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As I'm sure you know by now, I'm a avid, and perhaps rabid, Led Zeppelin fan and so of course I had to comment on the fact that the band recently announced that on November 13, 2007 their entire catalog will be available in digital format. This officially makes November 2007 the month of Zeppelin, what with reunion concerts, new DVD and album releases and this news all coinciding well in a sort of well orchestrated multi pronged marketing attack.
I found this news just slightly ironic... good and exciting for sure, but slightly amusing as well. I mean a band that was so album oriented back in the day that they wouldn't even release singles in the UK now having their music distributed in a format that almost implies that many people will only pick the songs they want... hmmmm, that's something to think about. At the same time though the fact that they are releasing another greatest hits collection this year as well is also sort of telling, although at least it will also come with a DVD.
Also kind of amusing is the news that they're partnering with Verizon to release Led Zeppelin ring tones. I'm in no way a ring tone fanatic. I use the standard ring on my phone and so really have no desire to have "Whole Lotta Love" alert me to every incoming call I get, but for those of who you do want that option... now you can. In my opinion, ring tones kind of cheapen music and make it less of an artistic statement and more of just some functional, commercial item. I guess it is a sort of tribute to the artist in a way, but still reducing something emotional and soulful to a simple sound to get your attention doesn't sit well with me. Neither does using songs in commercials as so many Zeppelin songs have been recently, but that's a topic for another port. To each their own I guess.
Led Zeppelin going digital is definitely good news though. I would like to see every band have their music available in all the major formats... even vinyl for those who prefer that... but if it's only digital and CD, that's better than nothing. Plus, this will probably turn more than a few people on to Led Zeppelin who might not otherwise be such big fans, not that they've ever had the problem getting fans. If you've actually never heard of this band, you can easily turn on just about any rock station on the planet and hear a Zeppelin song within the course of a few hours.
Personally I might have been more excited to hear that they were releasing all original albums in Deluxe and/or SACD versions like they were doing with Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones (I say were because I believe they've stopped unfortunately due to lack of interest). I already own all the Zeppelin albums, actually I think I own just about every song they ever recorded, but better quality and bonus material might just be enough to tempt me to buy new copies. Sames goes for the Beatles. The next big announcement will surely be the Beatles catalog finally going digital as well. I'm sure it will be hailed as some sort of digital music turning point (which I guess it sort of is), but I'd still be more excited to hear about new album versions being released.
Oh well, maybe that's coming next in the upcoming month of Led Zeppelin, I know it's what I'll be hoping for. For the time being, we can all go out and get our Zeppelin ring tones and soon enough get MP3s as well to start gearing up for the reunion show.