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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

July xx, 1969 - The band play many festivals now on their third American tour
July xx, 1970 - Additional recording for Led Zeppelin III at London’s Island Studios
July 16, 1970 - Photographer Chris Welch films Led Zeppelin on his 8mm camera, some clips later used in the Whole Lotta Love promo video
July xx, 1971 - Untitled gets re-mixed in London
July 05, 1971 - A riot erupts mid-concert, forcing Led Zeppelin to stop after about 40 minutes
July xx, 1972 - After repeated bad press, Led Zeppelin hire their first publicity firm
July 20, 1973 - A last minute decision is made to film the remaining part of the tour
July xx, 1973 - Led Zeppelin is filmed over the three nights for their film that will emerge as The Song Remains The Same
July xx, 1974 - After viewing their 1973 filmed performance, it is apparent critical errors were made
July xx, 1974 - Mixing for Physical Graffiti at Olympic Studios
July 05, 1975 - The band meet in Montreux to discuss adding South America and Japan to the end of their North American tour
July xx, 1976 - Bonham and Page fly to Montreux, Switzerland to check out some new sound and drum effects
July 17, 1977 - The last ever performance of Moby Dick played at the Seattle Kingdome
July 24, 1977 - The band plays its last US date at the Oakland Coliseum
July xx, 1978 - Led Zeppelin are invited to perform at Maggie Bell’s Festival Hall show
July xx, 1979 - Led Zeppelin film their rehearsal at Bray Studios
July 04, 1979 - Led Zeppelin confirm a second date at Knebworth in August 1979
July 05, 1980 - Simon Kirke joins in on drums for an encore in Munich
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