Iron Maiden ended their world tour in support of The Book of Souls just over one month ago and frontman Bruce Dickinson has already returned to the stage... of sorts. No stranger to giving keynote speeches, the polymath spoke at the Press and Journal Gold Awards, comparing issues in the oil industry with the arrival of digital music and its impact on the music industry.

Telling Energy Voice that the music industry's reaction to fans illegally download music was to "arrest their whole consumer base," Dickinson later went on to elaborate on the necessity of adaptability rather than forcing old ideals to hold up against current trends. “People did not want to be thieves," he urged. "They were just enthusiastic about bands and could not believe their luck."

Speaking about the drop in the price of crude oil, Dickinson drew the comparison to the industry he knows intimately well. “It happened to the music industry 10 to 15 years ago. The oil industry is like the record industry. It needs to look at what it’s doing. It’s an energy supplier." Going on, the singer said, “When record labels got turned over by digital it did not mean people stopped wanting music. It just meant people did not want to pay for records any more."

Noting music fans didn't quit spending money on the industry altogether, Dickinson stated, “They still pay for music, only in different ways. They buy the t-shirt, the concert ticket, the merchandise, but the music itself they get pretty much for free." Applying this to oil, he went on, “For the oil industry, people still need energy, but they will use it and get it in different ways. If the oil industry only concentrates on digging stuff out of the ground it will go the way of the dinosaurs."

Dickinson underlined the importance of diversification and "maintaining the skills base" within the industry, stating, “You need to think outside the box. If you’ve got something as complex as a helicopter, but it’s not needed to take oil workers around, maybe it could be doing something else." Looking forward at the eventual shift in energy, Dickinson also said, "One of the big drivers of renewables is not people’s desire to be green, it’s the requirement to be independent of unstable states around the world that have a lot of oil under the ground.”

In addition to singing for Iron Maiden, Dickinson has his hands in several business ventures over the decades, most recently investing half a million dollars in the world's largest aircraft. The Airlander 10 will serve as a humanitarian effort and can even act as a floating hospital to deliver essentials to countries in need.

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