Heavy metal midlife crisis? Led Zeppelin’s ‘Physical Graffiti’ turns 40 in the digital age


Fortune

Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti” album. When it was released in 1975, vinyl records ruled supreme, and this particular one would eventually reach platinum sales status sixteen times over.

Oh, but how times have changed. Artists who are almost entirely guitar-free top the Billboard charts now, and downloading and streaming seem to be the dominant methods of music consumption. Vinyl did see an increase in sales of more than 50% in 2014, but overall album sales fell by 11% that year, including digital album sales. It all adds up to bad news for a guitar-slinging band that embodies the vinyl era.

Despite this daunting fact, the Led Zeppelin back catalog is in the middle of a deluxe reissue campaign that began in June 2014. All of its albums are in the process of being re-released on vinyl, compact disc and digital download…

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