From Glitter to Gold: A Comparative Analysis of the Innovative Business Methodology that Transpired During the Career of Led Zeppelin

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From Glitter to Gold: A Comparative Analysis of the Innovative Business Methodology that Transpired During the Career of Led Zeppelin
Lepera, Jacob
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Blues music ( jstor )
Folk music ( jstor )
Marketing ( jstor )
Music industry ( jstor )
Music notation ( jstor )
Musical bands ( jstor )
Musical performance ( jstor )
Musical talent ( jstor )
Rock music ( jstor )
Tours ( jstor )
Led Zeppelin (Musical group)
Music trade
Rock groups
Undergraduate Honors Thesis


Led Zeppelin is considered one of the most successful rock bands to have ever existed. The life cycle of the band is most often analyzed in terms of music and media. However, there has been little academic attention given to the business methodology innovated by the band. The relationship as to how these practices were the paramount foundation is barely recognized in academia although it holds the correlating rationales for the success of such a massive name in music. In this study, a comparative analysis was utilized to explore the innovative business methodology that transpired during the life cycle of Led Zeppelin. This analysis provides a brief explanation and synopsis regarding the formation of the band and their musical style. And then, business principles are paralleled with explanations as to the strategies that were subsequently employed. The most significant element of this analysis relates to the pioneering management style of Led Zeppelin’s business manager, Peter Grant. Even though this analysis does not explore specific fields of business in great detail, it provides the ground for future research. The analysis was primarily completed via in-depth study of previously authored biographies, official Led Zeppelin albums, DVDs, and various Web sites. ( en )
General Note:
Awarded Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration; Graduated December 20, 2011 summa cum laude. Major: Business Administration - General Studies
General Note:
Advisor: Ji Hoon Lee
General Note:
Warrington College of Business Administration

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Copyright Jacob Lepera. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.


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! "#$#%&!! From Glitter to Gold: A Comparative Analysis of the Innovative Business M ethodology t hat Transpired During the C areer of Led Zeppelin Created from the ashes of the Yardbirds by guitarist and session wizard Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin featured virtuoso bas s player John Paul Jones, gonzo drummer John Bonham, and Robert Plant, a vocalist like no other before him The band single handedly defined what rock 'n' roll could be, leaving in their wake a trail of tales as tall or as real as we wanted them to be ( B ream and Alford 2 ) A half decade was all that was nec essary for music to be forever altered Led Zeppelin emerged from obscurity and hastily embarked o n a journey of monumental growth celebrity stardom, and success Speculation is simplistic in hind sight as to fatalism contributing to the successes of a band hallmarked for their popularity Albeit, the intentions were of no regard to a methodical academia approach; h owever detailed analysis of Led Zeppelin's career identifies factual logic as it r elates to the catalytic decisions that elevated the band to stardom The successful implementation of business theory and skills facilitated the rapid progre ssion and long term viability, which rightly seizes their reputations as the greatest rock band of all time The chronological formation of Led Zeppelin begins with t he musical partnership of Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and the Yardbirds one of the first and most suc cessful British Invasion bands that set the stage for blues rock guitarists Eventually, in 1968


! "#$#%&!! ( the Yardbirds dissolved because of a grueling tour schedule (Bream and Alford) Peter Grant the man who would become the famous manager of Led Zeppelin, joined Pa ge as their manager in 1968. H owever Grant and Page would later sever their ties with Bec k to begin their quest to reestablish the departed Yardbirds Later that year Page and Grant attended a college gig where Robert Plant was performing Impressed with hi s performance, they approached Plant after the show and convinced him to atte nd a rehearsal Along with two other studio musicians, John Paul Jones and John Bonham, the four young Englishmen in a small 18 by 30 room played an improvisational session of "The Train Kept A Rollin' (Bream and Alford) Page would later claim this mo ment to be "indescribable" as it was t he moment Led Zeppelin was born The true derivation of the group's name has remained unverified to date However, the consensus of most people as to the origin comes from a performance at Surry University on Octobe r 25, 1968 In attendance were Keith Moon and John Entwistle from The Who, a fellow British rock band Their response to the performance was that "the band was going to go down like a lead zeppelin ," referring to the German airship designed by Count Fer dinance von Zeppelin (Bream and Alford 30 ) Page and Plant took this comment as an aside and in a spiteful sense, decided to name the group Lead Zeppelin It was Grant who changed the name to Led Zeppelin to avoid any mispronunciation, a small glimpse o f his business genius that was yet to come (Bream and Alford)


