Iron Maiden, “Why Music Matters” and Chile


Over the last few decades, there have been several attempts to combat piracy, either of movies, software or music.

In the 80s, the Record Industry tried to stop home taping (because recording music from the radio would destroy the industry) with the ridiculous “Home Taping is Killing Music – AND IT’S ILLEGAL” campagin.

In the 90s the Software Publishers Association of America tried it with “Don’t Copy That Floppy!” (because floppy copying would destroy the industry) an infamous video in which some black guy raps about the evils of piracy and how copying a floppy disk was nothing less than the beginning of a life of crime.

There’s even a sequel to this crap, released in 2009 (because now the industry will definitely be destroyed) that tries to explain to kids why piracy is wrong: A Swat Team will come to your house, beat the crap out of your mother, and then take you to prison, where you will become someone’s bitch. I wish I was making this up.

Other campaigns include “You Can Click, but you can’t hide” (let’s scare kids into submission) or the absolutely moronic “You wouldn’t steal a car”, that equates violent crimes with downloading copyrighted material.

Seeing that all of these campaigns have lacked any sort of value (or sense) it was only a matter of time until the industry tried again.

And they did!

The results? A beautiful and inspirational video that is just full of bullshit.

The Why Music Matters campaign, which involves major CD, digital, and mobile retailers, as well as the major record labels, identifies all the outlets where consumers can legally purchase music and also tells the stories of iconic musicians whose work continues to resonate and influence music being made today.

Why Music Matters has reportedly received significant funding from the British Phonographic Industry and claims to be more than just an anti-piracy campaign. Its literature states: “There is an ethical choice when it comes to consuming music and this campaign serves to educate people to these choices. If you want to consume music for free, there are legitimate ways this can be done.”

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What’s the problem in this? Well, they just told a fabricated story. It’s as simple as that.

Let me give you a summary of the video: Iron Maiden is a great band, they’ve inspired millions. In 1992 they wanted to play in Chile, but the Government banned them because they would be a bad influence for the youth; it wasn’t until 2004 that Iron Maiden managed to play in Chile, giving the poor and oppressed Chileans a taste of freedom of expression, “a means of escape” and, perhaps, maybe even a little hope that things can change.

To say that they took a few artistic liberties doesn’t really cut it.

In 1992 Iron Maiden was not banned in Chile. It’s true, Christian organizations complained about them and denounced them as satanic, which eventually meant that no venue wanted to host the show, but the government didn’t have anything to do with it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending (not by a long shot) the bunch of idiots that claimed that Iron Maiden was a satanic band, nor am I trying to say that having venues drop the whole show is good. But it is different from saying that they were banned by the government, since this simply didn’t happen.

Also, Chilean fans didn’t need to wait until 2004 to see the band. Iron Maiden visited Chile in 1996… then in 2001, then in 2004, then in 2008, then in 2009 and then in 2011.  And, believe me, they haven’t exactly played in small underground venues. For their last concert they played in the biggest venue available in the country, the National Football Stadium in Santiago. The idea that Iron Maiden shows up and gives us “a means of escape”, in a political sense, is just bullshit. In terms of political freedom, Chile is no different from any other western nation.

So, why the BS? Well, teenagers have the attention span of a goldfish. You need to hook them somehow. A short animated feature can do the trick, as long as you tell them a compelling story. Sure, we could try to talk about how metal inspired bands in Iraq under Hussein and how they struggled to keep their music alive even after the US invasion of 2003… but that would be too complex.

For most people Chile is located either “somewhere around Mexico, right?” or at “what the fuck is Chile?”, so it would be easy to concoct a bullshit story about the country, knowing full well that the target audience of the video wouldn’t know any better.

Throughout the last few decades the record companies (as well as the movie and software industries) have made numerous attempts to curtail piracy, although by methods that have been stupid at best, and downright malicious at worst. This new attempt does nothing to combat piracy or to protect the rights of the artists. If anything, it just provides a 3-minute, bullshit-filled, cartoon show that, at least, has a nice soundtrack.

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[…] words are far from unique, and they actually represent what the music industry has been saying for a long time, namely that piracy is killing art. Many people think that the paranoid rants about how someone is […]