activity in the music world.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is building a writing hub at Flux Research. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

Share on:


  1. All fine, but sounds more like a PR-strategy to say these thing, then real changing ways of doing touring IMO

  2. it’s such a compelling story, I’d love for it to be true, but it’s unfortunately a fake …

  3. I work on all things digital for Imogen Heap and whilst we’ve not used file sharing data as such we used Facebook insights to put on a show in Jakarta, Indonesia a couple of years ago.
    Jakarta was consistently in the top 5 cities with the most fans who’d like our Facebook page, despite Imogen never having toured there and not even having label representation there at the time. There are no record stores in Indonesia and music consumption is primarily through illegal filesharing, so we had no sales data for the country. Yet as soon as Imogen’s agent made enquiries a local promoter jumped at the chance to put on a show and she flew out there to find a rabid fan base which resulted in a sold out show (around 4K capacity), as well as prime time TV appearances and lots of merch sales. All despite not having sold any recorded music there.

  4. If it is true than Iron Maiden made the most out of a bad situation.
    The trouble with this story (if it is true) is that suddenly all the pirate companies CEO’s will point to this story and type: “See….We’re helping musicians”.
    And they will probably do this from their yachts which they’ve managed to afford through all the money they’ve made from profiting off musicians like Iron Maiden (and more) without having to pay them a red cent in return for using their music

Comments are closed.