! "#$#%&!! ) A definitive element of Led Zeppelin was their amalgamation of various musical styles and inspirations From a business perspective, the stylistic characteristics of Led Zeppelin comprised a differentiation strategy, with the product of their unique style affording the group a unique competitive advantage Webster s defines strategy as an adaptation or complex of adaptations (as of behavior or structure) that serves or appears to serve an i mportant function in achieving evolutionary success Zeppelin's aptitude for transforming the roots of well founde d styles of music such as Chicago blues, blue grass, country, E astern ragas, progressive rock British folk and even presaging punk into t heir own genre of rock exemplifies the important function in succeeding in an evolutionary sense American rock musician Lenny Kravitz once said, "They are one of my favorite rock n' roll bands The power, the songwriting, the innovation, how they took the blues and electrified and turned it into its own thing to absolute thunder (Bream and Alford Preface) The pillars of their style that ul timately identify Led Zeppelin, were the intricate attention to musical detail, atypical lyrical writings, and co nstantly pushing the limits of emulation Plant has admitted that he did not have an intricate rudimentary knowledge of music (Wall) Nevertheless, each respective member had virtuoso abilities of their craft and the band synchronized like a well oiled machine There were no typical Zeppelin songs Every unique piece of music writte n by this group was innovative, questionably obscure and painted a vivid and compelling presence Mythology, fantasy, and exotic cultures were significant influences in Plant's


! "#$#%&!! lyrical composition Kashmir ," for example, was influenced by Plant s time spent in India The Atlas Mountains, former Spanish Sahara, and the streets of Tangier and Marrakesh in Morocco are examples of the far reaching cultural inspirations th at Page and Plant often sought (Davis and Simon) For their seventh album Plant stated that he and Page were going hunting in the jungle for new words and new songs for a new album (Davis and Simon 117) Claimed to be the greatest rock song in existenc e, Stairway to Heaven was inspired by the book, The Magic Arts in Celtic Britain written by (antiquarian) Lewis Spence (Davis and Simon) It has been claimed that there was a driving force behind its lyrics, having taken a mere twenty minutes to comple te The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J R R Tolkien can be identified as being significant source to the writing of the song as well Plant included numerous direct references of the trilogy in his lyrics In a time period when other artists composed mu sic concerned with social issues, such as the Vietnam War, Led Zeppelin differentiated it s elf via imaginative stories infused with exoticism, sexual allusion, and Tolkeinesque imagery (Bream and Alford) The group notes some of t he greatest artists of all time, such as Elvis Presley Little Richard, Stevie Wonder, Robert Johnson, and Willie Dixon, as their primary s ources of musical inspiration (Davis and Simon). Page attributes his style to the influence of vast genre s As a product of the s e influences, Page recognized that he was always trying to bring something fresh to anything he uses Paul Simon noted, "If you borrow from one source, they call you a plagiarist, but if you borrow from three, they


! "#$#%&!! + call you prolific" (Bream and Alford 67). Ironically though, their inimitable style came from their ability to construct music based upon inspiration and borrowed ideas Page has been accused of being a "riff bandit ," lifting several tunes outright from folk and blues artists (Bream and Alford) A notori ous legal dispute with the band arose when it became apparent that they ripped off lyrics for their song "Whole Lotta Love from the famous blues artist Willie Dixon's "You Need Love The band eventually admitted wrongdoing and would give credit to Dix on on the song (Lee) Page once stated, "Robert was supposed to change the lyrics, and he didn't always do that which is what brought on most of the grief and jokingly went on to say, "I f there is any plagiarism, just blame Robert" (Bream and Alford 67) Led Zeppelin only borrowed from the best Nevertheless, the adaptations of musical and lyrical influences harmonized with a mastery of technical skills, produced the stylistic differentiation that can be categorized as the strategic competitive advanta ge in the evolutionary success of the group The fundamental notion that any new venture must succeed is the principle of creating value for their customer With respect to commerce, an entity must provide a service or product that users will gain utili ty from, material or intangible Led Zeppelin' s strategic focus on their music al style, public image, and dedication to live performances subsequently became the ultimate catalyst in generating a fan base, or with respect to business, a customer base Co nversely, this same uniqueness resulted in intense media negativity Early reviews of Zeppelin records and concerts were negative, unkind, and even vitriolic They were described as an unholy amalgam of hype, money,


