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Robert Plant on his Led Zeppelin royalties...

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Stunned ? Over twenty years later and I'm still stunned he was such a dumb-ass.

If true, it really is stupid - what a dumb-ass thing to do...I agree with you.

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If true, it really is stupid - what a dumb-ass thing to do...I agree with you.

That can only be said with the full benefit of hindsight. No one at them time could foresee the advent of the compact disc format.

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He did it because he wanted to and could. Dumb ass? Why do people need more money than they could ever use. Maybe it was all a big headache and mixed memories at that point. If he still is loaded guess he is not much of a " dumbass" after all.

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Maybe it tied into a divorce settlement. So far the exes haven't written tell-all books.

Maybe the "exes" are people of class and substance. There are still people in the world who aren't into tarnishing the reputation of others to cash in, or build themselves up in that way.

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I thought when he sold it was to start his own record com. el paraza or something of such.

I think he was finished with all the Zeppelin circus, wanted to get away.

And the music since has been all over the place, like Zep, like the proverbial box of choclates

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I agree w/every single post listed here, but somehow someway ,I find that very hard to believe,is it a joke or something ,I find this all very hard to believe. I do believe that someone always gets it no matter what .if Plant doesn't somebody will ,ex.handed down ,estate, family,designated party ,etc,etc,! The music industry is vicious. Let's review,....look what happened to Elvis ,Beatles,and James Brown (15 yrs dead and they still can't can't settle) , Liberace,another classic example. Bottom line,if the music is no longer profitable after any "7 " yr.stretch it becomes public domain and then its a whole new ballgame.ask yourself this ??...."Is someone claiming royalties to Beethoven??...You bet your sweet a$$ they are!!! . and I can start my own forum on how many legendary musicians died heartbroken,penniless,friendless,and way deep in debt. Record executives,,labels company's, are inhumane vultures,heartless and void of any self respect. I place Bob Geffen of Geffen Records on top of the list .Some one should off him!!!

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I thought when he sold it was to start his own record com. el paraza or something of such.

I think he was finished with all the Zeppelin circus, wanted to get away.

And the music since has been all over the place, like Zep, like the proverbial box of choclates

I believe this makes the most sense, after all his record label, Esperanza, means hope in Spanish. Seems pretty clear to me. Maybe he could not find a Spanish phrase for: fuck Zeppelin, I am moving on???

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I agree w/every single post listed here, but somehow someway ,I find that very hard to believe,is it a joke or something ,I find this all very hard to believe. I do believe that someone always gets it no matter what .if Plant doesn't somebody will ,ex.handed down ,estate, family,designated party ,etc,etc,! The music industry is vicious. Let's review,....look what happened to Elvis ,Beatles,and James Brown (15 yrs dead and they still can't can't settle) , Liberace,another classic example. Bottom line,if the music is no longer profitable after any "7 " yr.stretch it becomes public domain and then its a whole new ballgame.ask yourself this ??...."Is someone claiming royalties to Beethoven??...You bet your sweet a$$ they are!!! . and I can start my own forum on how many legendary musicians died heartbroken,penniless,friendless,and way deep in debt. Record executives,,labels company's, are inhumane vultures,heartless and void of any self respect. I place Bob Geffen of Geffen Records on top of the list .Some one should off him!!!

Oh yeah, Geffen is a dick, as are Don Arden (super dick) and Clive Davis. BTW, Sharon Osbourne is Don Arden's daughter...apple don't fall far from the tree there.

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I agree w/every single post listed here, but somehow someway ,I find that very hard to believe,is it a joke or something ,I find this all very hard to believe. I do believe that someone always gets it no matter what .if Plant doesn't somebody will ,ex.handed down ,estate, family,designated party ,etc,etc,! The music industry is vicious. Let's review,....look what happened to Elvis ,Beatles,and James Brown (15 yrs dead and they still can't can't settle) , Liberace,another classic example. Bottom line,if the music is no longer profitable after any "7 " yr.stretch it becomes public domain and then its a whole new ballgame.ask yourself this ??...."Is someone claiming royalties to Beethoven??...You bet your sweet a$$ they are!!! . and I can start my own forum on how many legendary musicians died heartbroken,penniless,friendless,and way deep in debt. Record executives,,labels company's, are inhumane vultures,heartless and void of any self respect. I place Bob Geffen of Geffen Records on top of the list .Some one should off him!!!

