The Beatles' back catalog will not be available on iTunes, despite many rumors to the contrary.
EMI who owns much of the Beatles' catalog have said discussions were taking place but that nothing was finalized. "Conversations between Apple and EMI are ongoing and we look forward to the day when we can make the music available digitally. But it's not tomorrow," Ernesto Schmitt, a senior executive at EMI in charge of the company's global back catalogs told the Financial Times on Tuesday.
The statement has done nothing to dampen speculation however. Sky News briefly published a story on its website in which it quoted widowed wife of Beatle John Lennon as saying iPod downloads of Beatles' songs would be forthcoming.
"The whole of the Beatles back catalogue will be made available to buy on iTunes," Yoko Ono said.
The report was taken down but not before the blogosphere and Twitter were alive with comments fueling the debate. Sir Paul McCartney has said he no longer objects to allowing downloads of the group's music. He recently told the Observer newspaper in Britain, "I want to do it, we all want to do it".
The release to iTunes was widely believed to coincide with remastered box sets of the entire Beatles' collection. But despite the set back for fans, the record company as well as the two remaining Beatles' are likely to make a small fortune.
Bloomberg reported that Amazon.com had sold out of the product priced at 259.98 U.S. dollars. Midway through Wednesday there was a cut price deal of only 179 dollars on the site indicating stocks had been replenished.
There are two versions of the set available, one in stereo the other in mono, though Amazon's U.S. outlet appeared only to be selling the stereo version.
In the UK the cost is a little higher. The stereo costs 169.98 pounds [280 dollars] while the mono set is set at 199.98 [330 dollars]. Michael Jackson's estate will also win when the Beatles go gold or platinum once again. The estate now controls about half of the publishing rights of much of the Beatles back catalog.