! "#$#%&!! depravity, and Satanism (Davis and Sim on) This lack of enthusiasm only added to the mystique and awe of the super group Their live performances have been described as "cosmic odysseys exotic journeys that built to a symphonic crescendo bringing the audience to its feet (Davis and Simon 1 29 ). The band had an intricate knowledge of their audience captivation and channeled this medium to elevate Zeppelin concerts to the ultimate musical experience, a mass concentration that could be transposed into a mystical energy would materialize an actu al stairway to heaven The trance like effect of music is an ability that has even been claimed a dangerous power possessed by the artists for fear of the audiences' safety (Davis and Simon) Page stated, "I t's really a mantra, and we've been attacked fo r that" (Davis and Simon 129). He al so noted in a rare interview, "T he whole idea of music from the beginning of time was for people to be happy" ( Led Zeppelin ) By the mid 1970's, Led Zeppel in was at the top of their game, titans of the music industry Even after their self admitted worst shows, they were received with grand applause When seen by fans, Plant would wave to them "as if he were the lord of the castle and they were the peasants waiting across the moat" (Davis and Simon 130 ) The subsist e nce of anything Zeppelin was that of the stature of a Greek God and their customers demanded a product only Page, Plant, Bonham, and Jones could collectively produce While the individuality and musical talent of each member has never been doubted in p rocuring the prosperous nature of the band, the initial success of Led Zeppelin must be accredited to the progressive thinking of their manager, Peter Grant


! "#$#%&!! Dubbed "the fifth zeppelin ," Grant was a former professional wrestler who came from the era befor e accountants and lawyers took over the music business known as the "wild west days of the music biz a time when there was little regard for formalized business and legality practices. He was described as a man who liked to see himself as a cultured man of wealth and taste, who could just as easily associate with the wealthy as he could with the poor. He carried himself with a gangster like figure and never argued with you, rather he would tell you how it was (Wall 20 ) Under innovative managerial gu idance, Grant created the template for the super group and would determine the pinnacle marketing, financial, and public relations decisions leading to Zeppelin's recognition as both the loudest and highest grossing band in rock history (Bream and Alford) Working alongside Grant, Page wou ld emerge as the leader of the four band members He was the producer, chief songwriter, and the mixing supe rvisor The studio was his creative space: drums detonated like canons, sound effects were layered, looped, and dubbed The texture of the music was worked like a painter mixing oils and colors He was the architect creating the Taj Mahal of rock music (Bream and Alford) According to Merriam Webster, a n entrepreneur is formally defined as one who organizes, manag es, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise The more heuristic distinction lies in the ability to be innovative, to solve a problem or create new value, to be a do er Led Zeppelin embodies the entrepreneurial s pirit in every sense and can be distinctly deemed in the realm of the modern day ultra successful


! "#$#%&!! companies that started with a simple idea and motivated leaders In the music industry, Zeppelin and the duo of Grant and Page were the equivalent of the Apple and Steve Jobs and Steve Wozn iak respectively The British music industry as a whole was ahead of its time in t erms of music "businessmanship," with mega groups such as The Beatles with their manager Brian Epstein as well as The Rolling Stones (Lee) These groups understood full w ell that great music alone would not guarantee prosperity, but a strategic international approach of marketing, public relation s, and financial managements were necessary to achieve complete operational victory of a rock band In the early days, Page and Grant exhibited a true entrepreneurial spirit According to, bootstrapping, a common practice of new ventures, is the method of stretching the use from resources and time during a growth period Page had self financed and completely rec orded the first Zeppelin album before ever getting a record deal (Bream and Alford) It was a raw, ragged, and manic sounding recording, but it did the job Page always emphasized efficiency with their recording session by keeping their strategic visions of the group aligned with the current task at hand Able to maximize what precious free time they had, most of their songs were written by Page and Plant in hotel rooms and dressing rooms With minimal resources at their disposal in many instances it i s extremely enlightening to realize what can be accomplished by creative geniuses Constant innovation was key in the evolution of Led Zeppelin, encapsulating their entrepreneurial fortitude The group would incorporate all sorts of new effect devices as


