updated 07:50 am EDT, Fri August 6, 2010
Yoko Ono says Beatles holding out on digital
Yoko Ono late Thursday cooled expectations that the Beatles would reach iTunes, or any digital music store, in the near future. She didn't explain what the holdup might be but implied a sticking point that had Apple Corps at odds with either EMI or Apple Inc. John Lennon's famed widow was quick to call Apple Inc.'s Steve Jobs a "brilliant guy" but said there was an unnamed aspect the Beatles' label wasn't "very happy about, as people."
"Don't hold your breath... for anything," Ono said.
Sir Paul McCartney has implied that EMI was the obstacle, but it's unknown what the larger label's terms might be.
She was optimistic that the current Apple Corps label chief, Jeff Jones, was more likely to make progress in moving to digital. Its original head, the late Neil Aspinall, was "elite and closed-off" and thus very cautious about preserving the Beatles' legacy, even if it hurt access to the music in newer formats. Jones both helped oversee much of the remastering of the Beatles catalog and the rights clearance for Beatles: Rock Band. He also helped bring about the first non-disc release in the form of a USB flash drive with the Beatles' whole collection not only in 320Kbps MP3 but in FLAC.
Virtually every other project associated with the Beatles' individual members or their label has found its way online or will soon, including their solo material and Apple Records artists such as Billy Preston. [photo by Marcela Cataldi Cipolla]