How Much is ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Worth?


In the big, bad game of rock and roll, “Stairway to Heaven” is undeniably a winner. Released by Led Zeppelin in 1971, the eight-minute song is considered a musical masterpiece and is one of the most-played rock tunes of all time. Proving its longevity, “Stairway” hit the U.K. charts again last fall and was a top download in the U.S., after Zeppelin’s first downloadable album launched on iTunes. But because the band is notoriously protective of its work, “Stairway” hasn’t met its full moneymaking potential. While other artists have made big bucks by licensing songs to Hollywood and Madison Avenue—think of Bob Dylan’s “Love Sick” in that Victoria’s Secret commercial—Zeppelin has shunned most opportunities. We consulted executives in the music, advertising, and entertainment industries to come up with some numbers, real and potential, for the value of “Stairway.”