James Brown died in 2006, so hardly 15 years, but yes his entire legacy is a complete mess.

Copyright is a complicated issue, but generally speaking the compositions of Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi etc. are long out of copyright and can be performed by anyone without having to pay people royalties. The issue comes with new recordings of these works, which can be copyrighted and these will have royalties due. Or new printed editions of the music (which have to be different in some way from a previous edition), which can also be copyrighted. So, people are collecting royalties for Beethoven's music, but only for their recordings of his music.

In the UK Copyright of literary, dramatic, artistic or musical works (written), lasts for 70 years after the death of the artist/author; Copyright of sound recordings last for 50 years after date of release.

In the early 80's Led Zeppelin weren't selling too many records, so Robert's royalty cheques must have been coming in less and less frequently and also for smaller and smaller amounts. He must've weighed up what he thought his royalties would be worth for the next however many years based on the decline in his earnings from them, balanced that up with the outgoings of an expensive divorce and sold his rights for what he thought at the time was a good price, to wash his hands of the whole thing and make a new start. At the time he couldn't have possibly predicted that Led Zeppelin's music would have been as enduring and popular as it has proved to be, or the advent of the CD which revived their sales, and he made what then appeared to be a sound business decision.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Edited by woz70

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Excellent points Woz70. I think that, without any of us knowing all the facts, your guess and analysis (two posts above) is probably the best one.

I'd add that with the legendary Peter Grant in Robert's corner, helping him to negotiate, he probably got what was a pretty good deal at the time. Led Zep never got 'ripped off' the way a lot of bands did. Those of us who have read the main Zeppelin biography will remember that Robert studied to be an accountant before he was famous. (And that he spent a lot of time making cups of tea for the accountant to whom he was apprenticed... LOL!)

Also, with the time value of money, if he was earning investment level interest off of the sum he got for the several years before Led Zep's back catalogue started selling again on CD, he would have done quite well. (Remember that the 80s was a boom time for the stock market in both London and New York.) Heck, any real estate he bought in North London in the 80s and held onto would have increased in value to levels most of us can only dream of... LOL!

In short, I don't think he's hurting financially. I think personal and artistic saisfaction are what it's about for him at this stage in his life: not whether he could have been worth X million quid instead of Y million quid.

Edited by cyberlawusa

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I watched a couple of youtube video interviews Robert gave from over the years and Robert seems to have a non materialistic attitude to life. I heard him say that he went through a set of relationship break ups and had spent time living in his car. One home (possible a girlfriends home he was with at the time) was a tiny terraced cottage.

Also he had enough to lose a vast amount of cash when Wolverhampton Wanders went bust (Mid 1980's) and his shares were left worthless.

From those interviews I got the impression he has a strong enough income to look after his loved ones but he is just as happy in a tent spending time doing something such as listening to music in a remote area.

For all the millions he has earned you get the impression his hippy credentials are still there.

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Excellent points Woz70. I think that, without any of us knowing all the facts, your guess and analysis (two posts above) is probably the best one.

I'd add that with the legendary Peter Grant in Robert's corner, helping him to negotiate, he probably got what was a pretty good deal at the time. Led Zep never got 'ripped off' the way a lot of bands did. Those of us who have read the main Zeppelin biography will remember that Robert studied to be an accountant before he was famous. (And that he spent a lot of time making cups of tea for the accountant to whom he was apprenticed... LOL!)

Also, with the time value of money, if he was earning investment level interest off of the sum he got for the several years before Led Zep's back catalogue started selling again on CD, he would have done quite well. (Remember that the 80s was a boom time for the stock market in both London and New York.) Heck, any real estate he bought in North London in the 80s and held onto would have increased in value to levels most of us can only dream of... LOL!

In short, I don't think he's hurting financially. I think personal and artistic saisfaction are what it's about for him at this stage in his life: not whether he could have been worth X million quid instead of Y million quid.

His house in Primrose Hill must be worth an absolute fortune now in comparison to how much he paid for it in the early 70's.

