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Baby-Boom Bands Find Success on DVD

18 Jul, 2003 By: Jessica Wolf

The recent success of Warner Music Group's Led Zeppelin DVD, which shipped a music DVD record of nearly 250,000 units, could well mean it's a watershed title for this disc genre, but it's not the only release from a baby-boomer group to find a very happy home on DVD.

The top 20 year-to-date music DVD releases on VideoScan/Soundscan sales charts are peppered with releases from baby-boomer favorites like Zeppelin, The Eagles, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart and others. Even suppliers with competing product acknowledge Image Entertainment's The Eagles: Hell Freezes Over DVD continues to be one of the strongest sellers in the category. And the pricey multidisc Beatles Anthology debuted at the top of music sales charts earlier this summer.

What is it about that generation of musicians baby boomers grew up listening to on vinyl that gives them such strong DVD sales power? Part of the appeal is nostalgia, suppliers agree. An even bigger part is the longevity and quality of the musicians, and another factor is the consumer hunger for good DVD in general.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is responding to consumer demand with its Aug. 19 DVD debut of Simon and Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park.

“We had hesitated to put it out on DVD because we didn't have the sound stems to go 5.1 surround sound,” said Todd Rowan, Fox VP of marketing. “[But] on several of the online sites it was one of their top 10 most-requested titles yet to be released on DVD, so we are releasing it in stereo sound.”

Pioneer Entertainment has spent two years prepping an elaborate special edition celebrating The Who with The Kids are Alright, available Sept. 30 in two DVD versions.

Releases for groups like these continue to find success because the bands themselves have such staying power, keeping their old fans and making new ones in subsequent generations, suppliers agree. The Who: The Kids Are Alright is timed to coincide with a turning point in the band's history -- 40 years ago, in October 1963, The Who started playing and recording Pete Townshend-written songs, shifting away from their reputation as a barroom cover band.

Forty years later, people are still buying tickets to Who concerts. “This is a band that, through time, has gotten richer and stronger, and their following has grown,” said Rick Buehler, SVP of sales for Pioneer. That same statement could be applied to Who contemporaries like Led Zeppelin, he added.

A lot of the success of Led Zeppelin DVD can be attributed to the band itself, said John Beug, SVP of home video for Warner Strategic Marketing. “The band put it together,” he said. “Without hesitation, I would say they -- Jimmy Page and Robert Plant especially -- put that project together.”

Beug credits the musicianship of artists like Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac and Eric Clapton as helping them experience a renaissance.

“[Their DVD success] is partially the consumer demographic, but it has a lot to do with the quality of music and the fact that most of these musicians have kept themselves in the public eye,” he said.

Fox's Rowan attributes baby-boom band popularity with crossing musical borders. “There's always room for the greats, the classics, in whoever's collection,” he said. “No matter what their taste, there is always a spot on their shelves.”

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