Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Let It Be: Beatles Still Not Coming to iTunes Tomorrow

beatlesforsaleiPods with cameras? Maybe. iTunes with new features? For sure. iTunes with Beatles? Nope.

I’m sure that Apple (AAPL) will indeed sell the Fab Four’s music via its digital music store one day. But it’s not happening at Apple’s keynote presentation tomorrow.

The Beatles estate, Electronic Arts (ERTS) and Viacom’s (VIA) MTV will be releasing a new version of “Rock Band” that features the band’s songs tomorrow. And on the same day, EMI Music Group will release all of the band’s music on remastered compact discs.

But that’s it, a source familiar with the band’s plans tells me. For now.

UPDATE: Want an on the record source? The Financial Times obliges with a follow-up:

“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 FT’s Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson.

Beatles-to-iTunes is a story that never goes away. And some day, it will turn out to be true–there’s no good reason for it not to happen. But predictions that it will happen Wednesday have been tied to wafer-thin logic.

Two years ago, the Web was convinced an announcement was in the offing because of the wording of an Apple keynote invitation. This year, even sober-minded publications are noting the timing of Apple’s keynote event and the Rock Band and CD launches, concluding that an iTunes launch makes sense too.

But I’d argue that it makes less sense: If you’re trying to convince people to spend $16.99 for a remastered copy of the White Album or as much as $250 to play along with the band’s ghostly avatars, why offer a competing product from Apple at the same time?

Nor do I see Steve Jobs expressing much interest in coordinating his marketing announcements with the likes of Viacom.

Anyway, if you really want to get the Beatles on the Web, you don’t have to wait for Apple–a quick Google search will do. Or you can head to Google’s (GOOG) YouTube, which is flooded with great clips like this:


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik