Led Zeppelin enters the digital age

Legendary rock group Led Zeppelin is finally allowing fans to download the band

What happened

Legendary rock group Led Zeppelin has finally decided to let fans download its records. Zeppelin struck a deal with Verizon Wireless to offer its songs first as ringtones, then as downloads through digital-music services including iTunes on Nov. 13. In a separate deal with music publisher Warner/Chappell Music, Zeppelin will receive about $60 million for extending its contract for 10 years.

What the commentators said

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You’ve got to wonder if this has something to do with the recent move by that other huge British band, said the blog ParisLemon.com. “Was Warner worried that Zeppelin would go out on its own to distribute digitally a la Radiohead?” Going digital is a smart move, but “for some reason the people who actually buy ringtones don’t strike me as the crowd that is really into Led Zeppelin.”

It’s great that Led Zeppelin is entering the digital age, said Jeff Skruck in Prefix Magazine’s blog, but it’s a little sad, too. After all, “how are we supposed to roll our joints without a Houses of the Holy album cover?”

There are still people out there that don’t have Zeppelin’s entire catalog in digital form? said Vince Veneziani in the blog CrunchGear.com. I guess “if I didn’t pirate so much and have every Zep album already, I’d be pretty damned psyched about this news” too.

Zeppelin’s deal with Warner isn’t so much about making the band’s music more available, said Jeff Leeds in The New York Times. Zeppelin’s songs “are regularly traded on unauthorized file-sharing services.” For Warner, it was about “preventing the exit of a marquee act,” especially “at a time when competition for copyrights—which generate income through licenses to commercial, radio, airplay and the like—is coming from a variety of new players.” This was a major “victory” for the label.

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