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Coming Soon to Online Streaming: Led Zeppelin

In the 1960s and '70s, Led Zeppelin's tough negotiations with record companies and concert promoters helped transform the music industry. Now the band is poised to make a change to the industry's latest hot sector: online subscription services.

The band is in negotiations with a number of subscription services for the right to stream Whole Lotta Love, Stairway to Heaven and the rest of the band's classic catalog. If it does reach a deal, the band - one of the biggest-selling acts in history - could help legitimize the subscription market, which has been slow to build a large customer base.

"We're excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Led Zeppelin to activate streaming rights for their catalog," a spokesman for the Warner Music Group, the band's longtime record label, said in a statement. "We're supportive of the band's discussions with W.M.G.'s streaming service partners to create a window of exclusivity to maximize the impact of this launch."

Among the companies in potential competition for the exclusive rights are Spotify, Rhapsody and Rdio, along with Deezer, which began in France and is interested in the American market. Depending on which service gets the deal, the band's presence could tip the competitive scales between them, putting a leader like Spotify far ahead or giving a needed boost to a smaller company like Rdio.

Because their catalogs are largely the same, the major subscription services compete on features like playlists and social integration, and also for exclusive content. Last year, the Red Hot Chili Peppers made an exclusive deal with Spotify, but many of the others now have the band's music as well. Metallica announced an exclusive deal with Spotify last month. These deals often come with marketing commitments as well as royalty advances, which for a band of Led Zeppelin's stature could be substantial.

Led Zeppelin has sold more than 111 million albums in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, and, with listening to its heavy guitars and whomping drums still a teenage rite, its catalog has held on to strong sales. Last year, the band sold about 840,000 albums in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The band was relatively slow to adapt to digital music, holding out until 2007 to sell its music on iTunes. But while few major holdouts remain in the download market - one of the last, AC/DC, finally came to iTunes late last year - streaming services remain frightening territory to some of the music industry's biggest names.

The Beatles, the Eagles, Pink Floyd and AC/DC are among the older stars mostly absent from streaming services. Many younger acts, like Taylor Swift and Adele, have withheld their latest music from streaming - at least for a time - to protect more lucrative download and CD sales.

From: New York Times
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

February 7, 1962 - Deborah Bonham, sister to John, was born in Redditch, Worcestershire, England
February 23, 1966 - Warren Grant, son of Peter, was born.
February xx, 1969 - Led Zeppelin enters the Billboard Top 40
February 16, 1969 - Led Zeppelin wrap up their first American tour in Baltimore, MD.
February 07, 1970 - Edinburgh gig cancelled after Plant receives facial injuries in a car accident
February 28, 1970 - The band performs as "The Nobs" in Copenhagen after threat of legal action from Countess Von Zeppelin
February xx, 1971 - John Paul Jones involved in legal issues regarding a musician who shares the same name
February xx, 1971 - Overdubs for the fourth album are recorded at Island Studios
February 14, 1972 - The band is refused admission into Singapore due to their long hair
February 16, 1972 - The Australian tour begins in Perth
February 21, 1972 - Led Zeppelin: Rock and Roll b/w Four Sticks (Atlantic 45-2865) 45 single is released in the US.
February xx, 1973 - The band makes final preparations for the European tour
February 16, 1973 - The release date for Houses Of The Holy is pushed back due to some sleeve problems
February xx, 1974 - Sessions for Physical Graffiti continue
February 14, 1974 - Page, Plant and Bonham attend a Roy Harper concert
February 04, 1975 - Zeppelin perform a last minute show at Nassau Coliseum to accomodate fans after being banned in Boston
February 24, 1975 - Physical Graffiti finally issued worldwide to phenomenal sales
February xx, 1976 - Media reports that Zeppelin are due to release an album entitled Obelisk
February xx, 1977 - Robert contracts a bout of tonsillitis postponing the American tour
February xx, 1978 - Robert Plant helps produce a record for punk band Dansette Damage
February 16, 1978 - The cases against Bonham, Cole & Grant stemming from the Oakland incident are heard and all receive suspended prison sentences and fines
February xx, 1979 - Although absent from the US stage or market, Led Zeppelin rank best in many music magazine categories
February xx, 1979 - Mixing sessions for In Through The Out Door take place at Polar Studios. Rumors fly of a European tour
February 03, 1980 - Robert joins Dave Edmund’s Rockpile at the Birmingham Top Rank
February 13, 2005 - Led Zeppelin receives a Grammy for Lifetime Achievment.
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