! "#$#%&!! / they became available and utilize d an array of new instrumentation to create novel sounds John Paul Jones introduced a Mellotron keyboard, a Steinwa y grand piano, and a Hohner D6 C lavinet throughout his tenure (Davis and Simon) Page would utilize fuzz boxes, wah wah pedals, overdriven amplifiers, and a 16 and 24 track tape machine for recording something unheard of during those years (Bream and Alford) Page became famous for his distinctive use of double neck guitars, experimental feedback techniques weird thermion sounds, and most notably the use of a string bow to play his guitar during live performances of "Dazed and Confused One of the most famous Zeppelin songs "All of My Love ," written for Plant's son who tragically died of an illness, fea tured an entire orchestral string section Further, the acclimatization of their music to the prog ressing time periods and the evolution of the music alone remains a remarkable aspect of their creativity In the later portion of their career, the genre o f New Wave emerged and their album In Through the Outdoo r articulated this modernization Persist ency, end uring enthusiasm, and constant innovation redefined greatness in the music industry and also perpetrated all five leading members of the Led Zeppelin business as true entrepreneurs, geniuses of commerce and music As inspirational and bright as the aforementioned entrepreneurial facets of Led Zeppelin were, the true brilliance of their career res ide in the functional business aspects of Marketing and Finance With the benefit of hindsight, the ingenious nature and inherent business aptitude of Grant and Page can be classified as being at the forefront and ahead of their time Analysis of these elements provide the acute


! "#$#%&!! '0 exemplification as to how pro gressive business methodology fashioned a medium for Led Zeppelin to accomplish what had never been done before and still to this day has never been duplicated The American Marketing Association (AMA) a leading authority in the field of professional mark eting and marketing academia, formally defines m arketing as an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders Primarily the relationship between the organization an d its stakeholders is the predominant channel for the creation of value In Led Zeppelin's case, the band represented the organization and the fanbase and the media represented th e stakeholders. Customer relationship management and the employed communication techniques by Zeppelin proved to be a vital tactic throughout the relatively short livelihood of the band in its entirety By virtue of their musicianship embodied by the ar tist ic mastery of their art, the fruition of a well defined niche organically evolved The AMA distinguishes niche strategies "as an approach employed by a firm that specializes in serving particular market segments in order to avoid clashing with the majo r competitors in the market The shear mystique of the band members, the nostalgia in the lyrics, and the strange rumors surrounding the band situated Led Zeppelin in an elite solidarity Although the Beatles had distinctive music and marketing differe ntials Page stated in an interview that there was a vast difference in musical style betwee n the two bands and they had never endeavored to emulate them ( Led Zeppelin )


! "#$#%&!! '' Speculation among the fans that supernatural forces were responsible for the ampli fied success of the band, along with the well documented obsessions with supernatural forces and black magic facilitated the branding of Led Zeppelin Plant believed in psyc hic phenomena and Page had a deep interest in the occult, even taking residence in the Boleskin House, the former home of infamous satanist Aleister Crowley (RollingStone com) Perhaps the most notorious exhibition of their spiritual fixation is highlighted by their fourth album, on which Jimmy Page inspired the four band members to ch oose symbols to represent their names on the album cover The album itself was called four symbols (Duncan) To this day, each symbol continues to be interpreted in various respects With respect to the unknown musical origination facet s of the band the lyrics to Stairway to Heaven lays claims to an array of numerous elucidations, but the true basis of the lyrics remains with its creator, Robert Plant The fascination illustrated by these legendary obscurities laid the foundation for the calculat ed management over media relations, public image, and album releases Led Zeppelin seldom let journalists anywhere near the band As a r esult of harsh reviews early in 1968, relations with the press deteriora ted to the point of opposition (Davis and Sim on) John Bonham was known for his display of paranoid loathing towards the media (Bream and Alford) Regardless of the fact that Zeppelin was outsell ing the biggest bands of the era such as The Rolling Stones, The Who, Jethro Tull, and Yes, the media p ersisted to ignore Led Zeppelin The band retaliated by


