Wiz Khalifa has been at the top of the charts for the past two months for “See You Again” — and he is starting to break records. Sadly, breaking records also means that Wiz Khalifa may have inadvertently hurt Led Zeppelin’s feelings.
However, perhaps Led Zeppelin is not too angry with Wiz Khalifa because they may have finally found their place in the digital world.
Currently, Wiz Khalifa is on tour with Fall Out Boy and showing fans that punk and hip-hop can work together. But the new big news is that Wiz Khalifa is also blowing through Billboard Magazine records — in three different ways.
Just like when Led Zeppelin was around, most of the Hot 100 statistics come from radio airplay charts. Billboard estimates that Wiz Khalifa has been number one on the Hot 100 charts for eight weeks with 171 million spins from radio stations.
During Led Zeppelin’s heyday, there was only the radio statistics to worry about, but Wiz Khalifa has been breaking records for three different music charts. Billboard points out that Wiz Khalifa is also between number one and number two for their Digital Songs and Streaming Songs charts.
Music Times states that the big news is that Wiz Khalifa is now officially in the top 10 of Billboard’s “Longest-Leading Rap Hits on the Hot 100.”
With eight weeks at number one, Wiz Khalifa is the ninth entry on the list. Topping that list is the Black Eye Peas with 12 weeks at number one on the Billboard charts for their song “Boom Boom Pow.”
Regardless, it is the online streaming music world where Wiz Khalifa broke Led Zeppelin’s heart.
Digital Trends pointed out that Led Zeppelin’s online streaming music contract with Spotify expired in early 2015, and Wiz Khalifa was part of the reason.
Despite the popularity of Led Zeppelin and the fact that they have a solid base of fans, Spotify felt that renewing the contract to obtain exclusive streaming rights to Led Zeppelin’s music was not as tempting as Wiz Khalifa’s.
FT writes in June about Spotify’s decision to drop Led Zeppelin and mentioned Wiz Khalifa as a comparison. Based on an interview with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, FT stated the following about Wiz Khalifa and Led Zeppelin.
“After eighteen months on the service, ‘Stairway to Heaven’ had just 24m streams; by comparison, Wiz Khalifa’s hit song ‘See You Again,’ released in March of this year, has over 200m. In February, Ek quietly let the Zeppelin deal expire.”
FT goes on to clarify how Wiz Khalifa easily blew Led Zeppelin out of the water based on the streaming online music world.
“The real problem might be that Spotify users don’t even know who Led Zeppelin is. In a blog post a few months back, Daniel Ek revealed that more than half of his subscribers are under the age of 27.”
Obviously, younger people are going to be more familiar with Wiz Khalifa than a band that was popular in the 1970s. For example, Spin Magazine ranked all of Led Zeppelin’s songs in 2014 and music writer Andrew Unterberger stated, “It’s surprisingly easy to forget about Led Zeppelin in 2014.”
The reality that Wiz Khalifa will outrank a lot of the great legends of rock simply because of streaming music’s ability to dominate (due to the average age of the users) may not be the end of the discussion. In fact, Led Zeppelin and their fans might be perfectly fine with Wiz Khalifa taking all the pieces of the pie — except one.
Wiz Khalifa’s music sounds great on a variety of online streaming radio stations, but it does not mean this is a good fit for Led Zeppelin. Although they enjoyed their stay at Spotify, Led Zeppelin fans rejoiced when they joined up with Tidal.
Wiz Khalifa is bound to be popular on any online format because he has a large computer-addicted fan base that is younger — but Led Zeppelin points out that their fans want to hear the classics on high-quality formats like Tidal.
Tech Radar reports that Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page stated in a Tidal interview that “for Led Zeppelin, the criteria of it was always – and still is – quality.”
Wiz Khalifa’s music will suit most online streaming formats, but with Tidal, Gear Patrol states that fans will hear Led Zeppelin sound like it did in the 1970s — when music was recorded with analog equipment for analog music players.
Long before Wiz Khalifa was around, analog music in the pre-digital age was recorded to have a broader range of sounds. Along with that, the high-quality analog music formats were related to the hi-fi (high fidelity) records and record players.
Gear Patrol favorably compares Tidal to hi-fi and states, “On several tracks, I heard it right away — more sound separation, detail, and warmth on the lossless tracks when compared with versions on other services.”
Was Led Zeppelin right to make the switch to Tidal to improve their revenues? Will Led Zeppelin flourish with Tidal’s “lossless” format and eventually outrank Wiz Khalifa?
What is obvious for now is that Wiz Khalifa may have pushed Led Zeppelin out of a renewed Spotify contract because of the numbers, but maybe Led Zeppelin fans thought their favorite (analog/hi-fi) band sounded terrible on (digital-based) Spotify — and simply chose not to listen to it there.
[Feature image via Getty Images]