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There seems to be a common belief that Robert somehow made a bad business decision in selling. Just because he sold, doesn't mean he didn't get a favorable price. The value of the rights is based upon an opinion of the future earning potential of those rights. Now one side of the deal (Robert being one of those sides) did better than the other, something that is only realized at a later date. I don't think we will ever know who that other side was, and which side did better. I'm sure Robert did fine from a monetary perspective, and was no doubt incentivized to sell based upon his desire to break from the past and move on. Robert is a wealthy man these days. He does not have Page's craving for money, and clearly takes his artistry seriously, otherwise he would be signing-up for the record-busting mother of all tours.

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If Plant sold his royalty rights to buy 7 million dollars worth of Microsoft stock in the early '80s then maybe he did okay.

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I'm sure Robert understands, that even though the cd reissues would have made him tons of money, that he may not have had the solo career he had, if he hadn't sold them. Sure, years later the cds were flying off the shelves, but in the short term me was making money with a solo career, that was initially possible because of his decision to sell. Hindsight is 20/20 but I think whatever money he still had from royalties form the millions sold as vinyl in the 70s, as well as other Zep money that came from tours and the record company, combined with what he made as a solo act, and continues to make, has worked out fine for him. Remember, the proper investments, like with Paul McCartney, can return quite a bit of income over the years.

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On ‎4‎/‎12‎/‎2015 at 0:57 AM, price.pittsburgh said:

I'm sure Robert understands, that even though the cd reissues would have made him tons of money, that he may not have had the solo career he had, if he hadn't sold them. Sure, years later the cds were flying off the shelves, but in the short term me was making money with a solo career, that was initially possible because of his decision to sell. 

Personally, I think it had more to do with sheltering that income from an imminent divorce than it had to do with bankrolling a solo career. Does anyone really believe Atlantic Records would have balked at signing and financing a Robert Plant solo album/career?

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16 minutes ago, SteveAJones said:

Personally, I think it had more to do with sheltering that income from an imminent divorce than it had to do with bankrolling a solo career. Does anyone really believe Atlantic Records would have balked at signing and financing a Robert Plant solo album/career?

I believe you are spot on.  Didn't Atlantic bankroll Es Parenza?  

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12 minutes ago, Walter said:

I believe you are spot on.  Didn't Atlantic bankroll Es Parenza?  

Peter Grant helped secure Robert's solo deal with Atlantic, which involved Robert selling his rights to receive royalties from sales of Led Zeppelin's back catalog in exchange for setting up a solo deal and the Es Peranza label. You can see where it would be easier to shelter future earnings as a solo artist under such an arrangement, as well as "hide the remainder" from divorce proceedings. On the other hand, we can accept at face value his explanation he was motivated by his philosophy at the time ("No more Led anything").

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On 1/26/2015 at 11:11 AM, NealR2000 said:

There seems to be a common belief that Robert somehow made a bad business decision in selling. Just because he sold, doesn't mean he didn't get a favorable price. The value of the rights is based upon an opinion of the future earning potential of those rights. Now one side of the deal (Robert being one of those sides) did better than the other, something that is only realized at a later date. I don't think we will ever know who that other side was, and which side did better. I'm sure Robert did fine from a monetary perspective, and was no doubt incentivized to sell based upon his desire to break from the past and move on. Robert is a wealthy man these days. He does not have Page's craving for money, and clearly takes his artistry seriously, otherwise he would be signing-up for the record-busting mother of all tours.

There is no indication that RP doesn't care about money....most facts point to the opposite.

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On 2/2/2016 at 8:32 PM, SteveAJones said:

Peter Grant helped secure Robert's solo deal with Atlantic, which involved Robert selling his rights to receive royalties from sales of Led Zeppelin's back catalog in exchange for setting up a solo deal and the Es Peranza label. You can see where it would be easier to shelter future earnings as a solo artist under such an arrangement, as well as "hide the remainder" from divorce proceedings. On the other hand, we can accept at face value his explanation he was motivated by his philosophy at the time ("No more Led anything").

I agree...it was more about the divorce and it could have been a deal to where he needed the money to pay her off.  I think the timing of the sale would be a clue.  His first solo record was on Swan Song so I don't know how Grant could have negotiated his deal for Es Paranza before Pictures at Eleven came out???

They could be separate transactions.  Grant negotiated his solo deal, record came out, divorce started and he needed to pay her off so he sold these rights and at the same time, Swan Song was kaput so he started his own label, but I think the label was in name only, not a real label.

 

Also, he sold royalties from the back catalog but not his PUBLISHING royalties, right?  Big difference.  

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