! "#$#%&!! '( banning all photographers and writers T he y entrusted a very select group of people that could be relied on to publish positive articles with band authorized photographs (Davis and Simon) Public ap pearances and non concert performances were few and far between and only with Grant's intense scrutiny and stringent prerequisites Grant stated, "T hey weren't a band you saw on TV, they were the sort of band that to really appreciate you really had to se e in person, live on stage" (Wall 129 ). This mentality epitomizes the stellar success of Led Zeppelin concerts After touring relentlessly during their early years, Zeppelin began alternating their touring years The band s 1973 U S tour broke box offic e records previously set by T he Beatles In t he same year, they set the record for the largest paid audience by one act at 56,800 attendees By 1975 the massive ticket sales proved that Zeppelin was indeed the most popular roc k n' roll group in the wo rld (RollingStone com) Even Elvis Presley has been quoted as saying, "I may not be Led Zeppelin, but I can still pack em in" (Davis and Simon 23) Voyaging around the globe in their private Boeing737, dubbed "Starship One ," the year 1975 is summarized as a n epic year of travel, artistic success, musical crea tivity, and personal exaltation Entire North American shows sold out within hours For their appearance at Madison Square Garden in New York City, 60,000 tickets for three different shows sold out in a mere three hours on a Sunday morning (Davis and Simon) Basic economics can make the determination that an


! "#$#%&!! ') insatiable demand existed, with the supply at the will of five men One thing was certain; profitability was seemingly infinite From a chro nology perspective, the success of Led Zeppelin commenced with the preliminary negotiations and p resentiments of Grant and Page An authoritative figure, Peter Grant got his start working for the notorious British rock manager Don Arden Grant first as sumed a tour manager position with The Animals and it was on his inaugural tour with the group that he developed his ruthless business dexterity under the command of Arden He observed the sizeable profits that a band such as The Animals generated, but w as baffled by how little actually filtered back to the band This monetary perplexity materialized during this tour that would later direct the contractual agreements made in his Zeppelin days Eventually, Grant an d Arden parted ways over Arden's questio nable accounting practices (Bream and Alford) Interestingly, Grant and Led Zeppelin never formally set Grant's management status in writing and al l business between the two parties was conducted with an informal handshake (Wall) This aspect alone woul d be unheard of in today's music industry and speaks volumes to how noteworthy the relationship actually was between them The four members of Zeppelin viewed Grant as a father figure who could do no wrong In return, he was devoted in never ceasing to a ct only in the band's best interest He kept everyone and anyone away from the band to allow them to have the personal space necessary to sustain their artistic integrity and overall emotional


! "#$#%&!! '* wellbeing Grant had a zero tolerance approach that extended to record company executives, promoters, agents, merchandisers, journalists, and anyone who had anything to do with the band (Wall) On numerous occasions he sought out suspected record shops dealing Zeppelin bootlegs and smash ed them all over the shop He was also known to throw anyone out of a concert he suspected of having recording equipment to be used with the intent of producing bootlegs (Bream and Alford) In a humorous example of his allegiance to Zeppelin, Grant introduced himself to Bob Dylan. "I'm Peter Grant, manager of Led Zeppelin ," Grant said. Dylan responded, "I don't come to you with my problems, do I?" (Bream and Alford 83). Led Zepp elin was his only client and the conviction by which he re pre sented the band with caused people to fear Grant and agree to his every request so that they too could be involved in the Zeppelin phenomena Following the path of some of the most successful preceding British rock groups such as The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, Grant knew that because of th e media bias towards rock music in England, the United States was the ultimate destination that wo uld secure the fate of the band in every aspect T he 2003 live album titled How the West Was Won explicate s this decision Robert Plant explained in an inte rview, "It was the first place I ever landed in America: the first time I ever saw a cop with a gun, the first time I ever saw a twenty foot long car People were genuinely welcoming us to the country and we started out on a path of positive enjoyment (B ream and Alford 34). However, the early days weren't all simplistic successes Grant had to remain extremely aggressive in securing tour stops, having picked up a canceled Jeff Beck


