Analysis

Just how popular are Led Zeppelin with streaming music users?


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Led Zeppelin signed an exclusive streaming deal for their back catalogue with Spotify in December 2013, leaving not a whole lotta love (sorry) for rival streaming services. That relationship has since taken in the latest set of Led Zep remasters, and a tribute to ‘Led Zeppelin IV’ as part of Spotify’s Landmark series.

But yesterday, the band’s catalogue spread its wings and flew to other services: Deezer, Tidal and Rdio are among those to have announced that they have it. Deezer Elite and Tidal, obviously, have it at HD quality, with Led Zeppelin likely to figure prominently in both services’ efforts to court an audiophile audience. But it’s a good time to consider just how popular this kind of band are for a general streaming audience.

Music Ally’s analysis of Led Zeppelin’s public Spotify stats reveals a total of 183.1m streams across the band’s catalogue. No surprises for guessing the most popular track: Stairway to Heaven, with nearly 17.4m plays in its recorded version.

But (predictable comment) Led Zeppelin were an albums band, so a more important stat may be Led Zeppelin IV’s status as the band’s most popular album on Spotify, with 45.5m streams, pipping Led Zeppelin’s 36.6m, Led Zeppelin II’s 29.2m and Led Zeppelin III’s 25.8m.

One interesting point: for albums released twice – e.g. the original and recent deluxe remasters of those four albums – Spotify shows exactly the same play-counts for tracks: Stairway to Heaven shows 17.4m streams on both the original and deluxe versions of IV, indicating that Spotify is conflating its play counts. We’ve thus only counted those tracks once for our analysis.

In any case, the total payout for Led Zeppelin streams since December 2013 is between $1.1m and $1.5m. A fun stat: Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud single, with 228.3m plays, has out-streamed Led Zep’s entire catalogue on Spotify.

(No quality comparison is meant by that, obviously: if anything, it’s an illustration of the differing nature of their fanbases in terms of access versus ownership: think how many Led Zeppelin fans already own the band’s albums in various physical formats…)

Stuart Dredge

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