Long-running pop-metal greats Def Leppard were, until today, one of the last multi-platinum titans whose music still wasn’t available on streaming platforms. But Musically reports that the band’s entire catalog will be available today on music streaming platforms (as I’m writing this, the albums are up on Apple Music but not Spotify).
A few recent Def Lep records and live albums had been available. But because of a combination of a dispute with their old label Universal and their dissatisfaction with digital royalty rates, the band had been holding back classic albums like 1983’s Pyromania and 1987’s Hysteria. Today, we can finally experience those records in all their glory.
David Rowe, one of the managers of the Universal Music Catalog, tells Musically, “It has taken four years of collaborative work — very close collaborative work — between us, the band, and their team to get where we are today.”
Back in 2005, Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott had a lot to say about the band’s relationship to Universal and its feelings about streaming services. Here’s what he told Billboard:
Our contract is such that they can’t do anything with our music without our permission, not a thing. So we just sent them a letter saying, “No matter what you want, you are going to get ‘no’ as an answer, so don’t ask.” That’s the way we’ve left it. We’ll just replace our back catalogue with brand new, exact same versions of what we did…
We’re trying to wrestle back our career and ownership of these songs. Until we can come to some kind of humane conclusion to this ridiculous stand-off, we’re going to say: “Fuck you!” We were offered a great deal two years ago and shook hands on it. And then some other twat at the label put a stop to it. It’s our life and our music and we’re not going to let them exploit us to the extent that they’re trying to…
Between us and Bon Jovi, we fucking built that company. We built their penthouse sushi bar, wherever it may be, and they just treated us like shit. We can either roll over like little dandelions or we can stand up and punch them in the bollocks. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.
But apparently it’s all good now! Here’s what Leppard tweeted this morning:
It's officially #DefLeppardDay! For the first time EVER stream & download our entire catalog globally.. AND we're hitting the road with Journey in North America this May.. AND playing Hysteria in its entirety on tour in the UK! It's gonna be a great year https://t.co/ZYjhEkXDnt pic.twitter.com/utwts3FRL3
— Def Leppard (@DefLeppard) January 19, 2018
As someone who saw Def Leppard live last year, I can report that their songs still sound fucking incredible.