! "#$#%&!! '+ show in one instance The first tour was projected to be a financial ba th, receiving as little as 100 British pounds a show (Wall) Page claims to this day that they made no money on their first tour (Bream and Alford) Realizing the vast potential of Led Zeppelin, Grant sought out to develop a lucrative relationship with the record companies Atlantic Records held the status as the most respected and influential label in the music business at that time and Atlantic's founders, Jerry Wexler and Ahmet Erte gun, were astute businessmen Due to Ertegun's intuition, Atlantic was notorious for signing new hard rock groups, such as Cream, Vanilla Fudge, and Yes These were up and coming talents that other music labels were not willing to take on as a risk However, Ertegun had the exultant habit of listening to what others dee med too progressive He was every musician's friend and every businessman's reverie (Wall) Two weeks before Grant was to arrive in New York City to meet with Atlantic, a partnership between Page and Grant was formed They created a production company Superhype, solely for Led Zeppelin This was a groundbreaking arrangement for that time that afforded the band a remarkable level of control over their products Anything that might one day bear the name Led Zeppelin was placed under their jurisdiction, including all aspects of production, artwork, choice of singles, photos, marketing procedures for both vinyl and non vinyl products, and most obscure, the option of leasing back control over master tapes Page was to produce the records and Grant


! "#$#%&!! ', would be the executive producer All that would be left for Atlantic to fulfill was manufacturing, distribution, and some degree of promotion The record company of the Rolling Stones would later imitate this revolutionary formulation, with Rolling Stone Records (Wall) Grant secured Led Zeppelin the largest single advance ev er offered to an unsigned artist because Atlantic had the diligent insight to be able to comprehend the massive potential of Zeppelin Er tegun procured a five album five year deal with a $143,000 advance for the first year, plus four one year options, totaling $220,000 (Bream and Alford) The first pay check each band member received was a staggering 3,000 British Pounds, compared to their previous average imbursement of a mere 25 to 40 Pounds The shear magnitude of their initial deal formulation was unprecedented in the music business and it came with the realization that the near future had a significant promise of prosperity From the onset, Ertegun and Grant developed a great rela tionship and much of Zeppelin's success undoubtedly came from their intricate rapport (Wall) Grant orchestrated a systemic operating plan for Led Zeppelin that was focused on artistic integrity and securin g an environment that would be nothing less tha n beneficial to his clients Page and Grant agreed that everything would rest on the success of the albums as a single entity, a feat no other major rock artist had ever attempted As a res ult, the release of a Zeppelin single was a rare occurrence throu ghout their career Furthermore, Zeppelin was bold and daring enough to release


! "#$#%&!! '! double sided albums, something other big names wouldn't even fathom However, the future would later prove this action to become a cause cŽlbre (Wall) Grant's awareness t hat the American FM rock market valued albums over singles, reasoned him to insist Zeppelin be promoted as an "album band" (Bream and Alford) For their 1975 tour, Zeppelin embarked with no new album, with Page still refusing to mix any singles (Davis and Simon). Page told Cameron Crowe, one of their renowned biographers, that in many cases "Atlantic would get albums to the FM stations only a couple of days before they got into town" (Bream and Alford 42). This contrarian attitude concerning the record i ndustry was their maxim and Page once proclaimed "T he aim wasn't to be hugely successful We were fairly confident that we would be able to make a living by making music that we wanted to without compromise" (Wall 127). Grant even held the right as a co ndit ion within the Atlantic Records contract to restrain the label from releasing Zeppelin singles This was an option he would exercise with force in the UK, wherein not even one single was ever released Quickly topping the charts across the world, L ed Zeppelin soon progressed into the world's largest audience drawing live rock band Grant's business luminosity truly shined in his confounding managerial actions with respect to tour administrations Knowing how little bands profited off concert gates Grant took control of the booking and promotion of all Zeppelin concerts (Bream and Alford) Thus, t he massive profits of selling out stadiums stayed with the band, rather than the promoters and booking agents The status quo revenue split during those days was an even 50/50, but on the


