This is a question posed by the people at Music Radar. Let's take a look, shall we?
Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven is undeniably one of rock's classic songs. But what does that mean on a monetary scale? In a recent article, Conde Nast Portfolio did some numbers crunching, and the figures are staggering.
Zeppelin hasn't licensed Stairway To Heaven for movies or commercials. But songwriters Jimmy Page and Robert Plant and Warner/Chappell, the song's publisher, pull royalties from record sales, radio plays and live performances. Zeppelin has played Stairway at every performance since 1971, yielding somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000 in royalties. Everyone from Frank Zappa to the London Philharmonic has also performed it, and when you take into account the plays it's received at hundreds of thousands of proms, weddings and bar mitzvahs, well, that's some serious money. (DJs and venues pay a small annual fee for the right to play it.) Estimated gain: $400,000.
Royalties from album and DVD sales total about $8.6 million. Plus, Stairway is a radio king, clocking something like 2,985,000 plays, netting nearly $2 million. It's also thought to be the best-selling piece of sheet music in rock history, with royalties of $1 million.
Estimated total: $12 million
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