updated 01:30 pm EST, Tue November 16, 2010
iTunes Beatles deal an exclusive past January
Apple's deal for the Beatles on the iTunes Store is an exclusive "into 2011," EMI representative Dylan Jones said. While Apple hasn't characterized the catalog deal as a matter of sole rights, its deal isn't based on the calendar year and will prevent other stores from getting the catalog until sometime beyond January 1. Jones wouldn't be drawn by AllThingsD into saying when the exclusive would end.
"That's a question, isn't it," he teased.
Electronista has learned in the meantime from sources familiar with the deal that negotiations for the Beatles catalog had wrapped up about one to two months before today. Although Lennon's widow Yoko Ono was the most recent to downplay expectations for a deal, she wasn't the source of the final obstacles to the deal, the people involved said.
The confirmation of a short-term exclusive is a blow to Amazon MP3, which has usually been Apple's next-closest competitor in digital music sales. It likewise hurts 7digital, Zune Marketplace and others that have already frequently been hurt by having a smaller library of titles to choose from. Microsoft may have been hurt in particular as it just launched Windows Phone 7 with an emphasis on access to the Zune Marketplace.