Why The Beatles Won't Use iTunes, Existing Record Contracts or DRM
POSTED ON 5/08/2006 | PERMALINK |
3 Comments |
Apple Corporation, which owns much of the rights to the music of The Beatles, has lost its case in yet another skirmish with Apple Computer over trademarks.While I'm kind of surprised things turned out this way, I suspect that Apple Corp. isn't too terribly upset. This ruling fits in with what I've suggested previously. Apple Corp. will seek to apply this notion to Beatles recordings, suggesting that Capitol/EMI only owns rights to distribute physical products. Neil Aspinall has been with the Beatles since the beginning, and nobody can live through Brian Epstein's never-ending string of Beatles business fiascos without learning a lot about how the music business works. In fact, there may be no person on planet earth better suited for the task.
Apple Computer agreed not to go into the physical music business, i.e. selling CDs and DVDs, using its distinctive logo. But the agreement did not cover other forms of music transmission, since at that time the Internet was not considered.
Apple will sell it's own materials directly. Paul, Ringo, Yoko, and George Harrison's estate will reap 100% of the profits from online sales. No record companies or online distribution points will be involved. I'm fairly certain that Apple will try to make this happen. If they succeed, it will dramatically accelerate the demolition of the music industry as we know it.
While I'm pretty sure about that part of the plan, I'm less certain about how they will handle DRM. They're pretty pissed at Apple Computers, so they won't sell through iTunes. That, of course, shuts out a gigantic portion of the portable listening audience. And there's no good reason to go with a WMA-based service unless you're selling through an existing online store.
This leads me to believe that they'll devise some sort of system using DRM-free MP3s. Rational thinking should lead to the decision that the online sharing of Beatles tracks isn't going to grow or shrink based on DRM. Pocketing 100% of the profits should lead the fab four to realize that they'll be raking in more cash from digital downloads than anyone else in the industry, no matter how many illegal copies are made. Beatles MP3s are out there for good. They'll never go away. But, anyone who cares enough about the Beatles to want remasters is going to fork out the money for official high-quality files. That's not to say that they couldn't tack on some sort of protection/identification onto the MP3, but I suspect it would still be a real MP3.
This could change everything.
- entire beatles catalog to be remastered
- yesterday and today: the beatles and the butcher
- behind the bealtes: blackbird
- behind the beatles: rain
- behind the beatles: dear prudence
- behind the beatles: strawberry fields forever
- behind the beatles: being for the benefit of mr kite
- behind the beatles: she said she said
- more beatles