! "#$#%&!! '. 1975 tour Grant commanded an unprecedented 90% share leaving virtually nothing for t he local promoter s He would claim that 10% of Zeppelin w as better than 50% of nothing, leav ing to t he promoters with no other choice b ut to oblige (Davis and Simon) Other big name rock acts would later pursue these hefty revenue splits as Zeppelin paved the path The band commanded guarantees of 100,000 attendees per concert and Grant had even turned down a spot in the famous 1969 Woo dstock because he didn't want Zeppelin to compete for attention with the other big name acts like Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane (Bream and Alford) In another one of Grant's episodes he would challenge promoter Bill Graham in San Francisco and fini sh out on top Graham had a near monopoly on the local concert business and an ego as large as Grant s Their feud was referenced to the likes of King Kong versus Godzilla (Davis and Simon) While concerts played in the U nited S tates accounted for the lion's share of their total career tour stops, Grant ensured the band's touring would include a diverse and truly global market International business was a fairly new concept to the music industry, but its market potential was of no diminutive nature to Grant South America, India, Africa, Japan, Australia were all visited or seriously considered destinations (Led It was Grant's business acumen that ensured Led Zeppelin's debut tour would take the band to all the right places Furthermo re, Grant knew that it was Jimmy Page 's expertise as a live performer that ensured they would be remembered by everyone fortunate enough to catch their shows (Wall)


! "#$#%&!! '/ Unfortunately, the millions in revenue prod uced by any band are subject to income taxat ion, with Led Zeppelin being of no exclusion The Inland Revenue tax assessed by the B ritish government taxed the artist s song publishing royalty income at an appalling 95% in some cases Untenable for the biggest bands like Led Zeppelin, their publishi ng records were the only certainty of ensuring income from their recordings On the advice of their accountants, they became tax exiles in order to secure more than $40 million in album sales and tour income (Wall) Still, this amount only represented sl ightly more than half of their total revenue stream Having spent an entire year on the road to employ these crafty tax measures, they would come into additional issues with the Internal Revenue Service of the United States, and once again be forced to ta ke a leave of absence from the respected country in or der to avoid further taxation (Davis and Simon) In one instance, Plant joked around at a "farewell" UK concert for the fans to tell Denis Healy, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the equivalent to the United S tate's Internal Revenue S ervice ) that "We've gone Undisputedly, the clever financial management of Led Zeppelin enabled them to retain their massive accumulations of wealth While tax avoidance is illegal, minimizing tax liabilities is a cunnin g technique th at was well employed by Grant and a significantly under represented factor in the fiscal success of Zeppelin As the career of Led Zeppelin matured, Grant and Page sought after new business ventures to capitalize on their successes Moti vated twofold by business and ego, Swan Song R ecords was founded as Led Zeppelin's own record label While the


! "#$#%&!! (0 main intuition was tax liability minimization, Swan Song also put an end to disputes with Atlantic over record sleeves, mastering, singles, and release dates According to Page, "Swan Song was not going to be an ego thing We're going to be signing and developing other acts too" (Wall 313). Further exemp lifying this point, Plant said, We didn't start Swan Song to make more bread I mean what a re we going to do with more bread? (Wall 313). They organized an arrangement that permitted the conception of Swan Song, but kept the capability to use the distribution of Atlantic Records Distribution being their primary concern, this pact guaranteed no immedi ate shortfalls in record sales In true corporate business spirits, Grant and Page continued to form sub companies to further protect the profitability and legality of their empire Joanline Music Incorporated was created to publish all future L ed Zeppelin songs Another sub company owned by the group, Cullderstead, was also registered for Swan Song as a business name Page kept his word regarding new artists signings and shortly after the creation of Swan Song, Bad Company became their first signed group (Wall) Led Zeppelin, through their own feature film project also employed cross marketing The Song Remains the Same expanded upon their original idea of a concert performance interspersed with interviews and offstage footage The direct or Joe Massot said, "We wanted to show them as individuals, but not in the traditional way with interviews They wanted more symbolic representations of themselves" (Wall 306). A h umanist side of Zeppelin was portrayed in the film and while the film its elf was not a


