The Beatles have settled a long standing royalty dispute with EMI. Does this pave the way for their catalogue appearing for digital retail? It’s probably an important piece of the jigsaw, as may have been Apple Corp’s Neil Aspinal’s departure. The bottom line is that these negotiations are being done behind closed doors and the best any of us out here can do is second guess.
It’s pretty safe to assume though that the question of Beatles catalogue appearing online is a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’ and that when they do there will be surge of pent up demand, partially fed by the rather excessive hype. Yes, they’ll probably get a few number ones, yes they’ll help EMI’s revenues, yes they’ll be representative of an important ‘coming of age’ for digital….but let’s keep some sense of perspective. Perennial success story that the Beatles may be, they are just one aspect of multi million track catalogues, with more demand in older demographics than younger. Young music buyers are the ones the music industry really needs to turn onto digital buying. It’s questionable just how important the catalogue of music from their parents’ and grandparents’ time will be in that process.