Yoko: No Beatles, iTunes Deal Anytime Soon

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Yoko Ono, wife of the late Beatles member John Lennon, claims that the band’s works won’t be coming to iTunes — or any other music download service — any time soon. She hinted that the holdup in striking a deal may be related to the iTunes Store terms Apple is pushing, according to Reuters.

“Steve Jobs has his own idea and he’s a brilliant guy,” she said. “There’s just an element that we’re not very happy about, as people. We are holding out.”

The music library for the iconic band is one of the last big holdouts in the legit music download market. Reasons for the lack of a deal with any service have often been placed on the shoulders of Apple Corps, the management company for the Beatle’s properties.

EMI has also been singled out as a problem in the negotiations, too. “There have been all sorts of reasons why they don’t want to do it,” Sir Paul McCartney said in an interview earlier this year. “To tell you the truth I don’t actually understand how it’s got so crazy.”

Regardless of who really is behind the delay, it seems the idea that the Fab Four’s music is coming to iTunes in the near future is off base.

“Don’t hold your breath… for anything,” Ms. Ono said.

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I stopped caring about this 2 years ago.  The Beatles missed the boat, and anyone who wants their music digitally has already ripped it from CD.


At this point if The Beatles did start allowing downloading, I don’t think it would sell very well anyway. Most of us that wanted their music on our computers have ripped it. The rest aren’t that interested. There’s a whole generation for whom downloading IS the way to get music. For them The Beatles is ancient history.

Oddly enough, you can get Enrico Caruso on iTunes, but not The Beatles. I found that amusing.


The target market for this music, folks who grew up with the Beatles, is becoming smaller and less interested every day. We are less inclined to buy digital copies online. It seems copyright law, under which the remaining group members and their heirs have diminished say in what happens, is partly responsible. And rights holders may be a bit deluded, by resentment and greed, about what’s at stake. Letting Apple or Amazon, etc, take a small piece of a large market would have been better than 100% of nothing—or a greatly reduced market. It does appear, like distarr7 observes, that this boat has sailed.

Jeff Gamet

My Beatles collection is pretty much complete, and it’s all living in iTunes. I’d need something pretty compelling to convince me to repurchase even some of my Beatles tracks again through iTunes or any other music download service. Still, there are new Beatles fans cropping up all the time, so it would be nice to finally have a legit download option.


No one liked Yoko when she broke up the Beatles, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change now! grin


Agree that this has gone on so long that the train has left the station.

It might help younger listeners to have Beatles available on iTunes/Amazon, but the rest of us long ago ripped our CDs onto our iPods. My teenagers love the Beatles, but by now having them at iTunes wouldn’t make a difference.


@ Yucko Ono:  America expects you to keep your promise.  We’ve had enough of the Beatles.  It’s 2010 not 1968.  Lock it all up and NEVER let us hear about them (or you) again. Deal?!?


Yoko is not alone. The offspring of George Harrison are right in the mix and it’s all about payout for their daddy’s work. Greed. Pure and simple. How soon till the music from a long defunct band becomes public domain anyway?

What few fans are left are dying off each year. Pretty soon, Beatles Classic Rock is going to be Beatles Muzak followed by Beatles who?

Ross Edwards

@ibuck has it exactly right.  The issue is money, plain and simple—the artists who are holdouts want a bigger share of the pie from Apple, Amazon, etc, but have misevaluated the value differential.  Another holdout making the same mistake as the Beatles is Tool.  Tool believes they are better off selling their music through traditional channels.  They are not.  They might have been right back when they made that decision in iTunes’ infancy back in 2002 or whenever it was, but the landscape is very different now.

The other big holdout from iTunes is Def Leppard, but that’s because Walmart owns the digital distribution rights to a lot of their catalog—so they ARE getting paid, and the iTunes business model isn’t a factor.


My conspiracy theory is that EMI is waiting until they all kick the bucket so they don’t have to pay them for the music wink


You can get MaCartney’s music on iTunes
You can get Starr’s music on iTunes
You can get Harrison’s music on iTunes
You can get Lennon’s music on iTunes
You can get Ono’s music on iTunes

What’s the holdup?




Ono has music?

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