Beatles and iTunes talk growing

I need somebody

EMI is to hold a media event on Monday with Apple boss Steve Jobs as special guest, prompting speculation that Beatles songs will finally go online.

Not just anybody

There will also be a “special live performance” at the London event by an unnamed artist or band.

You know I need someone

Last week at a mobile industry conference, EMI chief executive Eric Nicoli praised Apple for the simplicity of the iPod and iTunes.

He told the industry that it should learn from Apple.


(Tip o’ the antlers to Daring Fireball. To Mr. Gruber’s questions the Macalope would add, will the performance be downloadable from iTunes?)

  • Well, I hate to be Beatles pedant, but it’s

    Help! I need somebody
    Help! Not just anybody

    After that you had it right.


  • Richard Faulder:

    What he said. ^^

  • SkylarP:

    I can’t help but think that this is an April Fool’s joke on the part of the non-blog press. But maybe I’m just overcautious having grown up as one of those gullible kids who always got pranked…

  • Christof:

    Does it strike anyone as odd that this was announced on Sunday, April 1? Not the usual day of the week for press releases, and a problematic date in the British press. Of course, Gmail was announced April 1, but still…

  • You two are so getting sued. The Macalope isn’t.

  • Quix:

    I’m not sure I understand all the iTunes + Beatles hype. Seriously, doesn’t anyone with any interest at all in the Beatles already own all the CDs? I know I do. Putting the Beatles in iTunes would pretty much net ZERO purchases from me. And I think this would be the case with the vast majority of iTunes users.

    Giving me lossless + DRM-free songs to purchase, on the other hand, would turn my credit card into a smoking, melted mess on my computer desk. Is anyone listening (Apple, EMI)?

  • Quix,

    I agree that serious Beatles fans don’t need to download much. I have it all. Most of it in several formats. This is way bigger than Strawberry Fields Forever, though. Once the Beatles collection is on iTMS, it becomes THE official music source.

    iTMS has a lot of great stuff. But it also has a lot of great stuff missing. The Beatles’ catalogue will fully validate Apple’s music credentials. Record companies that were holding back groups, songs, and albums to flex their muscles will suddenly have to accede to Apple’s business model or be told to pack sand.

    With iTMS, Apple has held the key to the gate of legitimate music downloads. With the Beatles on board, Apple OWNS music distribution online. There are no more big holes. No worries that a supergroup might turn up someplace else online and steal iTunes’ thunder. No more, “well if they were really worth a shit…” The last act that can really be considered a bargaining chip is Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin was a great band, but the Beatles are the standard. The best anyone else can hope for is second best.

    Once iTMS is selling the Beatles playlist, Apple really owns the legitimate pipeline for digital music, Apple can dictate terms. If I lived in Redmond right now, I’d be looking around for a good real estate agent. We’ll see if His Steveness was serious about ditching DRM very soon.

  • Quix:

    “No worries that a supergroup might turn up someplace else online and steal iTunes’ thunder.” – Rip Ragged

    I think any such fears of that evaporated a couple of years ago when iTMS became the market dominator. If an artist wants to sell music online, that artist will have to be in iTunes. Period.

    I remember the days when artists would sign “exclusively” with some WMA Windows-only iTunes competitor (and probably sold squat as a result). I don’t see that happening these days. Apple has literally become the Microsoft of music. Now if they would just dump the lame 128 kbps encoding. Even Zune Marketplace offers 192 kbps – does Apple REALLY want to offer lower (if only perceived) quality than Microsoft??? I would hope not.

  • the speculation has been that one of the big things behind putting the beatles on itunes and other online music stores is that the recordings will supposedly finally be remastered. which would be a pretty big deal, seeing that the beatles catalog, unlike pretty much every other artist from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and even some from the 90s, has been remastered.

    there is a pretty big contingent of beatles nuts who’ve been clamoring for remastered recordings for years.

    also, i remember reading statements from representatives of the beatles’ catalog saying that they wouldn’t probably do an exclusive deal with one music store, but would rather, if the recordings do become available through online stores, make them available through a variety of stores.

  • monkyhead:

    June 1, 2007: “It was 40 years ago today…”

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