The Role of Sanctuary Management in Iron Maiden’s career 1978-1980 Pt3.

 Key business decisions made at Iron Maiden’s early career.

The self-released demo ‘The Soundhouse Tapes’ sold 3000 copies on the first week by mail-order only, and the remaining 2000 the following few weeks. Both Virgin and HMV stores phoned the management requesting for copies of the demo but the demo had been released for the die-hard fans only and, according to Steve Harris, it would have destroyed the magic of the original 5000 copies if more had been pressed. They decided to wait until they could do a release with EMI (Wall, 2004:104)

From the EMI £50,000 advance they decided to spend large portion of it (£35,000) on the first album, paying debts and buying new equipment. £15,000 would be set apart for the second album and nothing for the third (Wall, 2004:107). It was expected that money would be raised during this period for general running of the band and for recording of the third album.

One of the ways the band managed to survive with such tight budget for the early years was Rod’s careful monitoring of royalties from foreign record sales. Because of this type of sales take a few months be paid to the artist, Rod would convince the financial department in EMI to give him advances on money waiting to be paid from overseas.

Who signed the act’s publishing rights, why, when, & for how much.

Even before a record deal was obtained, Rod Smallwood managed to get a publishing deal with Zomba Music from which they received a cash advance of £40,000 (Wall, 2004:111).

Again, not a large amount of money upfront was pursued but getting the company to commit in the long term was. Ralph Simon and Clive Calder, head of Zomba at the time were intelligent enough to see the huge potential of the band based on their integrity, their loyal fanbase and the fact that their career was one that would ‘outlast most pop careers by an enormous ratio’ (Wall, 2004: 111)

The role of live performances in Iron Maiden’s career

Touring has always been very important for Iron Maiden and they claim to really enjoy playing live.

The band performances are very energetic andincorporated elements such as lights, fireworks and blood-dripping masks from the very beginning. Prior to securing a record deal, the band would tour up and down the country in a truck.

Iron Maiden live performances were always one of their strengths and they used it as a powerful marketing tool because it triggered fans to tell their friends thus making Iron Maiden more and more popular.

Soon after securing their record deal Rod Smallwood would appoint John Jackson as the band personal booking agent. He would put Maiden forward for any choice support slots in Britain and abroad. In 1980 Iron Maiden would embark on tours supporting Judas Priest and KISS.

New media in 1979 -80

During the late seventies, early eighties, Punk music fans started writing their own fanzines. Metal fans borrowed from the idea and by 1981 titles like Metal Fury, Metal Mania and others started to spring out revitalizing the UK rock scene (Wall, 2004:91).

Iron Maiden constantly feature in these magazines which helped them reach notoriety.


WALL, Mick (2004) Iron Maiden, Run to the Hills: The Authorized Biography. 3rd Edition, London: Sanctuary Publishing.

STENNING, Paul (2006) 30 Years of the Beast – The Complete Biography 1976 – 2006, New Malden UK: 2006

By Juan David Lopez, Legal Consultant

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