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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

May 31, 1948 - John Henry Bonham was born at Redditch, Worchestershire
May xx, 1969 - The band’s debut album enters the US Top 10
May xx, 1969 - Recording sessions for Led Zeppelin II begin
May xx, 1970 - The band works on new material at Bron-Y-Aur
May 03, 1971 - Richard Cole jams on Whole Lotta Love playing congas
May xx, 1972 - Houses Of The Holy recording sessions on location at Stargroves and Olympic studios
May 27, 1972 - Warm-up gigs kick off in Holland for an upcoming American tour
May 04, 1973 - Led Zeppelin gross nearly $250,000 for their performance in Atlanta, GA
May 05, 1973 - 56,800 attend the second show of the 1973 US tour at Tampa. This sets a record for the largest attendance for a one-act performance, previously held by the Beatlesfor their Shea Stadium show in 1965
May 10, 1974 - Swan Song Records is officially launched
May 11, 1974 - Led Zeppelin attend an Elvis concert and are thrilled when Elvis announces that Led Zeppelin is in the building
May 10, 1975 - Showco ships their PA system and video screens for the Earls Court shows from Dallas to London
May 23, 1976 - Page and Plant join Bad Company onstage at the LA Forum
May 21, 1977 - The Houston Summit claims $500,000 in damages to their venue caused by rowdy fans
May xx, 1978 - The band reunite at Clearwater Castle to rehearse
May 22, 1979 - It is officially announce that Led Zeppelin will headline at the Knebworth Festival in August
May 15, 1980 - After many revisions the European tour dates are finalized and the band is scheduled to open in Germany
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