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It's been a long time, but Led Zeppelin, one of the last superstar acts to refrain from selling its music online, is finally offering its catalog to digital-music fans.

The shift by Led Zeppelin, whose reunion concert in London next month has already incited a frenzy for tickets, highlights the clout of digital sales in the music market as mass merchants reduce the shelf space devoted to compact discs. Under a series of new agreements expected to be announced today, the band will make its songs available first as ringtones and similar mobile features starting this week in an exclusive deal with Verizon Wireless. Digital downloads of songs from the band's eight studio albums and other recordings are expected to be available through Verizon and digital-music services, including iTunes, on Nov. 13.

Led Zeppelin's decision to sell its music online coincides with the end of a fierce bidding war over the rights to administer the band's catalog of songs, which includes the classics Stairway To Heaven and Rock And Roll. Under a separate deal, the band is to receive an estimated $60 million in exchange for extending its ties to its longtime music publisher, Warner/Chappell Music, for at least 10 years, said three people briefed on the agreement, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they had not been authorized to discuss it. [more]
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