Apple always has a knack for being
involved somehow in a wild PR buzz about its latest
product or initiatives. This time, it's not something new
like an ultra-thin
computer or shrunken
and restyled MP3 players, but rather
something very old.
For years, iTunes rested as a
firm cornerstone of Apple's business. It is a perennial leader
in the online music market, being outsold
last year only by the monolithic Wal-mart. With iPods being
far-and-away the most popular MP3 player and with the recent
success of the iPhone smart phone, Apple is in a very good
position in the online music industry.
One key element missing
from iTune's crown jewels, though, has always been the Beatles
catalog. The Beatles, arguably the greatest recording artists
of all time, have sold over a billion units -- a world record
according to EMI and the Guinness Book of World Records.
Thus it is understandable why there would be considerable
enthusiasm over news reports that the Beatles catalog would soon be
coming to iTunes, based on Sir Paul McCartney's go ahead. The
reports claim that McCartney pushed to make the catalog available
"within months". Apple Corps, the owners of the
Beatles' legacy, and Apple, purveyor of iTunes, dismissed the claims
as "rumour and speculation" and refused to comment.
is a general consensus by analysts that the Beatles catalog will come
online soon, though nobody really knows when it will happen.
EMI, who owns the Beatles' recording rights, has expressed eagerness
to bring the catalog online. It is currently in talks with
online music retailers to set a firm release date.
is estimated to be worth up to £200m. Beatles tracks are
expected to occupy the top 20 spots on the UK chart when released, a
Apple Corp and Apple Computer have had a long
history of legal
battles over the tradename Apple, which has been seen as one
reason that the catalog has been unavailable for so long.
Still, with the release of McCartney's catalog on iTunes, much of the
hurt feelings were mended and the way was cleared for an eventual
HMV Media's Gennaro Castaldo commented, "This
move has been the Holy Grail of the music industry for a long time
now and they will want to get the timing exactly right. It will
generate renewed interest and value in Beatles products, which are
being re-mastered. Anything to do with the Beatles generates massive
excitement and interest and this will be a key iconic moment."