After rumors continued to swirl last week about whether iTunes would be the first to finally offer Beatles songs as compressed digital simulacra, today EMI announced that….Paul McCartney's solo efforts would be "made available across all digital platforms."
In addition to making Sir Paul's solo and Wings material available online, EMI will also be re-issuing many of the former Beatles' CDs–or as EMI says, "physical re-releases," a phrase that made me think I'll be explaining to my grandchildren how, once upon a time, we had physical things we could use to do things like read, cook, watch movies on, etc.
If you're wondering who gets to brag about being the first to offer "Band on the Run" online, EMI hasn't said yet. But I'm betting they'll let Apple bray the news (earlier this year EMI went to the bother of having Steve Jobs in on EMI's announcement that it was going to offer unprotected music downloads that buyers would be free to copy).
In case you were wondering, so what does this bode for the release of those Beatles gems? It means that at least one of the copyright holders is keen on releasing them, namely Paul. Currently, the Beatles archive is owned by Apple Corps Ltd., which is in turn owned by McCartney, Ringo Starr, and the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison. While Apple Corps. has consistently denied requests to license the music for digital downloads, the company recently settled a long-standing lawsuit with EMI over royalties.
And that brings us to the source of the rumors: Smart PR based on the idea that the former court combatants could now renegotiate their licensing agreement and release the songs online. All I can say is, don't do it Yoko, if only to spite Paul.
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