Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Beatles set to go digital?

Now that the Apple Corp. Apple Computer suit claiming that the computer maker violated a 1991 agreement to not sell music was settled earler this year, the timesonline.co.uk writes: "EMI, which has made a fortune from the Beatles since the band burst onto the music scene with Love Me Do in 1962, is coy about the details. But the music group has dropped the first hint that the catalogue of songs will be made available on the internet.

David Munns, head of EMI's North American division, told a web-industry conference in San Francisco that the Beatles' music would be available for download "soon".

Munns declined to be more specific on timing. Fellow EMI officials refused to comment further or to provide details of how the music would be available.

Any deal would have to be agreed with Apple Corps, the company that looks after the band's commercial interests. Until now, the Beatles have been one of the last remaining mega music acts whose work has not been sold online."

I always thought the Beatles brand could very well stand alone without the benefit of online sales with its long standing sales history. Since the iTunes store is primarily a single song based delivery vehicle, my theory is that the Beatles catalog would sell well in album form and most of all in a special Beatles-only music service. I can't see that Apple Corps. would want to give up any revenue share to a third party reseller.

Wired Blogs thinks the Beatles catalog of 33 albums will be available exclusively on Microsoft's Zune Marketplace.

I'm placing my bets that the Beatles music will be at The Beatles.com If you surf the site, all of the cover art and placeholders are there for an digital online store. They already have a UK and USA store selling merchandising, collectables and preorders for the Love album.

Read the Court filing here

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Kat Coble said...

I'm with you. Beatles.com

If they put the music exclusively at Zune Mktplace it does stick a fork in the eye of Apple. But they aren't likely to alienate the vast majority of online music purchasers--who do their buying through iTunes Musicstore.

Beatles.com is a solution that will get them the most sales--they can encode for any mp3 player--and still control the catalog's presentation.

In fact, I think most holdout artists with strong catalogs (think Bob Seger) will start going this route. Apple's proven the marketplace.

Kerry Woo said...

Kat, excellent point on iTunes... I would think that albums like Abbey Road with side two of mini songs / medleys would be best served by an entire album purchase versus individual .99 purchases.

Still, I'm not sold on buying songs online - I rather have the physical CD with the packaging, liner notes, etc.