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
This Month in