! "#$#%&!! (' massive success, it adds a sundry dimension to the infinite resume of Zeppelin accomplishments On September 24, 1980, John Paul Jones went to wake John Bonham up from a drunken slumber Unresponsive to Jones, the horrific realization tha t Bonham had died became apparent Paramedics proclaimed that while sleeping he had choked on his own vomit from alcohol consumption The tragic death of Bonham would prove too much for the band to handle S oon after Bonham's funeral Pla nt, speaking for the remaining members, told Grant, "We can't go on without Bonham His death marked the end of the Led Zeppelin era Grant and Page would later exercise their fruitions of the rigid manager ial institutions set in place for years to co me In 1999, the recording industry announced that the band was only the third act in music history to achieve four or more diamond certified albums in the United States which signify album sales of 10 million copies ( However, t he impl ications procured from the structural organization of the band's business management were not fully realized until well into the 21 st century Page silently exercised his position as the band's unofficial archivist during their entire career by releasing two best selling live show collections in 2003: t he three disc album How The West Was Won an d the DVD set Led Zeppelin Later in 2007, he expanded both the album and film The Song Remains the Same for a re release accompanied by yet another chart toppi ng best of collection, Mothership ( In December of 2007, the band re united for a charity concert at


! "#$#%&!! (( London' s 02 A rena in memory of Ahmet Ertegun, the Atlantic Records founder (Bream and Alford) As one of only three reunions shows sinc e the death of Bonha m, the band continued to stand firm on their unwillingness and inappropriateness of any such reformation of the group without Bonham The name Led Zeppelin in the present day preserves as a symbol for the immortalization of rock n' ro ll Fr om the underground scene of Chi natown, London, Led Zeppelin unexpectedly res onated to infinite glory and fam e (Page) No other rock group receives as much radio time, exclusive attention in music documentar ies, or perpetual fan devotion The fasci nation with the group's secrecy and still coded lyrical scripture will perpetuate in infamy Four young Englishmen, alongside a merciless pioneer of the managerial music industry, undertook the infeasible and left behind a trail of economics triumphs and social stardom "They were whole different breed They were dangerous and sexy We were shocked, stunned, and changed forever ," said Ann and Nancy Wilson of the band Heart (Bream and Alford 74) This was the global impression Led Zeppelin made and they indeed changed the world forever Yet, they were a gifted group that far did more than dazzle their audiences Led Zeppelin's chronicles were that of giants walking the earth: musical virtuosos and business prodigies originating and executing novel bus iness practices that would veraciously transform their musical glitter into saleable gold


! "#$#%&!! () Works Cited Bream, Jon, and Robert Alford. Whole Lotta Led Zeppelin: the Illustrated History of the Heaviest Band of All Time Minneapolis, MN: Voyageur, 2 010. Print. Davis, Stephen, and Peter Simon. LZ '75: the Lost Chronicles of Led Zeppelin's 1975 American Tour London: Fourth Estate, 2010. Print. "Dictionary." Marketing Power American Marketing Association American Marketing Association. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. . "Dictionary." Marketing Power American Marketing Association American Marketing Association. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. . Duncan. "Zoso Jimmy Page's Symbol." In the Light Web. 16 Oct. 2011. . "Entrepreneur Definition and More from the Free Merriam Webster Dictionary." Dictionary and Thesaurus Merriam Webster Online Merriam Webster. Web. 09 Nov. 2011. . Led Zeppelin Prod. Jimmy Page and Dick Carruthers. Perf. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Jonh Bonham, John Paul Jones. Superhype/Warner Music Group, 2003. DVD. Lee, Jay. "Led Zeppelin Thesis Research Discussion." Personal interview. 05 Sept. 2011. Page, Jimmy. Led Zeppelin Dvd Warner Music Group, 2003. Print. Simon, Schuster, and Chuck Eddy. "Led Zeppelin | Bio, Pictures, Videos | Rolling Stone." Rolling Stone | Music News, P olitics, Reviews, Photos, Videos,


! "#$#%&!! (* Interviews and More Rolling Stone Magazine. Web. 16 Oct. 2011. . "Strategy Definition and More from the Free Merriam Webster Dictionary." Dictionary and Thesaurus Merriam Webster Online Merriam Webster. Web. 09 Nov. 2011. . "Term Definition: Bootstrapping." Business & Small Business | News, Advice, Strategy | Entrepeneur. Web. 09 Nov. 2011. Wall, Mick. When Giants Walked the Earth: a Biography of Led Zeppelin New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2010. Print. "Venues by Location." Led Zeppelin Official Website Warner Music Group. W eb. 16 Oct. 2011. .

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