getting by with a little help
Posted by Shirley Brady on November 15, 2010 06:00 PM
The Wall Street Journal has revealed Tuesday's big Apple announcement, slated for 7am Cupertino time tomorrow: the Beatles are finally coming to iTunes.
Music fans, such as the one who created the faux promo above (in 2007!), will rejoice at the news — not to mention the legions of lawyers who've been working on this for years.
Apple's website is whetting appetites for the announcement with a splash page that reads, "Tomorrow is just another day. That you'll never forget." Billboard notes how the four clocks' hands on the page echo the Beatle's arms on the cover of 1965's Help! album.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in addition to haggling over an Apple vs. Apple trademark dispute that dragged on between 1978 and 2006, has been trying to get the Beatles on iTunes since 2003. Securing the digital rights to the Beatles catalog would fill a gaping hole for the world's biggest music retailer, and mark the end of tensions between the two Apples, EMI and Sony ATV.
As the Financial Times notes, EMI holds the rights to Beatles recordings, and has sold more than 13 million remastered Beatles albums since September 2009 — by far its best-selling act "in a falling market" as it battles for its existence. Sony ATV, the music publishing joint venture between Sony, the Japanese electronic group, and the estate of Michael Jackson, manages the rights to the lyrics and music of 251 Beatles songs.
Sony ATV has been encouraging the surviving Beatles — Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and and George Harrison's widow Olivia Harrison — to license the Beatles' catalog, bringing the Fab Four's songs to old and new fans via American Idol, a Rock Band video game, a Cirque du Soleil show, a Broadway tribute musical ... and now, in its most lucrative licensing deal, iTunes.
A long and winding road indeed.