Reuters: Apple and EMI announcement not about The Beatles

Apple Store“Apple Inc. and music label EMI Group Plc plan to announce ‘an exciting new digital offering,’ EMI said on Sunday, renewing speculation of a deal to put the Beatles music catalog online,” Eric Auchard reports for Reuters.

Auchard reports, “However, a source familiar with the situation said a Beatles deal would not be featured at the event on Monday. ‘There is no Beatles’ announcement,’ the source said.”

“EMI said that it plans to hold a news conference on Monday at its London headquarters, where EMI Chief Executive Eric Nicoli will be joined by Apple Chief Executive and co-founder Steve Jobs, the company said in an e-mail to reporters,” Auchard reports. “A live Webcast of the event, which will feature ‘a special live performance,’ will be available at http://www.emigroup.com beginning at 1 p.m. local time in London (8 a.m. EDT). (1200 GMT).”

“Beyond any potential deal with EMI involving the Beatles, Apple and EMI could be working on a means for eliminating restrictions that prevent unauthorized duplication of digital music,” Auchard reports.

“Earlier this year, Jobs called on the world’s four major record companies, including EMI, to start selling songs online without copy protection software to thwart piracy known as digital rights management,” Auchard reports. “Jobs said there appeared to be no benefit for the record companies in continuing to sell more than 90 percent of their music without DRM on compact discs, while selling the remaining small percentage of music online encumbered with a DRM system.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that “EMI Group PLC is set to announce Monday that it plans to sell significant amounts of its catalog without anticopying software [DRM]… through Apple’s iTunes Store and possibly through other online outlets.” The Wall Street Journal has a stellar record of correctly reporting day-before Apple-related announcements, correctly calling the addition of movies from Paramount Pictures to Apple’s iTunes Store and Apple’s teaming with Cingular [AT&T Wireless] on iPhone, for two recent examples.

Related articles:
EMI and Apple CEO Jobs to unveil ‘exciting new digital offering’ in live Webcast, April 2 at 8am EDT – April 01, 2007
WSJ: EMI to sell much of its music without DRM via Apple’s iTunes Store – April 01, 2007
Beatles + iTunes? EMI to hold media event on Monday with special guest, Apple CEO Steve Jobs – April 01, 2007
Is DRM doomed? – March 09, 2007
EMI rejects Warner Music buyout bid – March 04, 2007
EMI halts talks about selling DRM-free music – February 26, 2007
Warner Music approaches EMI in possible takeover bid – February 20, 2007
62% of music industry execs think eliminating DRM would increase music download sales – February 14, 2007
Warner’s DRM-loving Middlebronfman warns wireless industry it may lose music market to Apple iPhone – February 14, 2007
Monster Cable announces full support of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ call for DRM-free music – February 13, 2007
EMI may sell entire music catalog DRM-free – February 09, 2007
Recording Industry Association of America wants their DRM, calls for Apple to license FairPlay – February 08, 2007
Warner’s Middlebronfman: Jobs’ DRM-free music call ‘without logic and merit, we’ll not abandon DRM’ – February 08, 2007
Dvorak: Apple CEO Steve Jobs is dead right about DRM – February 07, 2007
Apple’s Jobs jolts music industry; Zune exec calls Jobs’ call for DRM-free music ‘irresponsible’ – February 07, 2007
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ posts rare open letter: ‘Thoughts on Music’ – calls for DRM-free music – February 06, 2007

19 Comments

  1. why DRM issues should excite you is they open the possibility of consumer control over your music, you can get it where you want to use it where you want to.

    Not be told you can use X song for Y player or play N number of times. YOU own and control your music. If you care about music this should matter to you. As long as there is DRM, someone ELSE is telling you how you can use and listen to your music and where.

  2. I’m going to be bold and jump on the “Apple to buy EMI” bandwagon as well. The only real problems Apple has had with any of its endeavors since 2003 have been, and continue to be the “wheeling and dealing” with record labels, movie studios, and cell phone carriers that it has been forced to partner with for digital content and services. Trust me on this one: Apple would like nothing more than to have its own content to play with and set the rules for. They want to contain all the aspects of their business within the company, and not have to deal with the (rather scummy) record label/movie studio execs. Apple (while they do play nicely with other companies through partnerships) does not like their success to be dependent in any way, shape, or form on any other company. Period.

