McCartney: Beatles Download Talks "Stalled"

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One of the biggest, glaring omissions from the world of (legal) digital music downloads is the music of The Beatles. While the Fab Four will be making their digital debut in a forthcoming version of the video game Rock Band, their tracks are absent from all online music stores, although the solo libraries of each individual Beatle and their associates projects are generally available.

Now, word comes from Sir Paul McCartney that, despite “it will happen because I think it should.” talks between the Beatles and record company EMI are at an impasse. Quoted on the BBC Web site, McCartney describes the stalemate: “EMI want something we’re not prepared to give ’em. It’s between EMI and The Beatles I think—what else is new?”

Relations between Apple Corps—the company the Beatles forms to manage their business interests—and record label EMI have been testy for almost four decades. Apple Corps has, in general, been very protective of The Beatles’ heritage and recordings. Last year, hopes that the Beatles would get online surged briefly when, in a suit over iPod-maker Apple’s music business, the company disclosed it was remastering Beatles material for digital distribution.

Although there aren’t many major holdouts from Apple’s iTunes juggernaut, The Beatles don’t quite stand alone: Kid Rock, Garth Brooks, and AC/DC have refused to enable their material to be distributed via iTunes.