EMI, the Beatles’ beleaguered record label, has called for a company wide meeting Tuesday morning at 10am Eastern Time.
That’s the same time that Steve Jobs will take a stage–in California, at 7am–to announce that Apple has finally secured the Beatles catalog for ITunes and downloading.
What they said would never happen is about to occur. Maybe hell has frozen over.
The long tug of war between the Beatles and EMI regarding downloading would be ended then, as well. In the background of this game, it was EMI unwilling to bow to the Beatles on pricing that made downloading an obstacle.
But so much has changed in the last week. EMI is in a free fall, with Terra Firma losing their case with Citigroup. The latter triumphed, and Terra Firma is now in peril of having to sell EMI to Warner Music, let Citigroup take them over, or somehow raise the money to soldier on. It’s doubtful that the Beatles would have just allowed themselves to become a free floating pawn in the game. It’s possible that the downloading issue, long on the table, finally came in to play.
There were signs all day. Apple worded its sign on the ITunes front page with two Paul McCartney song titles: “Another Day” and “Tomorrow.”
Apple also is making the announcement at 7am PST, so that London press can be accomodated before deadlines at 3pm. It wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see Paul, Ringo, Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono on the stage with Steve Jobs.
Will it be a big deal after all this? Yes. Even though Beatles CDs are ubiquitous, and songs have been uploaded into MP3 players and IPods for years, the portability and immediacy of being able to download songs will really be huge. It can only be hoped by purists that albums like “Abbey Road” and “Sergeant Pepper” will be available as albums only. But sadly, that’s unlikely.