    Apple already has a door into the movie/TV business with Jobs on the Disney board. They have a lot easier access to the Disney/ABC media library than to any other studio, which allows them greater flexibility to set content rules as they see fit. Apple has never had a foothold like this in the music industry; I assure you that they would like to have one. EMI is experiencing bad times right now. They’re the easiest target with a market cap of only ~US$3.7B, which is within an acceptable range for a buyout by Apple. So, Apple picks up EMI, turning itself into a major multinational label in the process. They can now dictate what the DRM restrictions will be on all EMI content, if there will be any restrictions at all. Consequently, sales of EMI content will spike, and other labels will be forced to cooperate on similar deals in the near future. As a result, consumers everywhere win. This was stated as one of Apple’s primary goals in Jobs’ letter a few weeks back. The stars seem to be aligning.

    HOWEVER, this is all entirely speculation. It is very possible that the DRM restrictions could be lifted without Apple purchasing EMI. This is more likely, because Apple probably would not like to spend a third of their cash on something like this unless it was absolutely necessary. But, I see it as being necessary from Apple’s point of view so I don’t see the purchase option as being that far-fetched.

    –mAc

  3. twilightmoon;

    The reason that DRM issues bore 99.999% of us, is because, contrary to your statements, every song I’ve ever bought from Apple’s iTunes store CAN BE PLAYED ON EVERY DEVICE I OWN.
    Mebbee you can’t read, or mebbee you can’t follow the very simplest of directions or mebbee I don’t know what yer problem is, but since all it takes is the lifting of one finger, to click one mouse button in order to save my Tunes in a universal format…
    Meh, I dunno. Seems to me that you guys spend more energy bitching about things… than it takes to actually *do* something, so mebbee all the anti DRM crowd really wants, is to have something to whine about.

  4. Maybe some Rutles? The Tragical History Tour, ‘Hello, Get Lost’…yes!!!

    Bob
    I’m with you 100%. DRM has never stopped me from doing anything with my music. If they lift it, yeah, great…whatever.

    And if Apple were to buy EMI, I would expect to hear some threats from other music houses if DRM is lifted.

  5. mAc-warrior>

    I’ve been banging the “Apple buying EMI” drum for a long, long while as I believe its a sensible way to leverage Apple’s cash pile whilst throwing a spanner into the music industry’s cosy little world of make-believe and adding value to the iTS thing at the same time.

    However, if EMI light a self-destruct fuse under DRM in their announcement today, much of the motivation for that purchase would disappear as it would represent the first sign in the collapse of the music industry’s obsession with DRM when, in all fairness, watermarking represents a smarter solution.

    That said, Apple really still should buy itself a permanent seat at the music industry’s table, although I doubt very much that this will be the nature of today’s announcement. You have to remember that there are strict rules for public companies in the UK regarding substantive announcements relating to their shares, namely that the announcement should be made to the market first and to the media thereafter and it would be very difficult for EMI to manage the news in the UK given that it would come in the middle of the LSE’s trading day.

    The day you really need to keep your head on straight is when they announce a press conference at 8am in the UK, because that’s a sure sign that something’s up!

  6. I’ll only start buying music from Apple when I get it in ‘Apple Lossless’ quality – at least.
    Until then, my iPod stays full of music originating from CD’s.

    I’m not alone on this. Apple could increase their sales by a good few per cent by doing this.

    There are a lot of REAL music lovers out there.

  7. No way Apple buys EMI. That end of the business is a money-loser, with the bottom nowhere in sight. EMI has been up for sale for years, with no buyers. Big companies (Time Warner, for instance, selling Warner Music) have been madly trying to rid themselves of the business.

    EMI would be a huge drag on the stock price–Apple is smart enough to know that.

  8. Even as a huge Beatles fan, the lawsuits, the taking FOREVER to cut a deal, taking FOREVER to just release the music after the agreement (with release date after possible release date going by after the announcement of peace between Apple & Apple) is really pissing me off.

    Just shove the damn music on a Beatles iPod and sell it. Jeez! What is the freakin’ hold up? Sick of it. Somehow I doubt it’s Steve-o’s fault.

    When Michael Jackson’s ownership of the Beatles Song Catalog is up Steve Jobs should buy the damn thing.

  9. Even as a huge Beatles fan, the lawsuits, the taking FOREVER to cut a deal, taking FOREVER to release the music after the agreement (with release date after possible release date going by after the announcement of peace between Apple & Apple) is really pissing me off.

    Just shove the damn music on a Beatles iPod and sell it. Jeez! What is the freakin’ hold up? Sick of it. Somehow I doubt it’s Steve-o’s fault.

    When Michael Jackson’s ownership of the Beatles Song Catalog is up Steve Jobs should buy the damn thing.

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