There’s a reason Amazon’s responding to Apple’s Beatles iTunes coup by slashing pricing on Fab Four CDs instead of undercutting the iTunes price in their own music service, Amazon MP3: Apple’s secured the online exclusive to Beatles tracks until sometime in 2011.
Billboard reports on some of the behind doors dealing between Apple Corp, EMI and Cupertino that led to the breaking of the ten years impasse in bringing the Beatles to iTunes.
Apparently, the biggest roadblock in putting a deal through all these years seems to have less to do with legal wrangling than EMI not wanting to piss off the Beatles’ estate by jumping into the iTunes Store (which they seem to have been entitled to do if they had wanted) without Apple Corp. being completely pleased with the deal.
“Apple Corp and EMI had some major issues to work through with respect to the granting of rights to exploit the master recordings that the Beatles gave EMI,” a source told Billboard. “EMI would never be in the business of doing something against the wishes of the Beatles.”
Ultimately, what seems to have really helped get the whole deal sorted was a change in leadership at Apple Corp. that put a more digitally-minded thinker in charge of the Beatles’ legacy.
That’s not to say, of course, that Apple’s exclusive wasn’t hard won. Apple paid a substantial advance for the catalog, apparently, and they intend to exploit their exclusive to the utmost.
Most interesting of all, though, is perhaps in the fine print of the deal. Apparently, Apple’s Beatles deal includes the possibility of future Beatles-related marketing opportunities. Beatles’ songs in Apple commercials? A Beatles-brand iPod?.