Apple and Steve Jobs may or may not announce The Beatles availability on iTunes later today at a music themed event in San Francisco. Yoko Ono claimed on Tuesday a deal was done, Sky News reported the story then later spiked the news perhaps after a call from Apple or EMI.
Music giant EMI yesterday dismissed the reports. "Conversations between Apple and EMI are ongoing and we look forward to the day when we can make the music available digitally. But it’s not tomorrow," Ernesto Schmitt, EMI’s global catalog president, told the Financial Times.
Delays reportedly are due to fears over The Beatles back catalogue being easily pirated if available digitally, especially via a DRM-free iTunes.
“If one [EMI] employee decides to take it home and wap it on to the internet, we would have the right to say, ‘Now you recompense us for that.’ And they’re scared of that,” Sir Paul McCartney told The Observer newspaper.
Now if Sir Paul, Ringo, Yoko, Olivia and Dhani Harrison never work again I'd doubt they'll suffer financially. You won't be seeing The Beatles or their dependents down the dole office any time soon.
Google The Beatles and you will also find pirated and bootleg recordings galore online. The stereo and mono remasters - 'The Beatles Box Set - Remastered in Stereo' (£169.98 on Amazon) and 'The Beatles In Mono' (£199.98) - are no doubt already out there in the wild.
Beatles piracy is not new. Self-styled electronics wizard and one time Beatles associate Magic Alex, aka Yanni Alexis Mardas, looked at ways back in the late 1960's, on the Fab Four's behalf, to prevent people taping vinyl records and recording songs from the radio.
"He [Mardas] had an idea to stop people taping our records off the radio – you’d have to have a decoder to get the signal, and then we thought we could sell the time and put commercials on instead. We brought EMI and Capitol in from America to look at it, but they weren’t interested at all," Ringo said in The Beatles Anthology book.
I hope EMI's denial is a spoiler and we will see The Beatles on iTunes later today. Steve Jobs for one, a long time fan, hence the Apple name, would be a very happy man.