Apple Unveils Higher Quality Downloads; New Deal With EMI
April 2, 2007 at 6:24 AM (PT)
EMI GROUP unveiled "an exciting new digital offering" with APPLE INC. this morning, but the deal did not include THE BEATLES' music catalog being made available through APPLE's ITUNES online music store, as many had speculated. EMI has been THE BEATLES' record label since the early 1960s.
In an online Webcast, it was announced that APPLE will offer EMI's catalogue beginning in MAY with their new higher quality file at $1.29 vs. the standard 99 cent price, and will allow ITUNES users to upgrade their purchased files in the old standard for 30 cents. The higher quality files will be DRM-free.
APPLE CEO STEVE JOBS said, "We are going to give ITUNES customers a choice -- the current versions of our songs for the same 99 cent price, or new DRM-free versions of the same songs with even higher audio quality and the security of interoperability for just 30 cents more. We think our customers are going to love this, and we expect to offer more than half of the songs on ITUNES in DRM-free versions by the end of this year."
EMI CEO ERIC NICOLI added, EMI and ITUNES are once again teaming up to move the digital music industry forward by giving music fans higher quality audio that is virtually indistinguishable from the original recordings, with no usage restrictions on the music they love from their favorite artists."
THE BEATLES remain the most prominent holdout from ITUNES and other online music services. APPLE's overtures to put the music online were stymied by a long-running trademark dispute with THE BEATLES' commercial guardian, APPLE CORPS LTD. In FEBRUARY, APPLE INC. and APPLE CORPS resolved their legal feud over use of the APPLE logo and name, paving the way for an agreement for online access to the FAB FOUR's songs. APPLE CORPS was founded by THE BEATLES in 1968 and is still owned by PAUL MCCARTNEY, RINGO STARR, YOKO ONO, the widow of JOHN LENNON and the estate of GEORGE HARRISON.