October 23, 2007 by
On what one of its top executives calls "the day we've been waiting for, for four years," Led Zeppelin today (Oct. 23) made its catalog available for pre-order at Apple's iTunes Music Store, leaving the Beatles and Radiohead as the lone major acts still absent from the service.
The group's individual albums, as well as a one-click download for $99 that encompasses Zeppelin's entire 165-song catalog, will go live Nov. 13 on iTunes. Also that day, Rhino releases "Mothership," a 24-track Zeppelin retrospective.
"We're really excited for our fans," iTunes VP Eddy Cue tells Billboard.biz. "[Zeppelin] is by far, and has been for four years, one of our most requested bands." As for the digital boxed set, Cue says, "We've held this out for the special artists that have a significant fan base. It's probably the best boxed set we've ever done, in any kind of price range."
Fans who pre-order Zeppelin's music from the U.S., U.K. or Japan versions of iTunes will be entered into a drawing to win a trip to and tickets for the band's one-off Nov. 26 concert in London. Three winners will be chosen; the prize also includes access to a private dress rehearsal the day before.
"When the band mentioned that to us, we thought, not only is that gravy, but it is such a cool extra," says David Dorn, senior vice president of e-Commerce for Rhino Entertainment, who spoke to Billboard from Japan while launching the Zeppelin iTunes catalog there.
Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, a hardcore audiophile who told Billboard in 2003 how anxious he was to offer the band's music in 5.1 Audio, has spoken with Rhino about potential upgrades to the catalog.
"At the moment, we haven't reached the point which I would say is where Jimmy ultimately sees us getting to in a digital format," he reports. "But we're very quickly getting to that place. He sees the potential in the digital marketplace for a much higher quality offering."
Dorn also clarified reports that no live recording would be made of the Zeppelin concert, which is being staged as a tribute to late Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun.
"They're not allowing a broadcaster of any kind to record the show and put it out there," Dorn says. "But the band is recording it for their own archive. They'll decide what they want to do with it."